by Stephen Garner

Last week, Brooks Brothers commemorated its 40th anniversary in Japan with a special runway show event in Tokyo.

Over 500 guests attended the company’s first-ever show in Japan; and only the third in its 201-year history. The show featured 60 looks for both men and women, the latter designed by Zac Posen, creative director for the women’s collection, who was also present for the occasion.

Brooks Brothers, America’s oldest apparel brand, hosted the presentation within Tokyo’s iconic Meijijingu Gaien national stadium complex. Within the unique setting of the Indoor Baseball Practice Field, Brooks Brothers paid homage to the beloved pastime shared by America and Japan alike. Baseball also served as a source of inspiration for the collection styling.

Within the venue, Brooks Brothers built a full-scale stadium and models walked the bases to a soundtrack influenced by songs from 1979, the year Brooks Brothers opened its first store in Japan, within a former bank building within Tokyo’s Aoyama neighborhood.

Striking the balance between tradition and innovation, the lineup included both sportswear and suiting, as well as eveningwear for both men and women. Tweed and corduroy were often combined in unexpected combinations including the show’s first look: a Harris Tweed take on Brooks Brothers’ famous patchwork “Fun Shirt”, and one of its last looks: a formal dinner jacket in a herringbone tweed pattern. Outerwear such as puffy parkas and classic trenches were layered over eveningwear for both men and women, blurring the lines of form and function. Borrowing from classic silhouettes, many coats and jackets featured innovative construction and fabrics.

After the show, guests were invited onto the field where waiters in baseball uniforms served a menu of New York City inspired ballpark classics.

Of the event and Brooks Brothers’ 40th Anniversary in Japan, Claudio Del Vecchio, chairman & CEO remarked, “We are proud of our long and storied history in Japan. Brooks Brothers, like Japan, shares a unique heritage of honoring tradition and celebrating innovation.”

In August 1979, Brooks Brothers became one of the first American clothing brands to enter the Japanese market when it opened its flagship store in Tokyo. As the authority on the Ivy League and trad style that was highly sought-after in Japan at the time, Brooks Brothers was quickly embraced and has, over the last 40 years, become a mainstay in Japanese style. Since that time the brand has expanded to include 83 locations with 25 in Tokyo alone.