Another day, another store closing. This time it's the legendary Fifth Avenue department store Takashimaya. Their New York location will close June 2010.
A pioneer of international fashion, the Takashimaya department store opened in 1958 selling kimonos. Since then, Takashimaya's expanded to include contemporary Japanese fashion, accessories, and housewares. Most famous for their flower shop, Takashimaya became the New York hub of Japanese culture and design.
Though they have multiple stores in Japan, the Fifth Avenue store is their only US location. Its closing is not only a sign of the slowdown in consumerism in the US, but maybe also a sign of the lack of diversity in shopping. Many shoppers are sticking to bigger, well known, 'safe' brands, as opposed to spending a lot of money at a lesser known store. Buying security perhaps? After all, you know you can't go wrong with Chanel.
Takashimaya's struggles began long before the US recession. Japan's rabid consumer spending slowed years earlier, and that country is where most of Takashimaya's money is made. The fact that they were losing money on the US store when the storefronts in Japan were doing well wasn't as big of an issue. It was only a matter of time before New York's Takashimaya would close.
If you've never been to the store, we'd recommend hurrying up to Fifth and Fifty-fourth before it's too late. As a proud kimono owner, I can tell you there's no garment more beautiful, comfortable, and intricate.
Japonisme, while maybe not as popular now as it once was, is a style worth investing in.