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Tokyo’s Cutting Edge

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Launch Slideshow
Photo: Andrea Fazzari

Original Fake

In the same mode as Bathing Ape, but not as well known internationally, Original Fake showcases the work of New York graphic artist Brian Kaws, replacing apes with robots. A sweater with droids rendered in rhinestones ($700) is meant to be worn with a pair of Vans embellished with the shop's other trademark logo, an X.

Dress Camp

Doubt that the 1980's are coming back?The fresh eyes of Tokyo's most outré fashionistas beckon you to reconsider polyester safari shirts, trench coats with gold epaulets and big brass buttons, and a heart-shaped zebra-striped satin purse. Even the name of the shop is a pun.

Anteprima Plastiq

Hand-knitted PVC wire has been fashioned into bags, totes, and purses—with astonishing results. A small grass green tote trimmed with a white crown is $463; the plastic surface gives off a strange, almost iridescent glow.

Hermaphrodite

Like so many English names of Japanese shops, this one gives absolutely no indication of what is to be found inside. In fact, the clothes have a Brideshead Revisited air: heavy cotton trousers sport button flies and tiny back buckles; classic shirts are made of unbleached muslin.

Tie Your Tie

This exquisite haberdashery is a testament to the Japanese obsession with British tailoring. Here is everything a young bloke would need for punting on the Cam: tweed jackets, custom-made brogues, cashmere pullovers, caps, rare snakeskin belts, and of course, neckties.

Ginza

Tokyo's famed shopping thoroughfare teems with visitors, but it's not nearly as much fun to explore these days as the city's smaller neighborhoods. Still, you can't consider yourself a serious Tokyo shopper without spending at least one afternoon here, if only to gawk at the architecture, which rivals Aoyama's in originality and sheer spunk. Hermès is cloaked in black glass; a store called Opaque has a frosted façade on which the name of the shop, projected on the milky glass, appears, shimmers, and disappears. Stop by Le Café Doutor—it's run cafeteria-style, but they're used to customers who don't speak a word of Japanese—for an expertly poured latte before setting out.

Wako

In Tokyo: A View of the City, Donald Richie describes the Ginza as it was in 1947: "At this crossing there are only two large buildings standing. The Ginza branch of the Mitsukoshi Department Store, gutted, hit by a firebomb, even the window frames twisted in the heat. Across the street is the other, the white Hattori Building with its clock tower; much as it had been with its cornices and pediments." Then as now, the Hattori building contained Wako, a beautiful old-world department store that features an elegant curved staircase and a surfeit of superb if quiet merchandise. An exquisite apple green silk skirt suit is $1,835; the shoe department offers a Japanese take on Ferragamo. There's not a tutu or a rubber jacket in sight.

Mikimoto

Of all the architectural flourishes in and around the Ginza, the Mikimoto boutique, designed by Toyo Ito & Associates, is arguably the most thrilling. The lavender façade, perforated with cutouts that look like cow spots, or maybe Swiss-cheese holes, erases any preconceptions you may have that this is a staid, old-line jewelry company. In fact, this fall the famous pearls will be showcased in a new collection designed by Yohji Yamamoto.

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