Celebrating 40 years in Japan with a Fall/Winter 2019 runway show
Popcorn and pinstripes—on Brooks Brothers suits, and a Japanese baseball jersey. Brooks Brothers celebrated 40 years in Japan by paying homage to American fashion classics and baseball—both beloved by Americans and the Japanese alike.
On the night of May 23, 2019, we staged an elaborate runway presentation and afterparty inside Tokyo’s iconic Meijijingu Gaien national stadium complex on an indoor practice baseball field. It’s no coincidence—Brooks Brothers is the longtime official suit sponsor of Samurai Japan, the country’s national baseball team.
In contrast to the nostalgic arena, we drew a border of futuristic neon lights around the baseball diamond and bleachers. 60 runway models walked the bases to a retro soundtrack featuring pop rock and new-wave hits from 1979, the year we debuted our first store in Japan inside a Tokyo bank building turned theater.
Back then, America’s oldest apparel brand was a trailblazer, among the first U.S. clothing brands to open stores in Japan. As the authority of the coveted Ivy League look, which was the precursor to the preppy era, we became an instant success as fans flocked in to buy our iconic signature button-down oxford shirts and navy blazers, which became hallmarks of Japan’s stylish set. Today Brooks Brothers remains the Original American Brand in Japan, with 83 locations—25 of which are in Tokyo. Throughout the rest of 2019, Brooks Brothers in Japan will roll out more anniversary celebrations across our shops.
Hosting the May event, which was attended by more than 500 members of the press and special guests, were Brooks Brothers chairman and CEO Claudio Del Vecchio and Morikazu Obuse, CEO of Brooks Brothers Japan, joined by Zac Posen, Creative Director of Brooks Brothers’ women’s collection. After the show, guests were invited onto the field, where waiters in baseball uniforms served trays of hot dogs, New York style pretzels and other familiar ballpark-themed refreshments.
Baseball and innovation also served as sources of inspiration to style the runway looks, featuring the fall 2019 collections for men and women with casual togs and black-tie style layered together in inventive ways. Jim Moore, GQ magazine’s Creative Director at Large, styled the show and dressed all the male models in Brooks Brothers signature footwear—either white leather sneakers or glossy black calfskin loafers from the Golden Fleece collection—and nearly all without socks.
Starring on almost every guy on the runway: classic oxford shirts buttoned to the neck. The show featured unlikely and unexpected pairings, such as a black tennis shirt with tuxedo pants and layered combinations of tweed and corduroy. Many of the looks featured either knitwear or outerwear. “Putting a hoodie with a tweed jacket takes the jacket to a new place but keeps it sophisticated,” said Moore, emphasizing “tricks that turned up the cool to make it chic yet still grounded, in keeping with the way men dress.”
Likewise, the women’s looks in the show playfully mixed casual and formal elements in ways that define easy American style, such as in the finale—a shimmering sequined dress worn with a classic navy trench coat. Moore collaborated with Posen to choose exactly the right looks.
Moore said, “Go to Brooks Brothers on a treasure hunt to rediscover the classics. Brooks Brothers is a real gold mine—a lot of cool stuff that is beautiful, including slim fits that really are slim—like the oxford cloth shirt in a fit that can stand up to any high fashion out there.”