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Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2008
Hilfiger denim, baseball glove bags and more
By MISHA JANETTE and PAUL McINNES
Tommy's Red, White and Blue
The Tommy Hilfiger brand isn't exactly a stranger to Japan. It has stores up and down the country that run the whole gamut of Hilfiger collections. Famed for preppy nautical clothing, the brand encapsulates, alongside Ralph Lauren, the classic patrician look.
Now Japan's first ever Hilfiger Denim store has opened in Tokyo's upscale Minami-Aoyama. Its three denim lines are geared toward hipsters in their 20s and 30s.
The Red line is classic and simple with a natural-wash style and standard fit, perfect for the more conservative consumer. Prices range from a comfortable ¥16,800 to ¥22,050.
With a more adventurous, edgier look, the White line is a touch pricier, coming in between ¥18,900 to ¥27,300. These denims come with leather and print details that give them a more personalized feel.
The creme de la creme of the bunch is the Blue line, which boasts extremely high-quality material with original detailing and stitching from Italy. The quality also corresponds with the price tag of ¥31,500 to ¥34,650.
With all the great jeans labels in Japan, it will be exciting to see how Hilfiger fares with Tokyo's denim faithful.
1F T-Place, 5-5-25 Minami-Aoyama, Minato-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5766-7012; www.tommy.com/japan
Estnation in the nation
With big-name global brands such as Bulgari, Swarovski and Armani inserting their inimitable signatures on the face of Ginza — one of the consumption capitals of the world — the cityscape is being constantly nipped and tucked.
The latest update to the district's ongoing facelift is Estnation. It's a sophisticated niche store, with branches in nearby Yurakucho and in Roppongi Hills, that stocks a superb range of top labels in its comfortable, luxurious spaces. World-renowned fashion illustrator Mats Gustavson, who has worked for the likes of Vogue U.K., has provided the artwork on the walls, and the three floors for women and one for men carry a range of brands such as Alexander McQueen, Jil Sander, Lanvin, Rodarte and Thom Browne that are perfectly suited to its fashion-conscious target consumers.
Be sure to make the striking new building a must-visit the next time you're treating yourself to a bit of Ginza-style luxury.
Ginzanamikidori Bldg., 2-3-6 Ginza, Chuo-ku, Tokyo; (03) 5159-7800; www.estnation.co.jp
Organic and ephemeral
Organic, schmorganic — that's the vibe about ecofriendly clothing recently, as it seems that everyone is jumping on the "green" bandwagon. Still, there are designers who understand the importance of natural materials and insist that organic clothing is as fashionable as the next new thing. Tokyo-based designer Takayuki Suzuki, for one, has been using natural textiles since 2002, which he's shown in the Tokyo Collections since spring 2007.
He's now created a casual line by the name of 108 based on 108 whimsical ideas that he felt he could not express in his main line. For one of them, called Toha, the designer teamed with Kawamura Textiles to create a new 100-percent organic cotton to match Suzuki's soft, feminine designs. Department store Isetan has asked Suzuki to run a limited-time organic-cotton shop in its Shinjuku store. Other participating brands include Tokyo-based fashion comrades of the designer: Ikuna, ReRe, Potto, accessories brand e.m. and fashion-forward favorite Mintdesigns.
Open Sept. 23-30 at Isetan, 3-14-1 Shinjuku 2F, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; (03) 3225-2514
I heard it at the Redio
While a slew of new shops are slated to open early this fall in the swanky Aoyama district, select-clothing boutique Redio one-upped them all by bringing their opening date forward to Aug. 23. Redio is an eclectic space, a shop devised between two top-tier stylists, Shino Suganuma and Masah. Masah is head director of menswear, choosing a large collection of American brands such as Opening Ceremony and The Generic Man, and Japanese brands Diet Butcher Slim Skin and 3Three 2Two 5Five. Suganuma takes charge of the ladies with American, British and Japanese brands including Valentine, Rodnk and Hot Coco. The clothes are decidedly street — casual but bright, funky and wearable.
A stylist's job is to dress pieces up through accents, so for their shop, they've exercised their discerning eye for composition and color via bright lighting, open space and art installations. Currently on display are works by the artist Tenki, in which neon-blue and yellow Nike sneakers are dissected and propped up, forming small statues of armor.
Inspired by New York City — where, though things may change, the energy and enthusiasm of tightknit neighborhoods stays the same — Redio is tuned and pumping fresh beats for your wardrobe.
5-47-12 Jingumae B1F, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; (03) 6419-0012
Bag in glove
"There are many good bags, but very few with wit." So says Hikaru Matsumura, presenting his Unique Bag line. The designer has played matchmaker with baseball-glove craftsmen in Osaka and handbag artisans at Issey Miyake, where he works. The love child of this odd couple is a piece in which the lacing, glove pocket, webbing and ribbets of a baseball mitt are reworked to create a bag that may be leftfield in theory, but a homerun in reality.
Matsumura, who has been on the accessories and Pleats Please design teams with Issey Miyake since 1993, journeyed throughout Japan searching for unconventional artisans to help him construct quality Japanese-made handbags. The handmade bags are put together from 184 parts that go through 775 processes — about twice that of the average bag.
The baseball-glove bag is the first in the series and it comes in a handful of neutral colors, with a few bright splashes such as yellow and orange on some models. The Autumn collection uses mutton fur on the pockets, and introduces business bags for men. A Kendo-inspired bag is in the works.
4-11-28 Minamisenba 1F, Chuo-ku, Osaka; (06) 6251-8887; www.elttobtep.com