Tokyo’s fashion scene is refined, cutting-edge and delightfully bonkers in equal measures. Two things I have learned over my many visits to Tokyo (it’s addictive) are…
First: Tokyo’s fashion industry is surprisingly insular, resulting in a wonderland of exquisitely made sartorial delights waiting for you to discover. Get ready to answer the question “where did you get that intelligently deconstructed, fashion-forward, origami-like shirt harness?” on your triumphant return home.
Second: If you are 5”10, not a lot will fit you.
Now, ladies, if you are petite and cute like most Japanese women, then Tokyo is your shopping oyster. If, like me, you are of freakish proportions by comparison, shopping becomes all about the overall fashion experience (that, and accessories). So with this in mind, here are my top 3 Tokyo shops that will surprise and delight visitors of any size.
Located in the heart of designer shopping heaven – aka Omotesando – H Beauty&Youth houses meticulously curated men’s and womenswear collections over three floors. Its stable of designers includes international names like Lemaire and Marques Almeida et al, and local brands Koche and the house label H Beauty&Youth. Downstairs there’s an inspiring collection of vintage finds that will have you torn – do you go for the pre-loved kimono or the camo military jacket? Decisions, decisions…
Throughout the light and airy store are contemporary artworks by a variety of local artists, like the subversive but wonderfully playful MADSAKI. In the basement you’ll find Pizza Slice, a hip little eatery serving New York-style pizza. I recommend grabbing a slice and consoling yourself if the clothes don’t quite fit. You might be surprised though – the menswear is remarkably versatile.
3-14-17 Minami-aoyama Minatoku. + 81 3 6438 5230. store. united-arrows.co.jp
Dover Street Market Ginza
In upmarket Ginza sits the creative powerhouse, Dover Street Market. Each floor hosts unexpected artworks like the giant Perspex flower and life-size plaster elephant straight out of a Rei Kawakubo dream.
The fashion – ranging from the established Sacai label to up-and-coming Hyke – are works of art in themselves. Interpreting the social commentary of Kawakubo’s latest collection of spiky vests and ripped blazers is all part of the madcap experience.
From the top floor of DSM, climb the stairs to a zen-like secret rooftop garden. In this little green oasis amid towering skyscrapers you might offer a little prayer at the shrine and up your luck at the wishing well before you dive back down into the beautiful chaos.
Ginza Komatsu West, 6-9-5, Ginza. +81 3 6228 5080. ginza.doverstreetmarket.com
My third shopping highlight is the sophisticated yet wonderfully quirky neighbourhood of Daikanyama. Its narrow streets are lined with charming boutiques whose sublime shop displays personify the Japanese refined, minimal aesthetic and meticulous attention to detail.
Daikanyama highlights include Maison Kitsuné, as much for the breathtaking store design as for its edgy-preppy styles. UES Denim is also a must visit. The Japanese do amazing things with denim and the raw blues at UES will put your designer jeans to shame.
After an afternoon of mooching around the beautifully manicured streets and charming mini-malls, high-tail it to the Daikanyama T-Site where cocktails await upstairs at the laidback and cool Anjin Library & Lounge. Oishī!
MADSAKI at the fabulous H Beauty&Youth in Omotesando