Alex Vergara and I flew via Northwest business class and checked in at the Park Hyatt Shinjuku, famous for being the backdrop of Sophia Coppola's "Lost in Translation."
We arrived on a Monday night, straight to a cocktail reception at the hotel's New York Bar.
Cocktails were short and sweet. I couldn't wait to lie down.
Back in my room I found a Gap denim tote with a welcome/press kit..
Inside, a Gap scarf for the cool Tokyo weather, a Tokyo city guide and map, discount coupons to the Gap, and my favorite item, a bottle of “Close,” simply because you have to get close to the person to smell it.
I rarely wear or buy fragrances, but I love this.
Tuesday morning, there’s brunch with Gap’s head designer since 2007, Patrick Robinson.
In real life he’s cool and down to earth, some people say a “more charming version of Lenny Kravitz.”
Today, Patrick’s wearing all-Gap, if you don’t count the shoes.
“I only wear Gap,” he begins. “Ever since the day I started working for Gap I’ve only worn Gap from head to toe — my socks, my undies, everything. I actually just redid the men’s underwear ‘cause I wear all the products all the time. Except for shoes, because we don’t do men’s shoes. Today I have on Paul Smith camping boots, because I love camping boots. I’m fanatic about them, I’m actually gonna buy two more. They’re amazing.”
After brunch, Alex and I took a cab to the Gap flagship store at Harajuku, on the corner of Meiji-dori and Omotesando. This is not your ordinary Gap store, this is three floors, plus basement.
This is not your typical sales person either. Yeh is actually from Taiwan, but speaks fluent Nihongo.
Here's a must-have from Gap, a classic, affordable trench coat.
That night we took a shuttle bus to Omotesando Hills, a shopping and apartment complex designed by Tadao Ando.
Waiting to enter
There’s no runway show, thank God.
As my journalist friend put it, "Give me a look book or run thru anytime...I hate shows...it's a waste of time."
Instead, groups of models stood in casual poses dressed in head-to-toe Gap as a stylist puts finishing touches on her work.
She's amazing! Never have I seen Gap look like this, with layers of checks, stripes, florals, denims, whites and khakis, rendered in caps, hats, scarves, vests, overalls, roomy totes and long summer dresses that don’t clash but come together in a fresh country look that is still very Gap.
Patrick says the idea of wearing different patterns and checks is who he is.
“If you look at what we show tonight, which is the global collection I worked on, you’ll see it very slanted towards the Japanese market. We make it way more fashionable here than anywhere else in the world, because the Japanese you see on the street is way more fashionable. I get inspired every time I come here. There’s a whole new different sophistication you see in Tokyo. It’s the same Gap all over the world but a different way it’s presented.”
Read my Gap report On The Radar.
In the Philippines, Gap is exclusively distributed by Casual Clothing Specialists Inc.(CCSI), member of the Rustan’s Group of Companies, and is available at SM Mall of Asia, Shangri-La Plaza, TriNoma, Glorietta 4, Bonifacio High Street, Alabang Town Center, Robinsons Place Manila, the Atrium at SM Megamall.