Hermès, 17 rue de Sevrès, 75006

A Store Is Born: Hermès

For the first time in its 173-year history, Hermès has ventured across the Seine to open a boutique on the Left Bank. But although the shop is the house’s second-largest (after the Right Bank flagship), it surpasses the "store" concept on several counts.

Originally the Lutetia swimming pool, the site is a 1935 Art Deco landmark—and clearly steps were taken to retain some of that old charm. Guests are greeted by a fragrant in-house florist, while a bookshop invites them in further. Downstairs on the mosaic floors sit the house's celebrated scarves, ties, perfumes, jewelry, fashions, and accessories.

But the center of attention are the towering huts in braided wood that frame the tableware, home textiles, carpets, wallpaper, silver, objets and re-editions of 1930s-era furniture by Jean-Michel Frank and Pippa pieces upholstered in the same leather used for Birkin bags. Scattered throughout are items from the house’s latest line, Petit h, made entirely from leftover cuttings. For instance: a fishnet tote woven from the remains of printed silk squares, a lamp made of delicately painted coffee cups.

Speaking of, a small café serves 17 blends of Le Palais des Thés teas and light lunches—ideal for steeping oneself in the ambiance, and sure to become one of the hottest tables in town.

Nov 23, 2010 00:00:00
Marc Jacobs, Tokyo

A Store Is Born: Marc Jacobs Tokyo

Marc Jacobs is taking a breather from his New York takeover (we’re waiting for the West Village to be converted into a theme park) to make headway in Tokyo, where he’s opening a boutique in the uber-chic Aoyama district. And for his first freestanding building in the city, Jacobs is exercising unusual restraint. Rather than bronze replicas of his ever more pumped physique (with tights and a wig, perhaps?), he’s opted for streamlined austerity. The slick new space, courtesy of renowned architects SJA (Stephan Jaklitsch Architects), is a study in subtlety, with a corrugated, textured façade that glows like a futuristic paper lantern. Inside, meanwhile, eager shoppers will find an extensive selection of men’s and women’s main collection (stocked in a selection of small to smaller sizes), as well as footwear and accessories. Launching December 2, the building will complement the nearby Marc by Marc Jacobs Harajuku store, as well as several accessories stores throughout the city. Greater Tokyo just got a lot greater.

Nov 19, 2010 00:00:00

A Store Is Born: LN-CC

Although the merch has been available online since August, last night saw the brick-and-mortar launch of the London concept store LN-CC. Fittingly, the basement space carries labels of the underground sort, such as Rick Owens, Damir Doma, Japan’s Sasquatch, J.W. Anderson and New Power Studio, which is providing its menswear in women's sizes exclusively for the retailer. But as the name Late Night Chameleon Cafe suggests, this is more than a store—and more than brick and mortar. The space consists of three retail areas, a bookstore and record shop, a working studio, and even a little disco—all linked together by a warren of raw-wood tunnels lined with small branches and eerie orange lights.

Masterminds John Skelton and Dan Mitchell, formerly of Oki-Ni, approached set designer Gary Card to create the unique system of caves, which overflowed at the launch party. “My friend Charlotte Hall, who worked with the guys at Oki-Ni, approached me about doing this very kind of exploratory kind of interesting, weird project with her," said Card at the opening. "It just turned into this amazing thing. It sounds really cheesy, but it’s an experience. We really wanted everybody to hang out and enjoy the space. Just sit in the library, listen to music, enjoy the books and just kind of explore.”

Visit LN-CC

Nov 19, 2010 00:00:00
VPL store, New York

A Store Is Born: VPL

New York is getting its share of visible panty lines with the unveiling of Victoria Barlett’s new VPL flagship at 5 Mercer St., Soho. (For those who don't know, VPL = Visible Panty Lines.) What started out as a few underwear-inspired basics has quickly evolved into a proper fashion label, as perversely modern as it is innovative. Who'd have thought stretchy waistbands could be this chic?

Emphasizing the line’s athletic undertones, the new boutique evokes an old-school gymnasium, the kind of place the Great Gatsby would have gone to get in a little cardio. The playful décor draws from archival sports equipment, including Manila ropes, pommel horses, exercise rings, wooden dumb bells, and even a Czech bench—whatever that is. The space houses the full VPL main line, as well VPL Too, footwear and jewelry collaborations, and even some special treats straight from Victoria’s closet. Considering the emphasis on body-conscious contours, it might not be a bad idea to do a few reps while browsing. Expect your credit card to get a workout, too.

