Tuesday, 17 February 2009

Katie Grand's LOVE In at Dover Street Market

Katie Grand launched her new mag LOVE with a temporary bedroom corner space at London's Dover Street Market on Valentine's Day and just in time for London Fashion Week.

The collaborative fest of hip designers and their latest products made especially for Valentine's Day to celebrate Grand's new LOVE Magazine (apparently it was nearly called Sex, according to her Ponystep interview today), is cosy affair down in the basement with the walls covered in a scrapbook collage of pages from the new glossy c/o friend and fellow collaborator Katie Hillier.

For the Love In, Grand chose a few of her favourite designers: Stella McCartney created limited edition underwear for each day of the week, customised handbags and belts by Chloe, delicate Prada underwear, sharp graphic heart tees by Luella, Burberry house check silk underwear sets featuring LOVE on the behind, smooth Loewe nappa leather cushions featuring ‘I Loewe you’ embossed in gold, happy shiny hair accessories by Katie Hillier, House of Holland Tees featuring Henry Holland’s take on Beth Ditto especially for Valentine’s Day, Giles for Swarovski duvet and pillow case sets, boxed sets of China mugs featuring exclusive graphics by Pam Hogg, 100% silk Gazard dresses by Victoria Beckham, Gap Tees featuring the cover of LOVE’s first issue, and irresistible silk satin embellished shirts and dresses by Dolce & Gabanna.

After DSM sold out of its 30 preview copies over the weekend, LOVE hits stands tomorrow. In the meantime here's the scrapbook version.

Popping up for fashion week NY-LON

It's fashion week season again so that means some great pop-up retail action in New York and London.

Target launched its about-to-drop Alexander McQueen McQ for Go International collection over the weekend with a frenzied McQ Market preview. Fashionistas in the Hudson Square temporary space grabbed what they could before the rest of the US could get their hands on it. If only Target could come to London...

And in another big retail partnership on 23 February Uniqlo will open a dedicated menswear shop at London's Selfridges on Oxford Street. The new area is housed within the contemporary menswear collections and will showcase an edited range of Uniqlo's top end menswear offer including the new tailoring range alongside the Japanese retailer's cashmere sweaters and colourful hoodies. A brand new Japanese Denim range will also launch in the space - collaboration with Japanese denim manufacturer Kaihara.

London based footwear desginer Tracey Neulsis celebrating 10 years of quirky shoes with a pop-up shop and exhibition called Tracey Neuls Past Present Future in Exhibition Road right next to the tents for fashion week. Open for three weeks only we are promised shoes from past present and future set in Neuls' signature design rich surroundings of shoes displayed on vertiginous towers made from hundreds of reclaimed vintage drawer units.

Mother of Pearl at Start is more of a "guerilla" store than a pop-up according to boutique owner Brix Smith who says the sports-luxe collection is taking over the Shoreditch shop (well mostly) for three weeks. Conceived by Maia Hirst, Mother of Pearl features modern dresses in luxury and technical fabrics that easily transcend from day to eveningwear. Hirst has even installed a motorcross bike to emphasize the sportswear inspired, luxe lifestyle pieces.

Nike 1948 is going from being a pop-up (launched last August in time for the Olympics) in Shoreditch to a permanent space to showcase the sportswear giant's sportswear and fashion collections. Opening (again) on 18 February.

And like other magazine-inspired pop ups that I posted about last Dec, let's not forget Katie Grand's Love in at Dover Street Market - a collaborative fest of hip designers and their latest products for Valentine's Day to celebrate Grand's new LOVE Magazine - in-store for fashion week / as long as stock lasts / whenever Katie wants her bed back - whichever is sooner.

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Liberty's spring 09 relaunch: a retail renaissance

I had a good nose around London's favourite and oldest department store yesterday after Liberty unveiled its new look on Valentine's Day.

The revamp features an innovative and more curated layout with a series of themed rooms to showcase different collections, as part of the luxury department store’s “Retail Renaissance” strategy.

The changes to the store structure will be in sympathy with the period quality of the building. The famous wood panelling taken from two former Royal Navy ships remains, of course, but the designers are ensuring that plentiful light is drawn from the glass above the central atrium and uncluttered store design. The store colour palette will be a cool bone and all the fixtures shades of metallic anthracite. The emphasis of the new Liberty will be on the best edited and focused fashion, accessories and homewares collections from around the world.

At the forefront of the changes in-store is creative consultant Yasmin Sewel. The ex-Browns buyer has spearheaded the store’s transformation, focusing on women’s and men’s fashion and accessories, and a layout re-think.

