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GINZA SIX EDITORS

Fashion, jewelry & watch, lifestyle, beauty, foods…
Unique editors who are familiar with each genre GINZA SIX aimlessly
We spell way of enjoying that we found on foot.

Falling in Love with London Once Again in the Middle of Ginza

Yuriko Kishi

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.62

I like cool better than cute. My heart leaps not at the gorgeous, but at simple things with nonchalant yet confident details that sparkle. Any day of the week, I’ll take suits over dresses, shirts over jersey tops, and definitely pants over skirts. I’m drawn to masculine clothing or clothing with an androgynous vibe.

My friends tell me: Try something more feminine; try something more adventurous. Pity, because none of that looks good on me. Knee-length skirts, in particular, are taboo to me. I’m sure my preconceptions play a role, but, on me, I think they inevitably look mismatched. I think it’s for reasons similar to the way long hair might suit a particular person, while a short cut won’t work. Perhaps it has something to do with someone’s overall vibe, shape, or essence.

Incidentally…winter is coming. I’ll need a new coat or jacket soon. Looking for something I’ll instinctively know is the one, I make plans to wander GINZA SIX and its large selection of stores of both men’s and women’s apparel.

Neil Barrett on the third floor is a mixed men’s and women’s boutique, the brand’s first in Japan. The collection is neatly arranged in a timeless space with walls of lovely gray-tinted glass—I feel my heart racing already. The items bearing the brand’s iconic thunderbolt are wonderful, but I’m struck by a finely tailored jacket with English details typical of Neil Barrett. Actually…well, it’s not really major news… but I was a clothing designer before my current life as a writer. As a student, I attended Central Saint Martins, an arts college in London, the very same school that produced Neil Barrett. So, he’s a senior of mine, a fellow graduate, and a designer I’ve loved and admired since I was enrolled there.

I haven’t been to the store for a while. The men’s line, of course, is great, and plenty of cool women’s jackets are on display. I’m just getting started, but my intensity of excitement is stuck on high. Well before I try on anything, with the articles of clothing still on their hangers, I find just looking at these seemingly perfect articles makes me happy. The power of clothing is impressive.

Take this wool jacket (125,000 yen; all prices listed before tax). The fit is perfect; it feels contoured to my body, as if custom-tailored. At the same time, it’s plenty flexible and pleasingly comfortable. I’m transfixed: A jacket with an exquisite balance between authentic tailored construction and sporty good looks can be put to good use across a range of scenarios, formal to casual.

This men’s cow leather backpack (129,000 yen) is light and elegant and fits right against your back. It’s the perfect size for carrying the tools of your trade: a notebook computer or iPad, essential documents, notebooks. With use, the leather adapts to you and becomes your own, increasingly and inevitably becoming something you can’t do without.

I’ll buy a shirt or jacket if I admire the silhouette or the feel of the materials, but I tend then to want an accent. I’ll often add studs myself. I feel apologetic thinking about the people who made the clothing, but lift my hammer all the same. On seeing these leather shoes (102,000 yen), though, my DIY spirit blinks out. They’re simply wonderful, just as they are.

Trying on this biker’s jacket (275,000 yen), I find I feel just as careless and carefree as if I’d always owned it. It gets all the essentials right for this type of jacket: shoulder width, length, sleeve length, collar height, stitching in the right places, and more. It says streetwise, but gives off a refined vibe, perhaps because it’s clear how much work has gone into the details.

I love oversized designs and how a bold profile traces gentle curves, even if I have initial doubts. But this cashmere-blend wool coat (197,000 yen) in striking military olive deftly upends my initial impressions. The unique collar covers the entire neck, and in this detail I sense a truly original and confident fashion statement. The coat is light but warm. It’s stylish, with a functional beauty.

My next stop is HELMUT LANG on the fourth floor, which also houses both men’s and women’s lines. GINZA SIX is the only location in Japan, other than the brand’s street-level store, where you can find the new men’s line from design director Alexandre Plokhov.

