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Fashion, jewelry & watch, lifestyle, beauty, foods…
Unique editors who are familiar with each genre GINZA SIX aimlessly
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Gonna Soak Up the Sun—Looking for Color

Atsuko Kobayashi

GINZA SIX EDITORS Vol.97

When I was little, my family would visit Ginza on the weekends to go shopping or have dinner. I remember how much fun I had walking down the middle of the closed streets. Today, as an adult Ginza still remains an important place to be together with my family. On the weekends, it’s a special place I visit with family; on weekdays, it’s the ordinary Ginza I’m constantly visiting for exhibitions and such.

I added GINZA SIX to my personal Ginza repertoire in 2017. I’ll have dinner there with my family or visit to check out books and various brands. Or I’ll go to a café to organize my work a bit between appointments.

Now that the state of emergency has been lifted, why not head to GINZA SIX for your first shopping venture? It’s a destination designed both to satisfy your desire for things as well as exercise your aesthetic and trend sensibilities. After all these months cooped up at home, we’re all longing to go out and soak up the sun! As we whiled away days at home social distancing, the seasons have changed. The wonderful weeks of May have come and gone, not properly appreciated. Now the rainy season is here, and we are all afflicted by a chronic absence of sunlight. So what if it’s hot—don’t you want to walk around outside? Don’t you want a colorful wardrobe that celebrates the summer? Aren’t you dying for a bolt of energy?

Let’s start with clothes. Personally, I find not having the right clothes kills my motivation to venture out. My search for new clothes for this summer begins on the fourth floor at styling/. Featuring the original brand and personal selections of popular stylist Kei Shirahata, it opened at GINZA SIX recently, on March 19. The designs are basically simple and easy to coordinate, as well as somewhat boyish, with the trademark Shirahata twist—all in all, very appealing. At the entrance, I’m greeted by a mannish pantsuit.

Shopping after such a long break is fun, fun, fun! My eyes dart about, at once bedazzled and alert. There’s so much here I want to try on. I want to buy it all! The long, cache-cœur top dresses, the brand’s signature, fill the racks with a sweeping flourish of colors, patterns, and materials. Even the T-shirts and innerwear feature special fabrics and shapes—if you owned a few, oh, to what spectacular use you’d put them!

Mixed in with the house brand are some other fascinating pieces—such as the lineup of vintage clothes selected by Shirahata. Indescribably charming! This silky print qipao jacket is in great condition. It’s great to have such adult options in vintage (52,000 yen; all prices listed before tax).

I’m also drawn to the colorful, arty accessories here. The lineup is a select combination of vintage and new items. These somewhat decorative, eye-catching earrings are a must for this season. Summer styles tend toward single pieces, which can feel a little lonely. But adding an accessory like this can really help fill out your summer look.

This bag (4,000 yen) is a styling/ original—and gold gets 10 out of 10 for capturing that summer feeling! This bag is actually made with a special paper. It’s very, very light. With use and time, it gains both softness and wrinkles, which add to its character. It’s an ideal second bag for days when you’re heading out with a pouch or mini-bag.

Toward the back of the shop is a space with strobe lights, like a photo studio. Here my eyes alight on a red and white print dress hanging in the middle of a rack (43,000 yen). And I buy it! It’s 70s vintage, I’m told. Trying it on makes me feel great, so I decide to bring it home with me. I’m delighted to add this appealing piece to my summer wardrobe.

Speaking of important items essential to summer fashion, jewelry is right up there. The older I get, the more I want to wear the real thing. From here on out, I’ve told myself, I’m only buying luxury jewelry. I head to the Piaget boutique on the first floor, a brand that shows up all the time in fashion shoots. Walk straight ahead from the entrance and you’ll find yourself there. The bright, accessible boutique is appointed in blue, white, and gold, all of which adds up to an inviting atmosphere.

The window display on the theme of “Piaget Blue”, recalling the blue of the deep sea, features arty light blue panels that also conjure up cool summer moods, a potential inspiration for still life shoots for my job. In the window is the Piaget Rose collection, one of the brand’s signature lines. The three-dimensional rose forms articulated in lines makes an impression. I find myself really wanting the large ring…

This pendant (432,000 yen), part of the Piaget Sunlight collection, is the piece I knew I definitely wanted to check out. The triangular shapes set around the green malachite and the gleam of the diamonds seem to embody the energy of the sun. Malachite has knots like trees. Each is different; no two are alike. This distinctiveness is part of the appeal.

I actually studied the pendant in great detail online while planning my summer shopping as I social distanced at home. And now, I find that trying it on at the store is uplifting, inspirational. When you’re heading out with a casual T-shirt look, the option to add a sharp, luxurious pendant like this is one of the charms of adult privilege. It’s important to actually take this in your hand and try it on yourself. As I listen to the sales attendant discuss the pendant, I feel myself falling deeper and deeper in love. I will come back to pick you up, my sweet!

Piaget offers a rich lineup of colored stones, like red carnelian, blue lapis lazuli, and this turquoise. Adorning your wrist with this watch with its turquoise strap and this turquoise chain bracelet goes beyond stylish! For summer jewelry in particular, getting an energy charge from colored stones is a must.

