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Best Place to Buy Luggage 

Hideo Wakamatsu

Who says utilitarian luggage and aesthetically pleasing design are mutually exclusive? Certainly not designer Hideo Wakamatsu, whose San Francisco boutique is a popular mainstay for locals and tourists alike. That's because his experimental flair, influenced by Japanese and French couture, means that his signature handbags, suitcases, and attachés aren't simply generic models rolling off the production line or baggage-claim conveyor belt; they're pieces influenced by origami and Zen theory. Wakamatsu's highly conceptual pieces range from the quirky and romantic to the unique and high-tech (like the Skeleton line of suitcases and attachés, made to look like glass houses). His suitcases' silent wheels and hard cases also protect your loot from "everything from bellhops to bedbugs." Although the boutique is teeny, the track lighting that festoons the narrow shop highlights shelves full of goods, from wallets to computer bags in materials like hemp and stain-resistant nylon. And of course, the collection of hard-shelled luggage — which comes in kooky colors and prints like sky, cowhide, zebra, and Asian blossoms — always scores points among those with lots to tote when they travel.

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(Sorry, no information is currently available for other years in this same award category.)

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