On the border of Shibuya and Harajuku, on the 7th floor above various small streetwear boutiques, you will find Grimoire. It’s the pioneering store behind the Dolly-kei fashion scene. Managed by former fashion student and Cutie model Hitomi Nomura and owner Naoaki Tobe, Grimoire is a magical hideout away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo street life.

Grimoire Shibuya

Dolly-kei, as you may have guessed, takes inspiration from antique (and slightly spooky) dolls and movies such as Narnia, Alice in Wonderland and Harry Potter. The used, vintage and antique clothing and the store’s own accessories line, which include crucifixes, bags and shoes, also come from the duo’s interest in picture books, European folk stories and fantasy.

The used clothes, which are sourced from the US, Austria, Germany and the Czech Republic, are a playful mixture of bohemian, gypsy, eastern European costumes and fairy tales. Nomura, who is also considered a “charisma staff” for customers, says that when she embarks on her buying adventures she wants “girls to wear these clothes so they can change and transform into something else.”

Grimoire Shop in Tokyo

Dolly at Grimoire

Grimoire Shibuya

The name Grimoire comes from an ancient magic book and as she explains, “When you open the pages of the book, the different pages show various magic tricks. We hope people can have a different scene or experience (every time they come to our store), and we hope we can make more dreams.”

Although the store is the epicenter for Dolly-kei, don’t be surprised if you see some Lolitas hanging around as they sometimes come into the store, too. Although distinct from Lolita, Dolly-kei looks, at first, like it has some distant connection with Mori girls (girls who look like they live in forests), but is more eastern European to Mori girl’s Scandinavian aesthetic. Nomura says that Grimoire girls have a “stronger image, more unusual with a special appeal”. The shop opened in June 2008 and has since has grown steadily from a secret grotto for specialist fans to a more popular meeting place for like-minded people. It’s not only for girls, either – as the store also sells bags and accessories for men.

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya Shoes

A Mixi community for Mori-girls, a few years ago, had a checklist of 60 points which Mori girls should follow. However, when asked about things Grimoire girls like, in addition to dolls, wizards and eastern Europe, the answers were quite simple, “We like magazines like Zipper, Fruits and Kera and websites like Dropsnap, and for music we always play (in store) French, Celtic and country music and also movie soundtracks.”

This June will mark Grimoire’s 2nd anniversary, and the team plan to have a special party event. They already organize party nights at which “customers come dressed up wearing our store’s clothes so lots of magazines come and take photographs.” So if you want to party with Dolly girls (and boys), keep tabs on the store’s very quirky website and blog.

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

Grimoire Shibuya

You can click any of the above pictures to see them in high resolution – and we recommend that you do.

Grimoire Shibuya Information:

  • Address: Jinnan 1-10-7, テルス Jinnan 7F, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo 150-0041
  • Directions: From Shibuya Station, walk down Fire Dori past Tower Records. Continue to the next block past Tower Shibuya, on the same side of the street and Grimoire will be on the right side. The shop is on the 7th floor, so look for the sign leading to the elevator.
  • Map: Grimoire Shibuya Map
  • Tel/Fax: 03-3780-6203
  • Hours: 13.00-20.00 / Weekend & Holiday: 12.00-20.00
  • Website: Official Site (Japanese)
  • Twitter: grimiy

Article text by Paul McInnes and all photos by Will Robb.

About the author:
Paul McInnes is a fashion and arts journalist based in Tokyo. He is the fashion editor (menswear) and contributing arts editor of The Japan Times. He is also the Tokyo editor of Sportswear International and contributes to publications such as High Fashion, Dazed Digital, JC Report and Japanese Streets. He has also been interviewed for TV including NHK’s Tokyo Fashion Express and lifestyle magazines such as Metropolis and Kaleidoscope magazine.

About the photographer:
As long as he is behind his camera Will is a happy man. He has photographed everything from the slums of Bangkok to the catwalks of Tokyo. He is a contract photographer for Lonely Planet, his images and photo essays have appeared in Time Out, The Japan Times, Sportswear International and a variety of other newspapers, magazines and guidebooks around the world and his photo essays from Iraq for The Griffith Review even earned him a mention in the Australian book review of the year in 2006. In addition to his media related work, Will also shoots events, portraits, weddings and the occasional CD cover. Whatever he’s working on, he always writes about his jobs and how he goes about them at Will Robb Photography.

44 Comments

  1. oh my god, this is too cool! i NEED to go to this store!

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  4. Honestly, I think that the dresses and shoes and the accessories are all good and nice… but the layout of the shop, is OVERCROWDED!!

    The atmosphere or ambiance should enhance and make the clothes “come out alive” rather than “hide” them in their own setup!

    I have seen such shops/stores small however, but the products and pieces they were selling were all laid out and one could “see” them more… and not feel that he/she has to search for something they might miss.

    Example of that shop :

    ~> http://salimzaidi.deviantart.com/art/Chair-Me-Please-36728030
    ~> http://salimzaidi.deviantart.com/art/Shoes-on-a-line-36727857

    :)

  5. are those girls real? They look like manikins.

  6. Yes, they are real! And very beautiful too :)
    I really love this style. Although It may look like some kind of “recycled” style, without any kind of innovation, it isn’t. I think is a really fresh new style, more open and original than many others that, maybe, can have a lot of structures and specific shapes, but don’t allow you to create your own style.
    This shop is my paradise.

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  8. Transient Oz

    I like my grimoire to be a fashionable paradise of magickal ensembles. I take the occult roots of this work to new heights of respectability by wearing the best clothes available to a true socialite of satyr like splendor. O my gooshiness, it is so beautiful.

  9. Pingback: Japanese Girl in Vintage / Dolly-kei Style in Harajuku

  10. fascinating! thanks for such a detailed article!

  11. <3 Love.

    I can't wait to go hunt for goods myself this summer in Czech and Germany! :D

  12. I’d like to know the price range! for this shop please…

  13. I went there, items look like antiques but they are not antiques. I hate this style.

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  18. Fashion Addict

    Hi ! This winter I will go to Tokyo to visit but also for shopping t I would like to know how much money should i take for stores like Shibuya 109, Grimoire etc…

    Thanks for answering.

  19. I would love to go there and spent a loooong time and hunt for treasures.
    Such a funky shops too i love the style and everything ^^

  20. amazing amazing very lovely ..I love the quality of these clothes it’s always unique, reminiscent of Ages old and has a special quality,,I encourage the existence of these clothes, and I hope to be found all over the world…………….

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  23. Amazing…now I know what my style would be called in Japan…Dolly-Kei! I am so in love with this article and this invaluable discovery. I wish some of those women would come to San Francisco and hang out at my store!!x0x0x Sweet Rocket 99 Vintage

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  28. sygklitiki

    Amazing clothes! I had a look at grimoire online shopping but unfortunately the site is in Japanese… Any idea how i’ ll find it in english?

  29. Is there anywhere I can find this kind of amazing stuff to be shipped to Mexico? Aww I love this so much.

  30. I would love to visit the store. It’s exactly what I want style wise. Charming and magical. :) Although girls in America are very boring in style, it’s sad where I live.

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