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Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Prada on Omotesando

表参道 プラダ

Omotesando Avenue is a valley-shaped, tree-lined street in the Harajuku/Shibuya/Aoyama area of Tokyo that is perhaps the capital's most stylish. There are other places like Ginza which is perhaps Tokyo's no.1 shopping mecca, nearby Harajuku which is raw, teenage posturing, nearby Shibuya which is in-your-face bling, and Shinjuku which is a kaleidoscopic free-for-all. But nowhere is quite like Omotesando with its blend of natural beauty, architectural pizzazz, and sophisticated fashion sense.

A '49 Chevy owner feeds the parking meter, Omotesando, Tokyo.
1949 Chevy, Omotesando
Omotesando is lined with stores of almost every big international and Japanese fashion brand. Go a little further into Aoyama and the stores get smaller and more "cultish," but they all share a clientele with a maturer, perhaps more personality-driven approach to choosing what to wear and how, as opposed to the herd mentality that tends to dominate the more youthful areas nearby, or the staidness of areas that cater to those who basically wear what they've worn for decades.

One of the cathedrals of fashion on Omotesando - actually a little beyond it, past the intersection with Aoyama-dori Avenue, is Prada. The building is architecturally thrilling: all green-tinged diamond-shaped panes of glass, with a big sloping forecourt: a statement of geometrically dreamlike simplicity.

Prada store near Omotesando Avenue, in the Aoyama district of Tokyo.
Prada, Aoyama, Tokyo
I passed the Prada building this week on my way to the new Scotty Cameron Golf Gallery Tokyo just across from it. It has been quite a while since anything Prada found its way into my wardrobe, so I took a deep breath, sailed dandily by the pair of attendants at the door, weathering their appraising gaze, and made my way downstairs to the men's floor.

The service was warm and sparky - and in more than passable English. My eye was drawn immediately to Prada's take on a Hawaii shirt for summer: abstract suns and ukelele's on a beautiful palm-green background: me to a T. However, a look at the price put paid to my vision of carrying it out in a Prada bag being seen off my staff: 105,000 yen - twice the price of the pants I bought here a few years ago! I hope it didn't show, but I said I'd think about it, perused another item or two, thanked the assistant and took my leave.

Prada fashion, outside the Prada store, Omotesando, Tokyo.
Outside Prada, Aoyama
Outside I came across a guy stunningly outfitted in what he told me was Prada, and graciously let me take his photo. Great as the parts were, the look was greater than the sum of them - masterful! I'm fairly new to asking people on the street if I can take their photo, so regret not having taken a lot more shots when I had the chance and interacting with him more.

He said he was off to Issey Miyake after that. He looked perfect as is, but I'm sure Issey Miyake's majestic creations would find a very happy home with him too. I thanked him and wished him the best.

Door attendants at the Chanel "Bus Stop," Omotesando, Tokyo.
The door boys at Chanel, just up the road from Prada

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