Rock and Roll Fantasy
It's all mirror and shag at Tokyo's Hysteric Glamour shop by Wonderwall
Aric Chen -- Interior Design, 4/1/2007 12:00:00 AM
White shag reflected in a mirrored ceiling. A crystal-clear glass dressing room coyly draped with velvet curtains. You'd never expect the boutique of a street-wear label to be this glammed up. Except maybe if the label is called Hysteric Glamour, which brought in Wonderwall to outfit a Tokyo store with the wry sensibility that principal Masamichi Katayama is known for. "It shows the luxurious side of a fundamentally casual brand—with a touch of irony," he explains. Irony that could make you laugh out loud.
A darling of Japan's hoodie and limited-edition sneaker set, Katayama is a whiz at channeling the hipster ethos. What's his usual MO? Minimalism with a twist. Picture T-shirts whisking by on a mechanized dry cleaner's rack, an element he came up with for the Japanese retailer Beams, or a photomural of Mount Fuji multiplied into infinity by strategically placed mirrors, his installation at Tokyo's Inhabitant store.
At the two Hysteric Glamour locations he's completed in the past year, Katayama is catering to fans—from Lost in Translation writer-director Sofia Coppola to New York band Sonic Youth—who are rabid for the label's grunge and rocker looks. Camouflage jackets, Kurt Cobain T-shirts, and cheetah-print canvas sneakers top the list of spring 2007 must-haves. While his flagship in the Aoyama district channels a "rock star's home," he explains, the highly visible store in the Roppongi Hills complex was inspired by the image of a "rock star at a party, wearing a flashy white suit."
But broken beer bottles and overflowing ashtrays aren't part of the plan. A facade of pristine, undulating glass draws customers into a 4,500-square-foot space awash in custom details. Reveals and recesses are rendered with millimeter precision.
Starting right inside the entry, a path of white shag carpet slices through dark walnut flooring. Straight ahead, the path terminates theatrically at a glass dressing room, a floor-to-ceiling cylinder. Another carpeted path roughly bisects the first at a right angle; the resulting quadrants are further set off by full-height partitions of transparent glass, simultaneously vehicles for display.
The carpeted paths and glass dividers maintain a visual openness to encourage milling about while simultaneously creating a "store-within-store" setup that allows the motley product ranges to stake out their own territory, Katayama says. "Customers should enjoy each 'room,' easily sailing from one to another." There are designated areas for accessories, sub-brands with names such as Thee Hysteric XXX, even a children's line. Then add an alcove for books, with white urethane-coated shelves curving against brick perimeter walls, and a long, low white platform for a T-shirt collection inspired by Andy Warhol.
The real action, however, is overhead. The ceiling is paved in square mirrored panels outlined by bolts Katayama likens to "studs on a rock star's leather jacket." Mirrored structural columns, aglow with white fluorescent-lit cutouts, amp up the reflectivity, as do display racks and trim in mirrored stainless steel.
Katayama summarizes the overall effect as "deluxe but not luxurious in a conventional way." His brand of wittily ironic luxury is punctuated by whimsy. An antique chandelier with drops of black glass dangles by the entry. By the cash-wrap desk, a second chandelier hangs inside a tall vitrine, emitting a feeling he calls "contemporary and airy, versus stately and historical."
Also far from stately are two gold vinyl-upholstered ottomans in a suspiciously phallic shape that's actually based on a Hysteric Glamour graphic, enlarged. "It's a bit sexual, but the size gives it a sense of humor," Katayama notes. And the effect is slightly tempered by the chaste lines of Eero Saarinen's Tulip side table.