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GINZA SIX EDITORS

ファッション、ジュエリー&ウォッチ、ライフスタイル、ビューティ、フード…
各ジャンルに精通する個性豊かなエディターたちが、GINZA SIXをぶらぶらと
歩いて見つけた楽しみ方を綴ります。

The “Right Now” of the Venerable Old Stores at GINZA SIX

山下 英介 フリーエディター

GINZA SIX EDITORS

 

Maybe it’s a reaction to having been raised in a drab cookie-cutter housing development with nothing but chain stores and restaurants as shopping and dining options. But since becoming an adult, I’ve become difficult—in every aspect of my life I only want things with solid and authentic roots in history, in tradition, in formal beauty.

For me, Ginza, its streets lined with dignified shops boasting long, venerable histories, must never be infringed upon. I partake of a rice omelet at Rengatei or look for an old Leitz lens at Katsumido or Sankyo Camera. When I tire of walking, I take a break at Café de l’Ambre—the perfect day off. Striding down the Namiki-dori Street in my three-piece suit and fedora humming a tune, I’m in full-on modern boy mode, straight out of the 1920s. You’re advised to leave me be.

But for all that, I don’t think I’m simply stuck in the past. I’m no Luddite. That’s because I work as a fashion editor. Ginza has evolved constantly since the Meiji era by introducing the most avant-garde and most luxurious goods from around the world. There’s no better place for fashion fieldwork.

With my lengthy preamble concluded, I’ll tell you why I regularly visit GINZA SIX. It’s because the “right now” of the venerable shops and brands redolent of history that I love are all here in their admirable variety.

Dunhill, for example. It’s a famous brand—you don’t need me to tell you this—founded in England in 1893. It carries all the things that make a man a gentleman, bespoke suits and driving attire and goods among them. The Japan flagship on Chuo-dori Avenue provides a barber, a tailor, and a bar, giving us here in Japan true insight into the traditions and styles of the gentleman.

However, the Dunhill that opened in GINZA SIX, the Dunhill Ginza Six Concept Store on the second floor, is a bit different. The product lineup is primarily the latest runway collection, which had been difficult to locate in Japan. Oversized knits, work pants, sneakers and more—almost all streetwise casualwear, transforming our traditional conception of the brand.

Having said this though, the prestigious Dunhill we all know and love is very much present. A rough-looking jersey fabric—at first glance, at any rate—is of astonishingly high quality. A geometric print on a shirt is inspired by the look and textures of a classic automobile (part of the brand’s roots) with some paint stripped off. Every detail speaks eloquently to the imagination and meticulous working methods of the brand’s creative director, Mark Weston, known, even in the industry, as a premier fashion maven.

Luxury tailored clothing typically makes use of a complex combination of interlining on the inside. But this jacket (330,000 yen; all prices listed after tax) makes bold use of this as the outer material—a flagrant playfulness!

Personally, I really like what they call the Lock Bag (black padded leather: 320,100 yen; gold metal: 573,100 yen), a traditional British attaché case reinvented as a mini-shoulder bag. A true fusion of classic and modern, I’m told it’s the brand’s newest iconic bag.

The Lock Bag would pair quite naturally with casual attire, but because it’s handmade by dedicated craftspeople, the construction is authentic to the last degree. From the elaborate case design to the brass fittings to the satisfying solidity of the clasp when it opens and closes, it perfectly reproduces an authentic attaché case. On the downside, the price verges on the horrifying, and the metal version is so thick and heavy one could barely fit anything inside—but one imagines today’s gentlemen have just the sense of humor required to take this in stride. Or even seek it out.

With the Lock Bag slowing my will to move on, I head to my next spot: the Leica Store on the fifth floor, which is directly managed by Leica. I have to admit I’m a bit of a Leica enthusiast. As an editor, I have a decent collection of cameras, from film to the latest in digital. I use them often in my work.

As my gentlemen brethren know well, Ginza is the district for classic cameras and Leica. There’s a cluster of camera stores. In no other area in the world is it easier to find a rare lens or camera in good condition. This place bustled with foreign tourists before the pandemic.

No doubt this is why Leica opened its very first directly managed store anywhere in the world in Ginza 6-chome, the same district as where GINZA SIX is located. The store carries the company’s full lineup of current products and a full slate of repair services. I’m a regular customer myself.

