Design + Architecture

The World's Coolest Stores

by Gigi Guerra


Location: Tokyo

The big selling point: In a metropolis flush with breathtaking boutiques, a standout for its bizarre good-versus-evil theme.

What's in store: Loveless is one of the most inspired boutiques in Tokyo—and that's saying quite a bit for a city that's known for its above-and-beyond inventive retail (just take a look at the new Prada across the street). The gloriously theatrical interior, conceived by arty Japanese design firm Jamo Associates, is divided into two disparate areas: "Brilliant Side" is ethereal and playful, and "Dark Side" has a dramatic, dungeonlike feel. Brilliant Side occupies the ground and upper floor and features oversized Venetian mirrors and chandeliers dripping with bright, pendulous glass fruits. But as you progress downward to the catacomblike basement, things take a decidedly ominous turn: The stairwell mutates into a tunnel, and the walls seem to ooze with some strange rusty substance. Once you reach the subterranean level, the floors are slicked in glossy ebony paint, elaborate candelabras festoon the room, and risers resembling coffers hoist up tables selling somber-toned clothing and rock-'n'-roll jewelry. If any store can pull off a split personality, this is it.

Rub shopping shoulders with: Trust-fund-flush daughters of Japanese industrialists, well-heeled goths, in-the-know salarymen on the hunt for an unusual gift, Goyard stockpilers willing to cross the international date line for a bag.

Treat yourself: Quirky Eley Kishimoto printed frocks $210; exclusive-to-Loveless skull-print Goyard totes, $925.

3-17-11 Minami-aoyama, Minato-ku
Tel: 81 3 3401 2301

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Information may have changed since date of publication. Please confirm details with individual establishments before planning your trip.



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