The Armani store in Tokyo’s Ginza district is what I would call an Armani megastore, with every sub-brand represented somewhere in the building, including Ristorante, Spa, Emporio and Privé.
According to the WSJ, this push to bring all the brands into a common retail platform was some part of a disagreement between Giorgio Armani and one of his most senior and trusted managers, John Hooks, who left his role as Deputy Chairman in 2011 after more than a decade at Armani.
So does the megastore concept work? Well, honestly: it does — and it doesn’t.
With it’s eager and friendly Japanese staff, it certainly deserves it’s place as a flagship store for Armani. It is a spectacular store, with many nice details like the “VIP” fitting rooms, which are a cut well above what I have seen in other boutique locations:
And the sub-brands are separated by floor, so if you never want to see an EA7 or AX outfit, you can avoid them. But somehow as a total concept I miss the exclusivity that one gets in shops like the Knightsbridge Giorgio Armani, which is wall-to-wall black label. And the restaurant/cocktail bar on the top floors were nice, but seemed to me to be out of place. I get that Giorgio Armani clothing can help me feel like a well-dressed person; fine, thanks, they are awesome, and I may have picked up some nice pants in a location-branded shopping bag:-
But the entire lifestyle that those clothes are intended to fit – shifted slightly off-key to allow the EA and AJ crowd to enjoy a cocktail or what was described to me by the head host as “fine dining” — shrink-wrapped in a minor city block?
No. That seems wrong. This Giorgio Armani customer doesn’t want to shop in a megastore. It seems out of balance — inelegant, in fact, which is counter to what the brand I am buying represents. And I think that leaves me feeling a little disappointed by this experience.