TOKYO — A global recession might be on the horizon but that’s not stopping the building boom here.
Tiffany & Co. has just unveiled its newly revamped Ginza flagship, while accessories company Samantha Thavasa is debuting a new, sleek multibrand retail concept called Eight Million. Both stores opened Saturday, joining an ever-growing list of brands that are expanding retail operations here.
Hennes & Mauritz is prepping its second Japanese store, a megatower in Harajuku, for this week’s opening. Last Friday, Stella McCartney opened its first freestanding boutique in Japan, in the Aoyama district near Miu Miu and Prada. Raf Simons, Neil Barrett, Jimmy Choo and Diane von Furstenberg are just a few of the other brands that recently established new outposts in Tokyo.
Tiffany & Co. president James Quinn acknowledged the challenges his company and other luxury players are facing in a mature, stagnant market like Japan, but stressed the importance of overhauling the American jeweler’s 11,988-square-foot flagship, even in the current climate.
“There’s a remarkable amount of competition and I don’t think there’s any stronger retailing center in the world than Ginza, so you really have to be on top of your game,” Quinn said.
Architect Kengo Kuma, who designed LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton’s One Omotesando building and helped develop Tokyo Midtown, created a striking facade for Tiffany with angular glass panels reminiscent of a diamond’s facets. Inside, the newly revamped store has a sophisticated yet earthy feel, featuring gray stone floors flecked with a pattern resembling feathers, and silk-coated aluminum wallpaper. A dramatic 25-foot high illuminated wall of crystal stone adorns the store’s entrance area.
“[It’s] a dramatic new facelift for us, but I still think the essence of the brand has been well interpreted and communicated and designed,” Quinn said.
The new store, just off the famed intersection of the Chanel, Bulgari, Cartier and Louis Vuitton flagships, carries Tiffany’s full product range of jewelry and gift items, from silver charm bracelets to a one-of-a-kind heart-shaped diamond ring weighing in at 11 carats and bearing a 287 million yen ($2.9 million) price tag.
Just a few blocks away, Kazumasa Terada, president of Samantha Thavasa, is making his own retail statement in Ginza with Eight Million, a multibrand boutique stocking apparel and accessories from brands like Alexander McQueen, Alessandro Dell’Acqua, Albino, Manolo Blahnik and René Caovilla. The store also carries private label items like draped jersey dresses and T-shirts designed by Toshikazu Iwaya, the former creative director of Tokyo label Dresscamp, and a special line of Samantha Thavasa handbags designed by Katie Hillier.
Kashiwa Sato, the creative mind behind Uniqlo’s innovative stores in Harajuku and Manhattan, developed Eight Million’s look. The 3,692-square-foot store on two-levels features a generous use of oak accented with stainless steel and glass. A high-end hair and beauty salon occupies the third floor of the building.
Terada said he wanted to create a store that was distinctly Tokyo without riffing on visitors’ entrenched notions of Japan’s exaggerated street fashion. “When my friends like Paris [Hilton] and Beyoncé [Knowles] come to Tokyo, they always want to go to places like Shibuya 109 or places like that,” Terada said, admitting his own company is guilty of feeding into the frenzy with its line of cute, girly handbags.
Speaking of Knowles, the singer, in town to promote her new album, put in a brief appearance at the store Friday with her sister Solange. The pair are two of the many celebrities who have designed a line of handbags for Samantha Thavasa, although those products can’t be found in Eight Million. Terada is keeping the handbag brand’s distribution and his new luxury multibrand concept separate.
“When you think of Samantha Thavasa, you have this image of something sparkly and cute,” Terada said. “This new store will completely reverse that image.”
Harrods plans to remove the famous statue of Princess Diana and Dodi Al Fayed from the bottom of the Egyptian escalators and hand it back to Mohamed Al-Fayed. “We are very proud to have played our role in celebrating the lives of Diana, Princess of Wales and Dodi Al Fayed at Harrods and to have welcomed people from around the world to visit the memorial for the past 20 years,” said Michael Ward, Harrods managing director. “With the announcement of the new official memorial statue to Diana, Princess of Wales at Kensington Palace, we feel that the time is right to return this memorial to Mr. Al Fayed and for the public to be invited to pay their respects at the palace.” More on the news, with reporting by @loreleimarfil, at WWD.com. #wwdnews
@prada is introducing a new project at its men’s fall 2018 show this Sunday: “Prada Invites.” The fashion house invited four celebrated creative minds – @ronanaerwanbouroullec, Konstantin Grcic, @herzogdemeuron and @rem.koolhaas – to each create a unique item with its iconic nylon material. The designs will be unveiled on the runway show, which will take place at the company’s warehouse in Viale Ortles 25. #wwdfashion #mfwm (📷: @martinocarrera)
@kering_official is spinning off its stake in puma in an effort to focus on its luxury brands, the brand operator announced yesterday. “We are proud to have supported the turnaround of Puma, which now has unrivaled capabilities to take full advantage of the specific dynamics of its global markets and is poised to achieve substantial growth,” said François-Henri Pinault, Kering’s chief executive officer and chairman. Artémis will become a “long-term strategic shareholder” of Puma with a 29 percent stake. #wwdnews #wwdfashion (📷: @jilliansollazzo)
The fashion world mourns for celebrated street style photographer, Nabile Quenum, who died at age 32 in Paris.
Quenum, creator of the fashion blog “J’ai Perdu Ma Veste,” was a fashion week fixture, and regularly shot for New York magazine’s The Cut, among other outlets, and brands such as Louis Vuitton, Moncler and Adidas. He was also actively involved in the #NoFreePhotos initiative, which kicked off in the fall. Read more about Quenum in @kbsmoke's story on WWD.com. #wwdnews
@verwanggang and @maisonladuree have teamed up on a dessert collab called Vera Wang Pour Ladurée. The collection, which launched this week, features a specialty macaroon, as well as a wedding cake inspired by one of the designer’s gowns. “I could not imagine a more delicate or sophisticated creation to grace any couple’s celebration,” said Wang. #wwdfashion