The Genteel
December 13, 2017
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Best Kept Secrets

Photograph by Haydee Kobe
Photograph by Haydee Kobe.

Nakameguro is one of the few remaining areas in Tokyo that has yet to fall victim to over-development. The neighbourhood is quiet and mainly residential. In the spring, it offers a glorious display of blooming sakura trees that line the Meguro River. The residents are a mix of the young and elderly, eccentrics and the unconventional. Along the canal and within the winding streets that lie beyond it are nestled an array of independent boutiques, vintage shops, quaint bars and cosy restaurants. It was on one of these sinuous paths that I discovered the shop, Piña Colada, and met its charming owner, Takashi Fuchito.

Takashi has maximised his small shop quite efficiently into a multi-functional space: store, cocktail bar & lounge and nail station. During the day, Piña Colada operates as a shop, selling vintage men's and women's clothing and accessories. By appointment, the store also offers manicure and pedicure services from Shyoko. The merchandise spans different eras and places, influenced by shopping trips to New York City and Paris. Currently, the select items are the vintage slips, silk dresses, velvet skirts and custom-made hair accessories designed by Layla. In addition to clothing and accessories, Piña Colada sells bicycles from the 1970s, vintage American and European fabrics from the 1930s to the 1950s and buttons that have been collected from damaged vintage and used clothing. Takashi also works with stylists to provide costumes for commercials, films and magazine editorials.

Takashi Fucito (Photograph 
by Haydee Kobe).

Takashi arrived in Tokyo from Hokkaido forty years ago as an 18-year-old eager to flee his hometown for the opportunities offered by the big city. He briefly attended Japan's prestigious fashion school, Bunka Fashion College, where he studied the basics of garment construction for six months. He quit school in order to help launch Hollywood Ranch, the only Tokyo retail institution in 1972 to sell non-European fashion, used clothing and "hippie" pieces. After working at Hollywood Ranch for five years, Takashi left for New York City to study English; he worked odd jobs, in restaurants, at photography studios and even as a bike messenger. Following his New York experience, he returned to Tokyo and opened his own shop, selling used and vintage merchandise, and he named it Piña Colada. The first location opened in 1984 in the district of Daikanyama. A year later, a second store opened in the promising neighborhood of Nakameguro. During that time, however, the space was utilised as a warehouse and office. Over time, he closed the Daikanyama shop because the neighbourhood, like many others in Tokyo, became very trendy and, consequently, expensive. As higher-end boutiques moved in, Takashi moved out, and today, the Nakameguro shop is the only one still open.

By 2010, a bar was installed in the Nakameguro store in order to increase business. The bar and stools were built into the shop as permanent fixtures. By evening, the clothing racks are cleared away and seats and tables are added, transforming the space into a bar and lounge that has become quite popular with local residents and the lucky few who stumble upon it. The bar offers various cocktails including, of course, piña coladas, all priced from 600 to 1,200 yen (CAD$8-16). If the night is going well, Takashi may invite you to a round of dice, chess, or his favourite, Jenga.

The end result between shop and bar is a perfect balance of kitsch and classic touches that make the place a cool and intimate neighborhood lounge. The clientele is highly diverse, though the majority work in creative fields: on any given night you are likely to bump elbows with photographers, make-up artists, actors and designers. 


Piña Colada

Hours: Monday-Saturday (Shop) 14:00-20:00 / (Bar) 20:00-3:00

Both closed on Sundays

Train Station: Nakameguro

1-5-10 Kamimeguro, Meguro-Ku, Tokyo

Tel 03-3791-9575

http://www.pinatokyo.com/

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