Okay, I love the Shibuya kawaii aesthetic as much as the next Giant Robot subscriber, but I was shocked, shocked to find a line of eager shoppers a block long yesterday on Spring Street in Soho for the opening of the NYC branch of Tokidoki.
Oddly enough, I was on my way home after spending the afternoon working freelance at a Japanese agency where I sometimes find myself writing English language copy based on copy that's been translated from Japanese but that doesn't quite rise to colloquial English yet.
It was an amazing day. After all, it hit 70°F only 4 days after it had been a horrific 15° with a wind-chill that made me seriously consider snow bird status. So the streets were filled with New Yorkers throwing off the cabin fever of the winter, checking out the street art on West Broadway, and the shoes on sale at 90% off at a shop that, like so many, was going out of business.
I had never heard of Tokidoki. But the crowd felt insinctively familiar. And the line, well, what New Yorker can resist a line. So I went over to check it out. In the window were Hello Kitty handbags. Soccer balls with Tokidoki designs. And inside was the founder and head designer of Tokidoki herself, the very Italian Simone Legno. Hence the crowds of admirers hungry for expensive totems of faux-asian coolness.
I have to admit though, I loved the stuff. Just like I love all the tchatckes you can find on Takeshita Doori. Of course, the stuff on Takeshita Doori doesn't command the prices Tokidoki does. Still, I had $150 to throw away, I'd love one of the soccer balls. However, given today's economic news, it's just not an investment I am willing to make. I'm just in shock there are still so many who can and will buy one.