The Right Translation: Barneys Japan Unveils Third Flagship in Tokyo

Barneys Japan Co.’s expansive new store in Ginza is its third unit in the country and is projected to do $45 million in first-year sales.

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TOKYO — Whether it’s the outlandish, hopped-up fashion of the Shibuya girls or the refined, designer looks of the moneyed set, one thing is certain: Japanese women love to flaunt their style. And it was fully on display at the opening of Barneys Japan Co.’s expansive new store in Ginza, where VIP shoppers turned up in lace tops, cuffed jeans, sandals festooned with feathers and Birkin bags in hand. Their male counterparts provided the perfect balance, filling the room with slim, dark suits.

Barneys Japan president Naoki Nakamura graciously greeted each arriving guest. Amidst the trays of champagne and perfectly bite-size hors d’oeuvres, partygoers milled about the store which, despite the distance and the different ownership, has the same air of sophisticated whimsy as its American forebear.

“It screams Barneys to me,” said Simon Doonan, the U.S. company’s creative director, who was fresh off a flight from New York to help host the opening.

The 30,000-square-foot Ginza store marks the third Barneys New York unit in Tokyo — the other two are located in the Shinjuku and Yokohama districts. It’s the first new store for Barneys in Japan in a decade and takes the store design to the next level.

“We wanted to raise the profile of Barneys across Japan with this third store opening,” explained Nakamura. “The store design is based on what was already established with Barneys New York.

“The Ginza area attracts a very mature customer,” he added. “They have an acquired taste. There are many important luxury brands in the neighborhood and in an effort to maintain Barneys’ status, we are introducing new designers to differentiate ourselves in this market.”

The new Barneys is down the block from a Salvatore Ferragamo store and near units of Prada and Lanvin.

The store’s designer mix includes many of the same labels carried in the U.S. stores like Balenciaga, Jil Sander, Lanvin, Rochas, Narciso Rodriguez, Derek Lam, Alexander McQueen (new to Japan) and Proenza Schouler. However, the new store is also carrying brands like Meyers Swiss watches and has created a counter for Stephen Webster jewelry, neither of which is carried in the U.S. stores.
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