I’ve spent many a happy hour (and plenty of dollars) in the shop behind this discreet doorway at 693 Fifth Avenue. It was always my first point of call on trips to New York. I first visited in 1997 with an American colleague who was a big fan of the shop. I’d been dying to visit because whenever I’d admired something she’d worn and asked where it was from the answer was inevitably “Takashimaya!” I confess that some of my most favourite purchases which continue to give me joy à la Konmari came from this shop.
As its name suggests, Takashimaya is a Japanese chain of department stores whose first store selling kimonos opened in 1831 in Kyoto. The company expanded, merged with other businesses, opened overseas offices, went public and is now part of the Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group. I’ve visited its main store in Tokyo which, while rather spectacular, was a huge disappointment as it was chock full of Western designer goods.
The New York store sadly closed in 2010 as Takashimaya chose to refocus on Asian markets amid struggling sales. I can still remember my shock when I found that it had shut and immediately advised my American friend (now based in Europe) to share the shocking news. To this day we both still visit the site of the former New York store and walk away shaking our heads remembering the fun we had in its basement restaurant and the amount of money we’d spent on its beautifully curated collections.