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Stores September, 16 2011

Tokyo Shopping Excursion – Aoyama

We continue our Tokyo tour. After having visited Shibuya and Harajuku earlier this week, we made the move to Aoyama. The good thing is, that all three of these shopping areas are very close to each other. From Harajuku to Aoyama it is not even worth taking the subway, you just walk over.

Once you start getting into the better shopping streets of Aoyama, you realize quickly that compared to Harajuku, things are a little more settled here. Lots of Japanese and international high fashion designers set up there shops here, including Issey Miyake, Comme des Garcons, Rick Owens, Neil Barrett, Miu Miu, Prada and many others.

Many of those brands you of course find in the US and Europe as well, therefore we tried to stick to the more unique outlets, either in terms of product offering or because of the store design.

Check out our in-depth Aoyama visit after the jump.

LOVELESS Aoyama – Upon entering we right away passed through Loveless. Over the years we have heard so much about the concept store that we just had to go in. The store design and setup is rather impressive. You enter on the ground-floor and then make your way onto two basement floors. In terms of products we were unfortunately not very impressed. Aside from some Thom Browne, we felt like the selection was not that great. Worth checking out, not worth shopping though.

PRADA Aoyama – This is one of the stores that no matter how much you like the Italian luxury brand or not, you simply have to visit. Created by Herzog and de Meuron, the architecture and interior design is just amazing. The window construction, and also the structures built inside the store, as well as the tunnel leading from the outside into the menswear section, are all amazing features of the store, that you have to explore.

10 CORSO COMO Aoyama – The Milanese concept store has its own outpost in Tokyo and its not small at all. Of course you find lots of Comme des Garcons in there, but also other good collections, including Celine, Thom Browne, Moncler, Adam Kimmel, Balenciaga and lots of smaller items. A very clean looking store that is worth checking out.

UNDERCOVER Aoyama – The store sits right next to 10 Corso Como and was one of the shops we looked most forward to in the area. Great interior design, some of you might remember the 1000s of lightbulbs setup on the ceiling of the shop. With a bit of wind coming in from the outside, these actually make some noise, adding to an otherwise tranquil atmosphere in the shop. Both men’s and women’s collections are available in the store.

A look at the crazy ceiling installation of the store.

ORIGINAL FAKE Aoyama – Here is another one that we really wanted to see. The store by Medicom and New York artist Kaws sits in the same street as Undercover, Y-3 and 10 Corso Como. Right under the flagship store of jewelry brand Core Jewels, you find in the basement a beautifully built out OF flagship. A massive Campanion figure welcomes you in. The clean environment offers both the toys and the clothing and accessories by Kaws. Nice details include the tiles used on the walls and ceiling of the shop, as well as the animated films of the Companion figure shown in the mirrors of the changing cabins. Of course not a single toy is for sale, as it has sold out before, but some of the clothing is always in place.

Tiny logo outside, and then when you come down the stairs…. BOOOM!

BAPEXCLUSIVE Aoyama – There is no shopping area in Tokyo without a Bape store. Aoyama houses the Bapexclusive store, which aside from all main collections (Men’s, Women’s, Kids, URSUS), also gets other special and limited edition items that no other shop gets. That is actually also the only reason why we wanted to quickly go inside. Turns out, that range of special items is tiny (one rack of maybe 5-8 products) and therefore, this Bape store or any other in Tokyo does not really matter. Probably depends on the release!

JAMES PERSE Aoyama – This was again one of those visits, due to the appealing store design. The American designer perfectly managed to translate his high quality and easy design aesthetic into his building in Tokyo. An airy and spacious interior, with only a few design items taking your eyes off of the clothing. Beautiful!

COMME DES GARCONS Aoyama – Obviously you cannot come to Tokyo and not go to a Comme store. Even though we come across the brand all over the place, we still wanted to see their own space here in Aoyama. An interesting built with glass and a store setup reminding of a labyrinth, they carry all Comme des Garcons lines it seems, except for Junya Watanabe. But the PLAY line SHIRT line, Homme, Homme Deux and Homme Plus were all there. As usual lots of collaborative items, including Dr. Martens shoes, Converse sneakers, Lacoste polo shirts and more.

THE CONTEMPORARY FIX Aoyama – We concluded the Aoyama tour with The Contemporary Fix. The shop sits on top of a restaurant, both connected with stairs. While the store has interesting and somewhat bizarre selection (a bit of Phenomenon, a bit of mastermind, some vintage Goyard, etc) the food downstairs was great and well priced. For 1000 Yen per person we had a big lunch, including drinks.

As usual, we can say that there is of course more in Aoyama. As mentioned before, from Ferrari, Brunello Cuccinelli, to Moncler, Y-3, Miu Miu, Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, Chrome Hearts and pretty much any other high end fashion house, they are all there. We wanted to see Blackflag, but that had already closed, with the new WTAPS store, GIP, having opened this week in Shibuya.

If you have other suggestions for the area, please leave a comment. More to come from Tokyo soon!

Photography: Highsnobiety

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