Being the cultural capital of the land of the rising sun, Kyoto pretty much epitomizes japanese culture, and its inner city grid of scenic streets and alleyways is dotted with historic buildings large and small. It’s on Yanaginobanba Dori, one of the area’s many narrow thoroughfares, where Issey Miyake has secured a magnificently preserved traditional machiya to establish its newest boutique in the city. Opening today, the interior of the storied premises has been created by designer and longtime collaborator Naoto Fukusawa, and is inspired by the classic japanese sumi or ink colour. The retail setting is simple and understated, balancing the structure’s original elements with subtle modern interventions that allow the colourful merchandise to pop across two floors.
Interestingly, the store also comes with a traditional kura, or storehouse, situated in a zen-like enclosed backyard. It’s put to use as a gallery space where the Issey Miyake brand intends to stage a rotation of shows that touch upon its iconic east-west philosophy. The inaugural exhibition of the space is dedicated to the third collection of Ikko Tanaka Issey Miyake, one of its many apparel lines that specifically features the bold designs of acclaimed graphic designer Ikko Tanaka [1930-2002]. As for the new Issey Miyake boutique, it stocks the men’s lines Homme Plissé Issey Miyake and Issey Miyake Men, in addition to its Bao Bao Issey Miyake line of tote bags.