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TOKYO — Two American brands are making distinct yet significant statements here as Reed Krakoff opens the first freestanding store of his new namesake brand and Michael Kors unveils a new flagship.

This story first appeared in the August 30, 2010 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

The Reed Krakoff boutique opened on Saturday, just a little more than a week before the debut of the brand’s New York flagship. The store is located in the trendy Aoyama neighborhood just behind the Prada Epicenter store and across the street from the new Marc Jacobs flagship under construction.

Krakoff, who is also the president and creative director of Coach, said it was always the plan to open his line’s first boutiques in New York and Tokyo. Despite Japan’s macroeconomic woes, its consumers are still hungry for fashion and buy as much as four times more than their American counterparts, he said.

“Japan has always been a very important market to [Coach]. The fashion consumer here is a woman who loves fashion and is someone who really appreciates some newness,” the designer told WWD at the brand’s new offices and showroom above the store. “The companies that are $2 billion to $3 billion businesses are having issues, but I think there’s still plenty of room for a new business to grow and establish itself.”

Krakoff said the store’s design plays off the contrasts between an “aggressive modernity” and “sophisticated craftsmanship.” The intimate one-floor space features pearl gray lacquered walls and gunmetal accents. Slightly worn Louis XVI wood flooring, imported from France, softens the overall effect.

Krakoff is commissioning a group of industrial designers and artists to custom-build pieces for each of his upcoming stores. For the Tokyo boutique, Mattia Bonetti crafted a circular table of polyester resin that changes color when viewed from different angles.

The Tokyo store, which complements Krakoff’s Japanese distribution points in Isetan and Osaka’s Hankyu, carries the line’s complete range of apparel and accessories. The fall collection, heavy on utilitarian outerwear and bags constructed from strips of leather, is on full display.

“It’s very uniquely American what we’re doing,” he said ahead of a Friday evening opening party.

Meanwhile, just a short distance away, Michael Kors on Friday opened a freestanding unit on Omotesando Avenue. The 1,302-square-foot store, in line with the brand’s current design concept, features white interiors, silver and brown accents. A zebra-print sofa figures prominently.

The boutique carries Michael Kors collection handbags and other small accessories as well as the Michael Michael Kors diffusion range of apparel and accessories.

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