Tokyo is attracting major tourist traffic this spring — thanks to its legendary cherry blossoms — and the Japanese capital is a hot spot for new designer stores too.
Bally and Pierre Hardy both are opening flagships in the city. Bally will launch its largest store worldwide in Ginza this week, part of the brand’s global rollout plan that foresees 15 stores opening over the next 12 months.
“It took us 24 months to craft the strategy of where we are today,” said CEO Frédéric de Narp. “We have the management team in place now, the right design direction, and finally we’ve refined the Bally store concept. We’ve already opened Los Angeles in February, and now Tokyo with the Ginza flagship, which is our largest store in the company to date.”
The 8,640-sq.-ft. store will span two floors, carrying men’s and women’s apparel and accessories. The ground floor will house the men’s and women’s accessories and ready-to-wear collections. It will also feature the gentleman’s corner offering services such as “Made to Order,” “Made to Color” and shoe-care services. The second floor will house the brand’s “Untold Part 1: 1851-1951” exhibition, with pieces from the Bally archives, until May 8. It will then be used as a space to host VIPs and events.
With 24 stores already in Japan, de Narp said he’s noticed the influx of Chinese tourists over the past year, which has had a positive impact on business. “There is good brand awareness, but this location and the new store will certainly take the brand to a new level as we are at the gate of Ginza, where 140,000 pass by each day,” he said. “We have seen 1,000-plus people a day pass through the doors since we opened.”
As for the store’s design, de Narp said the interior has similarities with the New Bond Street and Los Angeles flagships: “But Ginza has an incredible 50-meter [49 foot] aluminum facade that makes it unique.”
He added, “We are not carrying exclusive products, but decided to celebrate the launch with an exhibition of the Bally archives, which have left Switzerland for the first time ever. Visitors will be able to see 100 years of Bally’s history and 100 shoe designs. Many people still don’t know about the brand’s rich heritage. This exhibition really emphasizes the craftsmanship, modernity and creativity of the brand — the most important luxury shoemaker. Through the exhibition you see and understand the evolution of society through Bally shoe designs over five different periods of time,” the CEO said.
Pierre Hardy, meanwhile, has opened a minimal, modern and highly graphic space that meshes well with the designer’s brand identity.
The cement walls, the burnt wood surfaces and the metallic IPN construction beams — a signature of the Pierre Hardy boutiques — stand in contrast to softening and sophisticating touches, seen in the use of richer and more sensual materials: velvet, taupe carpeting and touches of gold.
The simple and fluid geometry of the space allows the collections to be shown in different ambiances: on large central burnt wood tables, on the metallic “rails” in the windows or even displayed as if in a ray of light. Seating and display podiums form a single unit: hung at the same level, as if suspended, made for sitting or for showing the collections.