Last month, two large fashion stores — Barneys New York Roppongi and United Arrows Roppongi Hills — opened their doors in one of Tokyo’s smartest shopping areas.
Once mainly a nighttime dining and entertainment district, the town began to change after Roppongi Hills opened in April 2003, and was further transformed after Tokyo Midtown arrived in March 2007.
Shopping malls on the lower floors of those buildings have come to symbolise Roppongi’s status as a fashion hub. The town has even been luring fashion-conscious consumers away from Shibuya, where business has temporarily slowed due to an extensive redevelopment project.
Barneys New York Roppongi
Barneys New York Roppongi opened on 16 September 2016 on the first and second floors of Tri-Seven Roppongi, a building completed in March and located just across from Tokyo Midtown. It is Barneys Japan’s first new store since becoming a subsidiary of giant retail group Seven & i Holdings Co., and the company is promoting it with an unusual amount of enthusiasm.
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The store itself and its product lineup, based on the concept of Better Than Ever, are strikingly luxurious and stylish.
Most remarkable is the spiral staircase connecting the first and second floors, which calls to mind the magnificence of classic Hollywood films — and for good reason: It is made from marble produced at the Danby Quarry in Vermont in the United States.
Another of the store’s terrific attractions is Barneys Cafe by Mi Cafeto Premier, on the second floor. The cafe is run by Yoshiaki Kawashima, a celebrated coffee connoisseur known as a “coffee hunter.”
United Arrows Roppongi Hills
United Arrows Roppongi Hills reopened on 22 September 2016 after remodelling finished on the second and third floors of the Roppongi Hills West Walk. United Arrows usually sells men’s and women’s apparel in separate shops, but the Roppongi Hills store combines clothing for both sexes, making it the fashion retailer’s largest shopping space.
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The store has the chaotic atmosphere of a bazaar — in fact, its concept is “Bazaar Paranoia” — although there are tidy, harmonious touches as well. An outlet of the Kyoto-based Gion Tokuya Japanese cafe is on the second floor, and on the third floor a small branch of Junrian re-creates the traditional Japanese atmosphere of its main store, which opened in Ginza in April.
Style for Living, a space on the third floor, sells bed linens and other daily necessities jointly developed by United Arrows and Showa Nishikawa Co. The array of spaces selling brands and goods selected by the store staff lends the fashion store a friendly atmosphere.
On opening day, an old-fashioned chindonya band — garishly dressed musicians that promote the goods of their clients — entertained customers with a comedic performance. In this store, it probably wouldn’t feel out of place to find common street vendors — like popular film character Tora-san of the “Otoko wa Tsuraiyo” movie series — next to the trendy shops.
These two stores — smart, stylish Barneys New York and warm, intimate United Arrows — have completely different atmospheres, but similar sizes. Barneys measures 1,900 square meters, and United Arrows measures 1,400 square meters.
(Source: The Japan News)