Having said this, I’ll always love the gleam of jewelry studded with diamonds. Featuring a spherical motif with rotating ring, earrings from the brand’s iconic Possession collection (848,000 yen) are the ideal size for a hoop design and something any adult would want to wear as daily jewelry.

In the season of the sun, you’d be remiss to neglect skincare. I go to the first belowground floor to check out Kiehl’s, founded in New York in 1851 as an apothecary and a truly pioneering presence in skincare products based on natural ingredients. Before Kiehl’s arrived in Japan, I’d buy lots of Kiehl’s products whenever I travelled with my friends to Hawaii or mainland America. Back then, the lavender and rose body lotions and lip balm were personal must-haves.

Kiehl’s offers products for moisturizing, lightening, texture and sebum control, aging care, and all the other care products people want. The lineup is super extensive. At this time of year, I narrow my focus to products that address moisturizing needs after exposure to the summer sun. I begin my investigation while asking the sales attendant all sorts of questions.

I was recommended the series made with calendula flowers. For some reason, I’m fascinated by the striking orange, from which the profuse brilliance of the sun seems to shine. Calendula is like a sentry for your skin and Kiehl’s buys petals from an enormous farm in Egypt, I’m told.

The Soothing Hydration Mask (4,900 yen), which has the consistency of a very fresh jelly, is packed with hand-picked calendula petals. It also contains aloe vera juice, known for its calming qualities. And the gentle and relaxing aroma gives me a lift. I’ll take it!

My eyes alight on an Instant Renewal Concentrate Mask (5,200 yen). This high-grade sheet mask contains three oils harvested in the Amazon. Use it on the night before a big day. It’s the trump card in your hydrating care regimen. One of the staff places a cut mask on the back of my hand; it’s extremely adhesive. It feels like my dry skin is gulping up the oil.

I’ve had all these opportunities to try a whole range of products—it already feels like a good deal. When you buy a product, you get free samples of other things you might like. These come in a paper bag that features a charming illustration and message, each hand-drawn by a staff member. After so many months cooped up at home, receiving an article like this is surprisingly moving.

As I’ve been walking around GINZA SIX, I’m starting to feel thirsty. Time for a cool and refreshing drink, I think. Going down to the basement floor of a department store and gulping down a cup of fresh juice from a fruit vendor would be the pinnacle of delights. Here, I add to my repertoire Jotaro Saito Café, attached to a fourth-floor Jotaro Saito boutique that offers kimono and accessories designed by Jotaro Saito, one of Japan’s preeminent kimono designers. (The brand holds a runway show during Tokyo’s Fashion Week and offers avant-garde kimono with a Western sensibility using fabrics like denim—I recommend immersing yourself in the brand’s unique and stylish Japanese worldview.) More to the point, while checking out the colorful sashes I’m considering pairing with my yukata, I make my way to the boutique’s in-store café.

This Glass Dessert (1,500 yen) is one of those things known to those-in-the-know. The fruit, whose brilliant colors recall jewelry, changes with the seasons. The delight of this particular season is mango. The bite-sized portions of mango, ripened under the generous sun, is served frozen. The dish also features chunks of guava and pineapple fruit.

I feel a little hesitant about actually inserting my spoon. It looks so much like a work of art, it’s a pity to have to break it all up. It’s not something you drink with a straw. It’s a frozen fruit dessert mined with a spoon.

It’s cold, slightly sweet, and indescribably juicy! And the cool heat-quenching sensations! The jelly mixed with all the fruit makes it even easier to swallow. You can enjoy samples of each fruit in alternation. I have a bite, then another, then another—it’s hard to stop lifting the spoon to one’s mouth. The dessert is quite filling, too. I recommend trying it on empty stomach, maybe as refreshment for another round of shopping.

The café space where you can enjoy the Glass Dessert features a relaxed, Japanese-modern atmosphere. The lattice-like walls incorporate traditional woodworking; the seats are appointed with Nishijin fabrics. It’s an ideal place to take a break from shopping or to relax briefly between exhibitions in Ginza. Unbeatable as a place to stop and work, too.

Heading home, I buy some of the café’s original icebars as gifts (from 500 yen), each made by hand at an icebar factory located in the corner of the company’s dyeing workshop in Kyoto. A cool dessert that looks like art, it comes in more than 20 flavors, ranging from light and refreshing to thick and creamy. And they come in the café’s specially designed box. These boxes will delight anyone lucky enough to be gifted one.

I feel set for my sun charge. This time in particular, I noticed, despite the conveniences offered by online shopping, the true pleasure of shopping lies in actually going to the shops, trying on articles, buying things, and talking to the staff. In these times, in addition to the shopping, I’ll be coming to GINZA SIX simply as a fun place for communicating with others.

Text: Atsuko Kobayashi Photos: Kanako Noguchi Edit: Yuka Okada(81)

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Atsuko Kobayashi

Fashion director and editor, Tokyoite, and mother of a teenage daughter at junior high school. Joined Hachette Fujingaho’s Elle Japon in 2005. Served as deputy editor-in-chief before launching freelance career. Major current responsibilities include editorial and art direction for magazines and advertising.

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2020.06.24 improves