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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.

The all-encompassing nature of GINZA SIX from the perspective of a member of the greedy adult generation

Hiroko Koizumi

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.72

I’m a self-indulgent woman in her 50s who remains filled with longing, even as the Heisei Period of Japan’s history draws to a close. In pretty much everything, I base my consumer choices on whether I find the products interesting. Always living by sense of instinct with a lot of freedom, I don’t fit the mold of the image of a commonsense adult woman.

I’ve worked as a fashion editor for a long time. In this field as well, I continue to waver between extremes: conservative and stylish, elegant and casual, luxury and reality. Lately, spurred by intrinsic gluttony, I’ve wandered the world in search of various delicious tastes focusing on good wines and other alcoholic beverages.

But where should an impatient one-of-a-kind avaricious adult like me go shopping? Honestly, this question troubles me. While department stores cater to the orthodox, mature generation; select boutiques cater to the stylish mothers of children seeking to look more attractive; and the stores in railway station complexes to women around thirty conscious of the opposite sex, it’s often struck me that, in all of Tokyo, there’s no place just for me. (I get almost as upset as the man in a famous commercial for reading glasses.) Thinking GINZA SIX might be a space a most demanding individual like me might appreciate, I decided to trust in its everything-under-the-sun vision.

The first store I visit is N˚21. Developed by Alessandro dell’Acqua, this brand’s a personal favorite. Its fashions, which drive the new generation of Italian style, satisfy my own personal desire for two extremes: they’re grownup and innocent, elegant and cheerful.

On the day of my visit, I’m once again wearing my N˚21 checkered coat, which I’ve worn fondly for more than two years. On entering the store, I notice first a short coat made with the same bonding materials (145,000 yen; all prices hereinafter exclusive of tax). Despite the warmth, this fabric is characterized, above all, by its light weight. For those of my generation, apparel made of heavy materials, clothes that are hard to put on and take off, are strictly out of the question. Despite a gorgeously colored flower print that draws attention again this spring, the black base makes it an easy choice for black-haired Asian women to try on.

Checking the transitional collections of various shops for the runup to spring, I discover a favorite. You may recall several Italian actresses, from Sophia Lauren, my idol in childhood, to Monica Vitti in my adult years. This blouse (64,000 yen) looks like something such stars would have worn in the 1960s and 1970s. One fancies wearing it and loitering at a Mediterranean villa, with nonchalance and an enigmatic smile (never like a decent young lady). Wearing this in Tokyo, I’d recommend a more casual look with khaki cargo pants, which go well with yellow, and shoes with a strong python pattern.

This black dress (129,000 yen) is another wonderful item. The collar, in N˚21’s iconic color of pink-beige, sparkles with fetching bijoux embroidery. Just looking at the nostalgic handiwork sets the heart stirring.

The next store I visit is Bally, with its contemporary interior designed by a renowned architect. The long-established brand has a history of almost 170 years since its founding in 1851 as a ribbon manufacturer in Schönenwerd, Switzerland.

Many people might be surprised to learn that this brand, famous for shoes and bags, got its start making ribbons. But among the first things that come to mind on hearing the name Bally is the red and white Bally stripe, a pattern that recalls the colors of the Swiss flag. The stripe motif is used on a wide range of items, appearing on these slipper shoes (78,000 yen) as a casual accent. Trying them on, I find they have a decidedly relaxing feel, even if they’re from a luxury brand. I’m sure I’ll be wearing them a lot.

Bally first began making shoes when its founder, Karl Franz Bally, fascinated by the stylish women’s shoes he saw on a business trip to Paris, took a pair back to Switzerland as a gift for his wife. In a romantic backstory, many of his later footwear products, it’s said, were inspired by his wife’s aesthetic sense of fashion. This bag (240,000 yen) is one of the Cecyle collection, a new line of bags for spring, which bears his beloved wife’s name. A diamond quilt reproduced from the brand’s 1990s archives gives it a casual luxury feel. Ingeniously, the keyhole clasp is magnetized to make it especially easy to put items into the bag and take them out.

Speaking of which, I like to buy a new wallet for spring. While I tend not to pay too much attention to things like omens or good-luck charms, shopping instead just from acquisitive instinct, I find it’s different with wallets. I think of everything—what colors are best for saving money and on what day I should start using a new wallet. At Bally, I inspected a casual yellow wallet (56,000 yen) that looked like it might improve my financial fortunes.

GINZA SIX is vast. Walking from store to store, found myself looking for a cafe with a welcoming feel. That’s why my last stop is Philippe Conticini, a place I’d wanted to visit for a while. Conticini is a master of French pastries.

Right before my eyes, Pastry chef Takato prepares the Verrines Parfait Fraisier (1,800 yen), a limited-edition parfait available only in that special season when strawberries are at their most irresistibly flavorful. This carefully prepared parfait features layer upon layer of strawberries, custard cream, strawberry compote, strawberry sorbet….I watch with fascination as the chef works with scrupulous care, observing the famous Verrines technique of layering the ingredients vertically. The cream is returned to the refrigerator after each use. I feared it might be too sweet; the cream turns out to be smooth and airy. Combined with the acidity of the strawberries, it goes down my throat like a drink.

I’m told many men have been coming here lately for the parfaits. One key point is the presence of a counter where unaccompanied customers can sit at their ease. But when I come to a sweets shop, I like to choose a salty dish. It’s surprising how many sweet shops serve other excellent items as well, like sandwiches at an ice cream parlor.

The tomato mozzarella gaufre (2,000 yen) is based on a lightly baked gaufre made with roasted buckwheat seeds. A gaufre is a kind of waffle. This one is topped with tomato and mozzarella, on top which three cheeses—Emmental, Gruyère, and Comté—are melted. Of course, I hold a glass of champagne in my hand: Moet et Chandon Brut Imperial (200 ml, 2,400 yen). Sipping an aperitif of champagne in the early evening is a wonderful morsel of luxury.

GINZA SIX is an amazing place. It’s a precious spot that caters even to highly individual niche consumers like me, who are greedy, have strong preferences, and tend to be left cold by most marketing efforts.

Text: Hiroko Koizumi Photos: Hal Kuzuya Edit: Yuka Okada

editors_koizumih

Hiroko Koizumi

Fashion editor. She works chiefly at magazines targeting a wide range of readers, from high-fashion magazines to general-interest women’s periodicals. She also serves as Fashion Editorial Director of Numéro TOKYO. Specializing in bringing fashion into the real world, she’s written books: Be glamorous again in your cloths and Stylish women ignore common sense: 87 fashion tips (both published by Kodansha). On GINGERweb (Gentosha) she authors an advice column on various topics, including life and wine, under the pen name Hiroko Giovanna (https://gingerweb.jp). She also works in fashion direction for e-commerce sites and other media.
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BALLY

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PHILIPPE CONTICINI

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2019.01.30 improves