The medium’s the message at Raf Simons’ recently opened flagship in Tokyo’s Aoyama district, where paint-spattered walls reflect some of the patterned fabrics in the designer’s collections. The space was conceived by the German-born, L.A.-based artist Sterling Ruby, no stranger to splatter—his own work in ceramics, sculpture, and drawing has emphasized a similarly messy sensibility. But it’s a bold gesture for Simons, whose calling card has long been his austerity. Then again, after the cloistral purity of his recent Jil Sander boutique in New York—so minimal that clothing isn’t even displayed on the first floor—it’s hard to blame the guy for cutting loose.

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