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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Greater Tokyo

Dries Van Noten is betting it'll take more than a little global recession to temper the Japanese lust for fashion. He’s just unveiled a multilevel flagship in the Aoyama district of Tokyo—and here's your first peek. Like its Paris counterpart, the Japanese outpost is designed as a visual dialogue with the locale and its history. But thankfully, this doesn't involve cliches like kimono displays, cherry blossoms or the leftover sets from Memoirs of a Geisha.

No stranger to exotic destinations, Dries always opts for a more restrained approach, transforming his cultural encounters in subtle yet unexpected ways. This time around, fashion's own Lawrence of Arabia has produced a stark juxtaposition, mixing lavish 17th-century European paintings against daring reinterpretations of them by contemporary Japanese artists—all in a zen, vaguely industrial backdrop. It's a new meditation on East meets West, modernity meets tradition, that’s less like The Last Samurai and more like that Bjork/Barney thing with the whales.

Oh, and of course, the clothes—tons and tons of it: women's, men's and accessories. But get a head start now. Chances are, small sizes will sell out first.

—Franklin Melendez





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