In A Paris Retail Space, A Door To Japan

by MR Magazine Staff

The newest Japanese ambassador to Paris sits in the shadow of the Eiffel Tower, preparing for a debut. On Tuesday morning, a man with a tape measure was making sure each tea set displayed on a center table was positioned just so. The kimonos and patchwork denim shirts had been hung. On Saturday, the Japan Store at the Maison de la Culture du Japon à Paris, in the 15th Arrondissement, is to open its doors. The French embrace of Japan is nothing new. The cultural center, which offers classes, exhibitions and films, opened in 1997; the interest in all things Japanese goes back much further (the French term “Japonisme” was coined in the 19th century). But today, an influx of Japanese chefs are at the stoves of some of the city’s hottest new restaurants, and at standbys like Kunitoraya, in the First Arrondissement, lines reliably form for udon. At Paris Fashion Week, which began on Tuesday, Japanese designers including Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons, Junya Watanabe and Yohji Yamomoto will show their latest collections. So the Japan Store will enter a city already well stocked with Japanese imports and well versed in their merits. But the shop is a new venture from the Isetan Mitsukoshi Holdings, Japan’s largest department store group — its full name is the Japan Store Isetan Mitsukoshi — which believes it has something to add to the mix. Read more at The New York Times.