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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“They buy the fashion differently from us, and when we first opened we kept telling them how to buy it,” said Doonan. “But bit by bit we realized there were cultural differences. They tend to buy things more jacket-y and sportswear-y. With a line like Lanvin, for example, [in the U.S.] we have a lot of cocktail dresses. Here, they were quite sporty and tweedy with their Lanvin buy.”

Nakamura’s forecast for first-year store sales is approximately $45 million. He estimates that the Shinjuku store pulls in about $65 million annually and the Yokohama store about $40 million.

“They deserve a great deal of credit for being so innovative and creative,” said Howard Socol, chairman, president and chief executive officer of Barneys New York. “We’ve been partners for a good deal of time. It started with a very good foundation of Barneys in New York and Barneys in Japan working together. Obviously they have found it successful, and they’ve just continued to grow. Their growth continues to broaden our brand image and our aura.”

Situated in the historic Kojun Building, the store spans three levels — the basement and the first two floors. “It is still very Barneys,” said the project’s designer, Jeffrey Hutchison of Jeffrey Hutchison & Associates LLC. “We wanted to create the next-generation store, to take the evolution of their brand to the next level.”

To that end Hutchison forged a luxe environment replete with a striking central staircase of rosewood and limestone which, in tandem with a massive steel sculpture, winds its way up three floors. Along with rich elements such as limestone floors with marble mosaic borders, dark cerused oak walls and antique brass, one of the space’s standout features is an extensive array of applied art — from the sculpture (built in Hokkaido) to mosaics and murals, all of which were created by the artist John-Paul Philippe.

“Barneys has always used a high degree of decorative art in the vein of playful murals,” said Hutchison. “I felt this was a real opportunity to make it three-dimensional and sculptural.”

The murals and mosaics are sprinkled throughout the store and serve not only as decoration, but also as dividers for different merchandise niches.
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