TOKYO — Michael Kors, actress Dakota Johnson, and models Poppy Delevingne and Harley Viera-Newton celebrated the designer’s new Ginza store on Friday night. While not the biggest Michael Kors store, it is the “most diverse,” as it is the first to carry the brand’s full range of products.
“It’s my world. It has everything but a bedroom for me,” Kors said. “And maybe there’s a futon in the corner. Who knows?”
The designer is pleased to be able to showcase his complete collection, particularly considering the way he sees his customers shopping.
“I think in today’s world, especially in a market like Tokyo, and particularly in a place like Ginza, you have a very sophisticated customer, who quite frankly mixes all of this together,” he said. “So when we’re able to present it all under one roof, we’re giving the customer the opportunity to quite frankly see everything I do, save some time, not have to hunt all over the place to find it, and increasingly we see that people mix high, low and in between.”
In addition to the Michael Kors runway collection and ready-to-wear, accessories and footwear by Michael Michael Kors, the Ginza store is the first in Asia to carry the brand’s men’s line.
Kors had high praise for Japanese men and their way of dressing.
“To me, I think Japanese men are remarkably stylish. I think that it’s a great market for us because I think most men here love the idea of something that on one hand feels familiar but it’s always looked at in an unexpected way. So the Italians call it ‘classico con twist,’ I always like to say it’s a hybrid,” he said. “I like something that’s versatile enough to be able to go to the office and work on the weekend. Guys here understand that, very much so. You know, that the jacket you wear with a tie to the office could also be worn with a T-shirt and a pair of jeans on the weekend. So it’s a very exciting men’s market and a very sophisticated men’s market.”
While Kors has visited Tokyo many times, this was his first trip to the Japanese capital in two years. Still, he said there are a few things he tries to do on each visit, one of which is visiting a department store food hall.
“I am food hall obsessed here. I don’t know what half of it is unless I’m with a Japanese friend, but I think when you walk into a food hall in Tokyo, you see the attention to detail, and the idea of quality. Yesterday we ran over to the food hall at Isetan and I took photographs — I always do — of the fruits and vegetables. That a strawberry is presented like a diamond, a melon is like a tiara. And I love that attention to detail, so that to me is, you can’t find it anywhere else in the world,” he said.
Another of Kors’ favorite pastimes in Tokyo is people watching, which is one way he says he is influenced as a designer.
“For me, the street is always exciting and formative. You just watch. You know, here in Tokyo at rush hour you could stand in front of Shinjuku station and you’re just amazed at watching just this urban fashion show. So whenever I get the opportunity to do it, it’s fantastic,” he said. “You see a lot of people wearing athletic clothes on the street here now. That’s something I think has really taken Japan in a big way. But not in the kind of sad American tracksuit, but really stylish with an athletic flavor.”
Before coming to Tokyo, Kors was in Beijing for the opening of his new store in the Huamao Shopping Center, his largest in Asia at 9,000 square feet. He did more street-style spotting there.
“It was freezing in Beijing, and they are coat obsessed,” he said. “You can wear the most casual clothes because most people are spending a lot of time commuting, but it’s all about the fabulous coat.”
Before this trip, Kors had never visited Beijing before, but he had been to Shanghai and he was struck by the differences between the two cities, which he called “very, very different.”
“I think Shanghai is a little more European. Because I think there’s also the history of even the architecture in Shanghai, which kind of when you’re on the Bund it almost feels like you could be in Europe,” he said. “Whereas I think Beijing is full of things that are unbelievably historic and very Asian and very specifically Chinese when you think about the Forbidden City, the Summer Palace. And that all of this culture and heritage is in the midst of this exploding modern city.”
Still, Kors stressed that with his well-traveled, cosmopolitan customers, geography, seasons and weather factors are becoming less and less important, both with how people shop and with how he designs.
“We sell sandals in Moscow, we sell boots in Miami. If a handbag is a hit in New York, chances are it’s a hit in Dubai. We really don’t see a huge variance anymore, even with weather. We sell coats in California. Everyone travels,” he said. “In the really extreme weather cities, people do everything they can to avoid being outside. So in Toronto it’s bitter, bitter cold, but the reality is people spend most of their time inside and it’s overheated, so they’re in a sleeveless dress. Or even Singapore where it’s so humid and it’s so sticky and you think to yourself, oh my gosh it’s so hot, but then the air conditioning inside is like the tundra, so every woman who lives there needs a cardigan. Every person you see, even in Hong Kong, in the humidity in the dead of summer, people wear a cardigan or a jacket, and then they take it off when they go outside. So I think the seasons have disappeared. Honestly, I don’t think people pay attention anymore. I think you fall in love with something and it’s either right for you or it’s not. It’s what do you want, not what do you need.”
At the three-floor, 7,800-square-foot Michael Kors Ginza store, Viera-Newton spun upbeat tunes as guests sipped Veuve Clicquot Champagne. Delevingne was never far from the DJ booth, with the two pausing their conversation often to pose for photographers. Delevingne said she was upset that she would be in Tokyo for barely 24 hours, before heading back to London on Saturday morning for work.
“The thing that I really love about my job is being able to go on little adventures like this,” she said. “Today I went and had a little exploration. I had cheese ramen, which was one of the weirdest, best things I’ve ever had. And then I went on to an owl café and had tea with some owls, which was a real hoot.”
Johnson, who had never been to Japan before, arrived at the party late and feeling “totally delirious.” She had just flown in and barely had time to change her clothes before heading to the store.
“I just want to see stuff,” she said. “I don’t even know the names of anything or where I’m going. I just want to eat good food.”