Style & Design | ON: FASHION

Veteran designers are still as innovative as newcomers

by Misha Janette and Samuel Thomas

Prada’s little sister is all grown up

Ever since Prada’s “glass honeycomb” building opened in Omotesando 12 years ago, the Herzog-and-de Meuron-designed building has become a monument to architecture and shopping in Tokyo. In late March, the same designers returned just across the street to realize a brand new boutique for Prada’s kid-sister brand Miu Miu.

Zoning laws prevented another tower, so the store has had to make do with two floors, which are almost completely covered with an oversized canopy. It’s a bit like a cross between a metal box and a huge copper orange that has been sliced open to reveal a bumpy peel that runs under the roof and throughout the shop interior.

Inside, days of yore meet retro futurism with intense chartreuse-green wallpaper and transparent Perspex rail finishing. The brand takes its cues from the kind of girl who listens to punk rock but can’t live without her hair bows, so the juxtaposition is fitting.

And much like a maturing younger sister, Miu Miu is ready to stand out on her own.

Miu Miu 3-17-8, Minami Aoyama Minato-ku; 03 6434 8591; aoyama.miumiu.com/en

Issey Miyake’s experimental playground

Issey Miyake may have been around the block several times, but it’s still up for letting loose. This month the brand launched a new shopping playground, simply called Issey Miyake Marunouchi. The name is where the simplicity ends, though, because the building’s fashion-forward architectural design by Tokujin Yoshioka and the high-tech goods the store showcases are anything but straightforward.

The shop brings together the more experimental Miyake-run labels, including the new menswear line Homme Plisse, which re-imagines the brand’s revolutionary pleats technology, and In-Ei, the origami-meets-interiors line of products. Of course, you can also find his 2-D-to-3-D origami clothing line 132 5. as well as a selection of the much coveted Bao Bao bags, some of which will be sold here exclusively.

The first-floor shop is airy and spacious with walls slashed by red triangular panels, creating a high-energy atmosphere. Miyake often taps Yoshioka for his stores, and in this case the space is also housing a series of futuristic Yoshioka-designed watches, which are perfectly at home in this new environment.

Issey Miyake Marunouchi: 2-3-2 Marunouchi, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo; 03-5221-9900; www.isseymiyake.com/im_marunouchi

Underground tradition in Isetan

Fashion director and stylist Souta Yamaguchi has happily buzzed along in Tokyo’s underground scene as director of two indie-label shops, but now he’s caught the attention of celebrated designer Kansai Yamamoto for a dream collaboration being rolled out in Isetan Department Store.

Yamaguchi created a safe haven for “fringe” designers when he opened the Mikiri Hassin store in Harajuku, and his Pyarco in the Shibuya fashion mall Parco holds arguably the most eclectic collection of the honeycomb of boutiques.

This collaboration melds Yamaguchi’s love for unique design with Yamamoto’s penchant for taking traditional techniques and making them new. They’ve made mostly men’s and unisex goods out of mino washi paper fabric, geometric sashiko embroidery and natural banshu-ori weaves from Kobe.

You won’t believe the pop-inspired imagery they have acheived with these techniques, but you also won’t have much time — this special sale ends April 14.

Kansai: Isetan Deptartment Store Shinjuku 1st Floor Stage, 3-14-1 Shinjuku, Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo; 03-3352-1111; bit.ly/isetankansai