TOKYO — Just over a year after opening his first boutique in Japan, Pierre Hardy was back in the chic Aoyama area to fete a photo exhibition showcasing works by students from the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne, an art and design university in Switzerland. A similar exhibit was shown in Paris last year, but the Tokyo edition featured new works created for the event.
“It started very genuinely as a workshop with ECAL, and it was not intended to be something else. It was not a project,” Hardy said. “But when I saw the results, it [seemed like] really a pity because the results were so strong and so different from what we are used to seeing in the fashion business. So we offered them to come to Paris and we did a show.”
But Hardy also thought a 10-day exhibit in Paris was a “pity,” which was when he got the idea to bring the show to Tokyo as well. It was the perfect solution, considering that there’s a gallery space directly under the Aoyama boutique.
Hardy said there is a possibility the exhibit may continue to travel to another city, but he said nothing has been decided yet.
The designer said he has been pleased with how the Tokyo store has been able to further communicate his brand’s story to Japanese customers in the year since it opened.
“We were here before, but I think having the freestanding store is very different,” he said. “The approach of the collection is more complete, and I think the shop will help [customers] to understand the global image [of the brand]. It’s not a campaign, it’s not advertising. It’s more than this, I think. It’s more to give a feeling about the collection, about the style.”
Hardy also spoke about how he gets inspired by the people he meets and sees on his travels.
“People used to say that I’m architectural, abstract or whatever. But what actually interests me more is the attitude of people, how they wear fashion and how they play with fashion,” the designer said. “And here in Tokyo they go far with that sometimes, and that’s very interesting.”