Tuesday, 26 August 2008

Colette's facelift

StyleDesignArtFood is still the mantra at iconic Parisian superstore Colette but the uber cool designer emporium has had a facelift by equally uber cool architects WonderWall. (Love the dancing robots to guide you around the new website too.)

Colette re-opened after a two month period of refurbishment yesterday (Monday 25 August) with an impressive, glossy and ultra modern new look to 213 rue Saint Honore, Paris 75001 not to mention a bigger focus on streetwear according to co-owner Sarah Lerfel who says it's "so dynamic today - which is why we wanted to make the ground floor into a bigger street style statement". Masamichi Katayama of WonderWall was chosen to re-style all three floors at the store, further to his work with hip Japanese brands such as Bathing Ape and Billionaire Boys Club as well as Uniqlo.

WonderWall Masamichi Katayama is a compilation of Katayama’s works; published collaboratively in 2003 by Frame Magazine and Birkhauser and a veritable tome of retail porn interiors (if you like that kind of thing). And the second volume will be published in October 2008!

So on the new sweeping ground floor, Colette hipsters will still find a selection of books, magazines, CDs, records, DVDs, hi-tech products, watches and accessories (increasingly more jewellery collections too) and all these little fun objects tourists and visitors alike just love. Arguably the biggest makeover space is
dedicated to streetwear culture with a wall of sneakers, a house of T-shirts multi-brands and mini-shops for Alife, A Bathing Ape, Billionaire Boys Club / Ice Cream, Original Fake (all exclusive). On the first floor, there is the usual mix of men's and women's designer fashion, styled and chosen by Lerfel and her team as an exhibition of trends. She describes it as "our unique mix of established brands and newcomers, complete with accessories and precious jewellery". The beauty counter, “candles bar” and own-brand mini collections areas will now be on the first floor. The gallery remains on the mezzanine area and a new space for temporary projects will be created on the lower ground floor (don't worry, the water bar is still there too alongside an impressive looking futuristic new restaurant area). Photos by Khalil for Colette.

Predictably there were queues around the block Guillaume the PR tells me with a stampede on the first day for items such as the bowling bag from Little Marc Jacobs, the trench coat by French artist Andre, Olympia Le Tan's cute denim jacket, souvenirs by Kuntzel + Deygas, a grey jersey bag from Alexis Mabille and beaucoup encore...

Finally don't miss Colette's latest overseas travel plans, with Colette x Gap, a special one-month installation store next to NYC’s flagship Gap at 54th & 5th Avenue, September 6th to October 5th, with many exclusive collaborative items - such as the Liberty print shirts previewed already at GAP stores (if you can find one).

Friday, 22 August 2008

Theory Icon Project: Hair

When I saw this colourful collage on the wall in Theory's Meat Packing flagship store I just loved the in-store installation for its artistic visual appeal as well as the philanthropic and historical value. Theory's Icon Project is the US brand's program designed to encourage the development and exposure of iconic initiatives. And after launching the program at the Gansevort Street flagship & HQ location last year, this summer's project is called 'Hair Museum' to celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Hair: The American Tribal Love-Rock Musical," and comes from the James Rado Hair Museum itself. The store was the first US Theory location to carry a collection of "Age of Aquarius" items designed with James Rado and Gerome Ragni's 60s classic in mind. This is hippy chick memorabilia to inspire and create not to mention wear!

The hippie headbands, scarves and fringe belts that are still also on sale in-store were intended to be a preview for the show's month-long engagement at the Delacorte Theater in Central Park, staged by New York's The Public Theatre, which put on the epic musical's debut performance back in 1967.

What a classic example of art being delivered in a cultured mix of retail - a real token of Theory's dedication to bringing art to the public through its Theory Icon Project.

Wednesday, 20 August 2008

Fashion Cycle: and the tandem makes three

Living by a canal as I do right now the ding-a-ling of bicycles whizzing along the towpath has led me to be an unlikely fan and now I have one on my shopping list.

So it's struck me as great timing that there's a relative Tour de France out there of fashionable cycles. Leading the pack is the new collaboration between hip Scandi jeans brand Acne and Bianche recently launched at Copenhagen Fashion Week. And then there was the summer hit from Comptoir des Cotonniers - single bicycle or double tandem for touring a deux. Meanwhile over in NYC another hip Scandi brand Tretorn launched its new SoHo store with a touring bicycle shop stall and then in-store you can buy a fetching yellow and blue Tretorn bicycle as part of the brand's sporting enthusiasm drive.
Is it just me or is a bicycle the latest accessory meets fitness regime meets zero carbon footprint travel option?

Monday, 18 August 2008

Dover Street Market: designer destination du jour

Does it get any better than Dover Street Market's designer offer? The five floor designer label haven from Comme des Garçons continues to push the boundaries of unexpected and timely new shop in shops from the new Ferragamo Creations area to Chanel, John Galliano, Hussein Chalayan and the exclusive Yves Saint Laurent Edition 24 - all over this summer alone. At the moment I'm loving the new window installation by Jamie Reid for a healthy dose of London hedonism.

Fresh in today is the latest collaboration from chic French ballerina pump brand Repetto. With an exhibition to mark its 60th anniversary the shoe choice of everyone from Brigitte Bardot to Kate Moss has asked a range of dance, film, art, music and fashion luminaries (think Catherine Deneuve or Jean Paul Gaultier) for their take on contemporary balletwear. Rei Kawakubo of Comme des Garçons is just one of the 60 creatives involved and has contributed a pink, white, blue and black striped tutu. The London Repetto 60 Ans exhibit follows from previous stints in New York's Earnest Sewn Backroom space as well as in the brand's new flagship store on rue de la Paix in Paris that opened last year and will be the location for the exhibit's auction in aid of Unesco in October.