If I like something, I’ll buy it in different colors—really, I’ll jump at the chance to. Even then, I wear these clothes right into the ground, until they wear out. You don’t come across items like this every day. I find myself craving this sheep leather outer (95,000 yen) and these matching wool track suit trousers (32,000 yen) in every color they have.

The black leather outer with hood is cool in every sense of the word. The gray version is so fresh it hurts. The high-end wool trousers look like semi-formal wide pants, but they’re even more comfortable than so-called sweatpants. I have a strong sense I’m going to love wearing them for a long time—not just this winter, but next year and years beyond. But buying all the colors…I’m going to have to consult with my wallet.

Lastly, I go to JOSEPH on the fifth floor. When it comes to London, I think of Joseph as much as I do Savile Row or Vivienne Westwood. In my random walks while studying in London, I’d often drop in at a Joseph boutique, located toward the end of Sloane Street, the main street at the Sloane Square tube station, within walking distance of the dorm where I lived. With each visit, I’d think: This is so London. Recollecting my youth and feeling nostalgic, I look at the clothing beautifully displayed and organized by color—blue, green, beige, and more; I repeatedly pick some out and try them on. The store here in GINZA SIX has men’s and women’s lines, too.

I’m captivated once again, this time by this khaki wool coat (160,000 yen). I love the big, boldly colored pockets. The cashmere stole (42,000 yen) starts as a simple triangle; but simply wrap it casually about oneself, I’m told by the sales attendant, and it assumes other shapes. I would expect no less.

JOE’S CAFÉ next to JOSEPH is a bookstore and café that offers wonderful selections of black and green teas that change with the seasons, just as clothing. The concept here is Seasons in the Pot. The large bookshelf that covers an entire wall is filled with rare books, mostly on England and London, selected by BACH, a company led by book director Yoshitaka Haba. The books include titles ranging from a Damien Hirst collection to “Genealogy of Dandyism” by Kaori Nakano. It’s a little hideaway in GINZA SIX where you can relax while steeping yourself in the world of JOSEPH.

There’s nothing more English than afternoon tea, so I go with JOE’s High Tea Set (4,500 yen). The black tea is Castleton Darjeeling First Flush. The English-style three-layer tray has, from the bottom, sandwiches, cakes, and scones. Three sandwich varieties are offered: strawberry, the most popular at JOE’S CAFÉ, the seasonal fig, and cucumber. With afternoon tea, you would normally eat from the bottom. But, according to the waitress, “It’s all quite sweet, so if you leave the cucumber sandwich for last, you’ll end on a refreshing note.” I try eating it as recommended. It’s more delicious than I imagined it could be! The thin-sliced cucumber is layered in multiple delicate layers. The flavor is simple, composed of white wine vinegar, unsalted butter, rock salt, and black pepper. It’s a sandwich distinctive enough to change your perspectives on cucumber.

JOSEPH and JOE’S CAFÉ are currently hosting an exhibition, running through November 4, 2018, of campaign photos featuring model Karei Yuzu, star of the Takarazuka Revue Flower Troupe. The striking and dramatic contrast between “elements,” some of the materials and machinery that support JOSEPH’s creations, and the “objects” that come from these elements, is a must-see. Overall, the GINZA SIX boutique is a luxurious space that lets you take in an art exhibition while looking at clothing and experiencing JOSEPH’s world.

An afternoon of London in the middle of Ginza—I realize once again how much I love London. The next time I feel this way, I think I’ll come to GINZA SIX.

Text:Yuriko Kishi Photos:Mariko Mibu Edit:Yuka Okada

editors_kishi

Yuriko Kishi

Writer, translator, and painter. Yuriko Kishi began her writing career in 2008 after working as a designer at MALKOMALKA. She writes broadly on fashion, watches, medicine, welfare, sports, and other topics. As a painter, she primarily creates murals for retail establishments. In recent years, she’s been involved in product design and costume design for musicians. Dutifully updates her Instagram account (kishiyuriko) on the varied appeal of Kyoto’s geisha quarter, her life’s work.
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Neil Barrett

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HELMUT LANG

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JOSEPH / JOE'S cafe

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2018.10.26 improves