Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Omotesando & Ura-harajuku

The only time I buy clothes is when I visit Tokyo, the world's most friendly city to anti-brand male fashionistas (i.e. fashion-conscious men who don't want to wear Paul Smith, Dior Homme, Giorgio Armani, etc.).

Ura-harajuku, off Omotesando boulevard, is the place to go for such men. Small alleyways are lined with myriads of small-scale boutiques for men (amazingly, there are more shops for men than for women). Various styles are on offer, and they are often creative.

What attract me this time are: a draped long-sleeved t-shirt with two strings hanging from both sides of the crow neck at Jackrose Luv Maison; yukata with contemporary patterns at Tokyo 135; a silver long-sleeved t-shirt at World Exe; and a bell-bottomed pair of trousers at Tornado Mart.

I also stop by at Omotesando Hills. As before, the ad campaign undermines the beauty of the inside of the building designed by Tadao Ando. In the photo below, the ad part is cut off from the frame although this is not the best way of framing the interiors of Omotesando Hills.

But I now learn there are some interesting stores which I can recommend.

Hida Omotesando (floor b2) displays expensive, but elegant wooden furniture made of Japanese cedar from Hida region (in the middle of Japan) designed by Enzo Mari. The grain of cedar makes these pieces of furniture look very unique and beautiful. The collaboration between Japanese traditional furniture makers (which have excellent skills of processing raw materials) and European designers like this one is an emerging trend in Japanese interior design.

Another interesting shop in Omotesando Hills is Kisara (floor b2), selling Japanese traditional textile and other handicrafts presented in a contemporary fashion.

Omotesando Saryo, a cafe at the main entrance of Omotesando Hills, serves Western sweets, pastry, and sandwiches with the decor inspired by Japanese tradition. For 1250 yen (7.67 euro), a croissant sandwich, a small bowl of salad, and yuzu (a kind of citrus only available in Japan) smoothie fill my stomach. The kind of cafes Stockholm never offers me with...

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