Monday, 4 August 2008

New York retail safari

So much new retail action since my last trip! But hey everyone loves a new store so check out these must visits for some fresh shopping inspiration: 

Hudson Square is the new Meat Packing, well according to Rick Owens that is. The quirky LA rock god designer has opened a huge new space at 250 Hudson (currently no man's land but that won't last long) where you can find his slick leather goth rock chick pieces and plenty of amusing men's acruments (loved the toadskin wallet & cock ring combo Hintmag) not to mention it just being an awesome space with the unusual Owens touches of sinister fog glass wall and marble sculptures of which there are more to come - maybe another over-sized wax effigy of himself - like the Paris store? Catch him talking about his new venture on ">Style.com ("I love fog.") and expect his Paris show to relocate to NYC this fall. Pic credit: Racked

And just opened on adjacent Greenwich is hip unisex streetwear haven Aloha Rag - the second outpost from Japanese owner Tatsugo Yoda after 17 years running his first store in Hawaii. "I thought it was about time to come to New York with our mix of Japanese, British and US streetwear labels. It's a cultivated group of new, up and coming or relatively underground and collectable labels such as Hysteric Glamour, Foundation Addict, Commuun, Kenji Ikeda, 3.1 Philip Lim, Surface 2 Air, Henrik Vibskov and Passarella Death Squad. We are launching our own label called Garment House Media too.  The idea behind the store was to fashion it as a gallery space with white walls, bright paintings, alcove cupboards and a generally clean, sparse feel, allowing the clothing to stand out. We think the journey from Hawaii via Japan and London is right for NYC right now."

Meanwhile hip menswear boutique Atelier is relocating soon to this stretch of Greenwich and Dries van Noten is rumoured to be circling the area for his first US store. 

Moving up town (but not much) towards Meatpacking, check out the newly extended Maison Martin Margiela store on Greenwich and Jane St - actually they've added a whole new store next door to house womenswear and menswear in separate spaces. We loved the new egg-box wall decorated jewellery gallery and walk in closet style spaces - all clad in purist Margiela white of course.  

A block down Brit menswear designer Oliver Spencer has introduced a capsule womenswear collection to his flagship on Greenwich and West 4th. Meanwhile just around the corner on Gansevoort Street, print specialist designer Trina Turk has just launched a homewares range, so her ethnographic paisley and baroque designs are now across cushions, throws and soft furnishings.

Elsewhere in the Union Square / Flatiron area, we love the new Free People store at 79 Fifth Ave. It's about time parent company Urban Outfitters made the most of its hippy dippy eco-friendly FP brand - the time is now guys! Loving the cute travelleresque just-back-from-India decor complete with patchwork fabric swatches wall hangings and button installation.  And the antique wooden cabinet cash wrap is to die for! This is one store environment you just click instantly with the brand - live the life - be free people! 

And there's a brand new True Religion store just opened opposite ABC Carpet & Home on Broadway. What with Forever 21, Diesel and American Eagle on Union Square and Rugby just around the corner on University Place this is NYU denim dorm heaven. 

Hip Scandi brand Tretorn is a welcome addition to the bottom of Spring and West  Broadway. This is healthy outdoor living with a shot of quirky Euro "I do fun sporting activities such as kayaking and tennis and rock climbing" attitude. The Swedish sports lifestyle clothing and footwear brand is back in demand due to its preppy roots and feels just right for NYC hipsters who need to not take their North Pole or Patagonia dressing so seriously. Loving the yellow and blue colouring, blocks of wood branding, perspex wall boxes full of tennis balls and swing tennis game in the middle of the store. And with a backyard barbie to launch the store last month this is ticking all the right boxes for cool healthy summer living in the city. 

Talking of hip dudes Brit menswear designer Andrew Buckler has opened a new SoHo store at 93 Grand between Mercer and Greene and brings more of his eccentric undertones and melded American rogue meets bad boy Brit designs to the area. We loved his Meatpacking store hidden away down the dimly lit stairway on Hudson (complete with impromptu piano and antler head displays) and with this long overdue new location it's time for Buckler to unleash his particularly appealing brand of hard-edged whimsy to jaded SoHo trendies. 

Meanwhile Madewell has finally hit Manhattan! After a holiday pop-up store that was circulated among the fashion industry, the J Crew owned brand has opened a New York flagship and 7th US store on Broadway and Broome. The 3000 sq ft, two storey store features the brand's covetable walk-in-wardrobe style store decor complete with denim bar and editor's picks weekly looks. CEO Millard "Mickey" Drexler said: "It's about great style, design and attitude - New Yorkers just get it." We get it and it's one of the best retail brand launches to come out of the US recently - a great mix of hipster denim clad collegiate girl meets effortless laid back fashionista. Pick up the Madewell 1937 monthly newsletter in-store to see in-store direct marketing to hipsters.

And lastly I feel I have to mention Kira Plastinina. Because she's 16 and Russian and daddy is a billionaire and her new store(s) in New York (there will be plenty more!) are the dawning of a new global teen shopping era. Believe the hype. The new Russian designer has launched her own brand while still at school and is quickly carving out a fan base who love her plastic fantastic pink lifestyle brand that's a cross between Fiorucci meets Benetton. Read her first interview in New York Magazine for more insight on her fashion career journey from ponies to t-shirts.  The first store to bow in SoHo is on that busy stretch between Houston and Prince and is a girly haven. Teens around the world will want to be fashion designers just like her and just like Paris Hilton before her. Oh actually Paris and Kira are BFFs - they met at Kira's first fashion show recently in Moscow!