Prada’s Latest Glow: Luxury Group Unveils $83M Tokyo Landmark

Prada last week unveiled a six-story, 28,000-square-foot landmark store in Tokyo’s fashionable Aoyama shopping district.

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The first floor features bags and other small leathergoods, while men’s wear is on the second floor and women’s is on the third. The fourth floor carries, among other lines, Prada’s footwear collection, while the fifth is for VIPs. The lower ground floor is devoted to Prada Sport.

“The first thing I was interested to do in the new shop was to shop for myself and buy my things from my collection for myself,” said Miuccia Prada.

The Tokyo Epicenter also will be able to show past Prada collections going back decades, including capes and handbags from the Eighties.

The sixth floor, Prada said, is an exhibition space that can be used for collaborative exhibitions and performances with people in fashion, music, the academic world and other fields. For instance, there will be an exhibition before Christmas of stage costumes designed by a Japanese artist and used in the “Madame Butterfly” opera in Italy in the Fifties, according to the company.

“There is no mystery except that when you like your work you want to do things as well as possible,” Miuccia Prada said in explaining her business philosophy.

Bertelli said that he’d wanted to build an Epicenter store in Tokyo for some time. The aim was to create an architecture “which combines a classic appearance and a contemporary spirit,” said Bertelli in explaining the concept of the new building.

“Japan has always been an important market for Prada,” he said, noting that Prada Japan accounts for 23 percent share of Prada’s global sales of about $1.8 billion.

Prada considers each Epicenter store as “a little company” within a big company. The goal with the Tokyo store, as with the store in New York, is for it to continually stimulate other stores within the group to share the ideas, experiences and information gained by this cutting-edge flagship.

Prada began to grow rapidly in 1998, Bertelli said, adding it was around that time that he concluded there was a new need to build stores that would fuse with the community instead of continuing to build shops to more conventional designs.

“Prada was the first to plan and design a new store, not from a commercial viewpoint, but from an architectural viewpoint,” he said. This involved collaboration between Prada and architects, Bertelli said, explaining that in the process, Prada did not force its conditions on the architects but rather adapted its thinking to the architects’ ideas.
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