Kicking off she has dedicated a large part of the ground floor accessories area to a new Bazaar gifting department. “We’re introducing a fast-paced Bazaar on the ground floor,” explains Sewell. “It’s a reminder of the store’s origins, when buyers would scour the world to bring back unusual, rare and precious items. Customers will find a wide and eclectic range of items, many of which will be limited edition and always changing.” This room takes its visual inspiration from a traditional bazaar; tables with intricate wooden mosaic inlay display the must-have items for that week. These range from Baptiste Viry grosgrain ribbon buckle cuffs to Nymphenburg porcelain heart shaped key rings, Carlos Falchi patchwork hobo bags, Muhlbauer nautical flat caps and 20s inspired turbans to quilted Indian picnic blankets and guides to every city in the world.

Just next door the jewellery room has changed to become a dedicated scarf showcase - with the most extensive offer in London where established brands like Fendi, Givenchy, Pucci, Liberty of London and Dries Van Noten will sit alongside exclusive lines from Josh Goot, David Szeto and Wolf & Descourtis. We love the head turning array of turban styled mannequin displays and zebra prints on the walls.

On the next two floors covering contemporary and international women's designer collections you can see Sewell's hand having the most effect.

On the first floor in the International Room, Sewell’s focus has been on brand mix. Sophisticated collections from established brands hang next to a younger generation of designers. Christopher Kane sits next to Balmain, Jil Sander and Calvin Klein sit with Josh Goot and Ohne Titel and Antonio Berardi with Alexander McQueen. Sewell says it's this clarity of offer that women are looking for when they shop as well as an element of discovery. "They want to mix ‘killer pieces’ by established and burgeoning designers." Edited collections from all the designers in this room are arranged so that standout, show-stopping pieces are merchandised with a comprehensive selection of items to wear them with. The seated army of mannequins display Sewell's must have seasonal pieces - basking in the central atrium light from above.

Moving through to the central atrium is the Avant Garde room. A black matte floor provides the perfect backdrop to Liberty anchor brands such as Rick Owens, Martin Margiela, Acne and Dries Van Noten who will have their own distinct corners - more immersion into designer spaces like this please!

The Essentials and Contemporary rooms on the second floor have anthracite rails running through them and octagonal mirrored fitting rooms forming
free-standing pods that flood light into the space. Tableaus of mannequins form clusters throughout these rooms breaking down how to wear seasonal trends.

In Essentials Acne provides a chino bar, denim comes from brands such as Current/Elliott and there's a comprehensive mix of t-shirts, cashmere jumpers and trench coats from brands such as Splendid, American Vintage, Aquascutum and APC.

Contemporary sees archetypal Liberty brands such Vivienne Westwood, Vanessa Bruno, Future Classics and Luella sit alongside new editions such as Australian Tina Kalivas and the Cacharel 50th anniversary collection consisting of archive pieces reworked in their original Liberty prints.

And don't miss a comprehensive footwear floor with one of the best designer offerings around - Marni, Alaia, Chloe and Rupert Sanderson next to Miu Miu, Givenchy and Prada.

Liberty's VIP concierge service has also shifted up a gear with a revamp of the private shopping area now called the Style Service suite - members can book in to shop the entire department store's offer in privacy and with expert style advice from the Liberty team of experts.

Check out my Picasa album photo file for a visual walk through here:
Liberty spring 09 relaunch

Wednesday, 4 February 2009

SLVR for spring

I've just seen the new adidas SLVR line launching in stores this month - and it's got me thinking about a whole new fitness wardrobe for spring.

Following the German sports brands other successful sub-brand launches such as Y3 and the Stella McCartney collaboration, SLVR sits just underneath in terms of price point and serves a more mass market fashion-led sports lifestyle customer. Think Uniqlo meets Gap with a sports mindset.

The range includes non-branded (very important that, not a trefoil in sight) menswear, womenswear and accessories, and the look is fluid, easy and very everyday wearable. Great colours too.

Chris Barbour, head of global digital marketing for adidas sport style division described it: "Kicking off the first season with the mantra ‘Simply Perfect’, the range shows a timeless and considered design; one that conveys a minimalist character, yet is fresh and progressive."

The first retail store is set to open in New York during Fashion Week, with stores in Paris, Los Angeles and Miami to follow. It's ecommerce only for the UK at www.adidas.com/slvr. Meanwhile I thought I'd share not one but two youthful and energetic pieces of communication: look book and viral film - view here on vimeo.

Shot by renowned photographer Mark Segal and art directed by Pietsch Lim, the SLVR promo film brings the new concept to life through strong black and white visuals and a sound track by Say Hi to Your Mom.