I do have to wonder—why another Leica Store so close by at GINZA SIX? Whatever the reason, it’s certainly convenient—open seven days a week and for longer hours than the Ginza 6-chome store, which lets me stop by casually after work or on the way to dinner.

Maybe because the store is so open and spacious, I feel freer than I normally do to test out the cameras by taking a bunch of shots. I try a number of the high-end lenses I’ve yearned for, including the Noctilux-M 50mm f/1.2 ASPH (Black) (990,000 yen), a reproduction of one of Leica’s preeminent masterpieces, and the Vario-Elmarit-SL 24-70mm f/2.8 ASPH (352,000 yen), a zoom lens I want to put on my Leica SL2, my current mainstay.

I was lucky enough today, too, to hold in my hand Leica’s first smartphone, the Leitz Phone 1 (187,920 yen. Note that you can try it at the GINZA SIX store, but it’s not for sale). The construction is exquisite—which goes without saying—but the photos have that same splendid Leica look as well. As an editor, I almost start to worry about what will happen when everyone is able to take photos this good. The prospect’s a good push forward to achieve the next step up in skills.

Vintage has been really hot recently in various areas—watches, jeans, cars, cameras. Classic Leica lenses are fetching unbelievably high prices. In most cases, comparing vintage gear to the stuff today, you end up thinking the old stuff is better. Not so with Leica. The old and the new have their respective appeal. Both exist in perfect harmony, even in this digital age. Which is why, as a fan, there’s so much I end up wanting—which can be a problem.。

Feeling a little weary after trying on many clothes and taking many photos, I head to the second belowground floor for a sweet pick-me-up. So many famous restaurants I love! The popular Marlowe of Hayama and the renowned Ginza Senbikiya. What’s more, they sell sweets here available only at GINZA SIX. There’s no letting your guard down. Scanning the sights, my eyes alight on the sign for Ena Kurikobo Ryoheido, a long-established confectionary store based in Ena, Gifu Prefecture.

Just this past fall, I had the opportunity to travel the famous Nakasendo region for work. I stopped by the store by chance. I was taken by the winsome kurikinton chestnut paste, made from the latest crop, and surprised by the rich, complex flavor—totally different from the ones I’d had in Tokyo. This was my first experience with the famed mountain culture of the Kiso-Mino area, as represented so well by this great store. Who knew there was a branch here!

On the recommendation of the cheerful clerk, the renowned Mr. Kato, I buy several varieties of sweets, including the store’s unique specialty, Kurifukukaki (from 300 yen and up each), comprising a dried persimmon with chestnut paste inside. All these flavors draw on the natural sweetness of chestnuts, so I have no doubt that even those who don’t like Japanese sweets will find them simply delicious. I’m not much of a drinker, but they’d certainly be ideal companions for a single malt whisky.

Dunhill was founded in 1893, Leica in 1914, and Ryoheido in 1946. Though completely different types of stores, the three venerable institutions I visited today share a forward-looking spirit quick to take up the challenge of offering new products and services, rather than resting on their laurels. That they have continued to evolve is one of the reasons for their lofty status today.

We’re living through some tough times right now. But I, for one, plan to look ahead and do my best! Having made this new resolution, maybe I’ll go back and buy just one new Leitz lens. You say such an impulsive purchase would disturb my spouse? Nope, no worries. I got her something, too: the sweet chestnuts she loves from Ryoheido.

Text:Eisuke Yamashita Photo:Yuichi Sugita Edit:Yuka Okada(81)

editors_yamashita

山下 英介

1976年埼玉県生まれ。『LEON』や『MEN’S EX』など、2000年代前半から様々なメンズファッション&ライフスタイル誌の編集を手がける。2009年からは『MEN’S Precious』の創刊に携わり、2020年秋までクリエイティブ・ディレクターをつとめる。趣味はカメラと海外旅行。英国からインドにいたるまで、世界各国のクラシックスタイルと、ものづくりの現場を取材している。現在は週刊文春、文藝春秋などでファッションページを手がけるとともに、2021年秋に、新しいオンラインメディアをローンチ予定。
Instagram: @eisuke_yamashita

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2021.08.16 UP