Mintdesigns finds a new, bigger home

Until the Parco building in Shibuya closed this month for its three-year renovation plan, Mintdesigns — a mainstay of the Tokyo Fashion Week — had made the mall its home for nine years. Now the brand has taken the closure as an opportunity to upgrade with its own freestanding flagship store in the swanky Omotesando shopping district.

At a whopping three times the size of its previous space, the flagship can now carry Mintdesigns’ entire main collection, as well as an ample selection of kids clothes and a small but popular series of home goods, including towels, aprons and dishes. Mintdesigns is famous for quirky textiles and kitschy motifs, such as those seen in the newest fall-winter collection of colorful pixel patterns laid out on fur coats and clutches. The brand’s new Aoyama boutique also carries a limited-edition run of denim, bleached with a pattern of their mascot of a paper doll holding sewing shears.

Mintdesigns: 5-49-5 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-6427-9906; mint-designs.com

Donnah Mabel ups the ante for local brands


It has been a little while since we’ve seen a local brand burst onto the scene with a collection so beautiful, complete and well made that it looks like it could be a top-tier foreign luxury label. Finally, the new Japanese label Donnah Mabel is breaking that dry spell with a flood of chic clothing that is already setting the industry abuzz. In a gentle palette limited to just a few colors, such as cream and pink, the lineup is full of buttery soft leathers amplified by grids of studs or yards of satin pleats that tactfully walk the line between “fashion-forward” and “wearable.”

The debut fall-winter collection was mysteriously shown to just a few media outlets without so much as a website to reveal its nature, but now we know that it’s headed up by Miyuki Kitahara, who honed her skills with famed British conceptual designer Hussein Chalayan.

The first pieces available for sale can be found at Isetan Shinjuku department store until Aug. 16, followed by limited runs at Umeda Hankyu in Osaka (Oct. 5-11) and Seibu Shibuya (Oct. 18-24).


Custom couture for adventurous men

Yoshio Kubo customized shirt
Yoshio Kubo customized shirt

Last year, the Seibu Shibuya department store completely remodeled its inner menswear sanctum, bringing in artists and designers to create innovative sales spaces that, in parts, resemble classic action-adventure movie sets. It’s all quite impressive and the store isn’t done reminding people that the space is open for perusal.

To celebrate the one-year anniversary, it has invited 15 of Tokyo’s top menswear designers and brands to create one-off items of clothing and bags for fans to purchase. Participating labels include Mihayarasuhiro, Yoshio Kubo, Ato, White Mountaineering and Yuima Nakazato, the last of which was officially invited as a special guest to show during Paris Haute Couture Week last July — the first Japanese designer in 12 years on the official calendar. Most of the pieces at Seibu have been hand-customized into “couture” specifically for this event, and will be on display to buy or pre-order from Aug. 21 to 31.

4F Seibu Shibuya department store building B, 21-1 Udagawacho, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo; 03-3462-0111; www.sogo-seibu.jp

In a time of both misinformation and too much information, quality journalism is more crucial than ever.
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.