Visit VPL

Nov 04, 2010 00:00:00
Zero + Maria Cornejo, Los Angeles

A Store Is Born: Zero + Maria Cornejo

Don’t let the laid-back attitude fool you. When it comes to her label Zero, Maria Cornejo is a force to be reckoned with. Not content with cornering the conceptual-cool market on the East Coast, Cornejo is setting her sights on the other coast, unveiling her first L.A. outpost (and her first standalone boutique outside of New York) right smack in the middle of Melrose. The airy location echoes the loft-like feel of her other spaces, but with a decidedly sunnier disposition, a balance between rigorousness and nonchalance.

In addition to stocking the main collection, jewelry and accessories, the spot will also carry Cornejo's fledgling men’s line, which is already setting countless boys' hearts aflutter. In town for the grand opening last week, Cornejo was, as usual, the very picture of easy elegance. But she was eager to hit the beaches and celebrate another milestone that happens to coincide with the opening: her wedding anniversary to photographer and hubby, Mark Borthwick.

Zero + Maria Cornejo, 8408 Melrose Ave, Los Angeles, CA

Oct 19, 2010 00:00:00
a rendering of the Richard Chai Store under the High Line

A Store Is Born: Richard Chai

Wasting no time since winning the 2010 Swarovski Menswear Designer of the Year award, Richard Chai is set to unveil his first retail outlet, albeit a temporary art installation. In a series conceived by Building Fashion, Chai enlisted (the cleverly named) architecture firm Snarkitecture to create a pop-up store carved from a single piece of foam-like material beneath the High Line. Visitors are enveloped in an eerie glacial cavern as they peruse both the men's and women's collections. The Richard Chai Store, 504 West 24th Street, October 21-31, 12-6 pm.

Oct 14, 2010 00:00:00

A Store Is Born: Triple-Major

There's more to China than cracking down on Google and trashing the Nobel Peace Prize. At least one store, Triple-Major, is pushing for democratic reform of the fashion kind. Located in an old-style hutong, or alley, and disguised as a Chinese clinic (complete with an acupuncture statue and apothecary chests), the little-concept-shop-that-could is bringing international avant-garde labels to the very center of modern communism. These include Patrik Ervell, Fabrics Interseason, Pelican Avenue, Anntian, Daniel Palillo, Mundi, and Rozalb de Mura.

The second floor and roof, meanwhile, have been converted into an art space for global artists and designers to show their work. Upcoming exhibits include an installation by ffiXXed.

“Beneath the threads of a garment there lies a concept that breathes life and character into a piece of clothing,” says store owner Ritchie Chan. “We believe that the true value of fashion outstrips its physical form, that true style comes with individuality, creativity and exploration. Through the store, we want to share this value with our Chinese customers.”

Sorry, Hint's Chinese fans, if this post is blocked from your search engine.

Triple-Major, 81 Baochao Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing. (Launch party: 10/29, 8-10 pm)

Oct 12, 2010 00:00:00
Downtown, San Francisco

A Store Is Born: Downtown

When you’re alone and life is making you lonely, you can always go...shopping. Following the success of his San Francisco men's shop, the Archive, Michael Kelter has opened Downtown, arguably the only store in town for gals of the edgy persuasion. Okay, so our cheap rendition of Petula Clark's classic song pales next to hers, but did she have Balmain, Haider Ackermann, Natalia Brilli, or 30-something other labels from Japan, Italy, France and Germany—most of them exclusive? We think not.

Located at 55 Maiden Lane, on a posh block not far from Chanel and YSL, the boutique radiates a similar vibe to the men’s outpost, which is to say black and gritty—but in the super-chic and exclusive way. Only a month old, the shop is a break from the chains for Bay Area shoppers and a new reason to go...downtown. Bonus: this fall, Kelter also debuts a jewelry collection made in collaboration with local jewelry designer Geoffrey Young.

Aug 30, 2010 00:00:00
Gareth Pugh store in Hong Kong

A Store Is Born: Gareth Pugh

Gareth Pugh is all grown up. Over the weekend, the precocious designer unveiled his first standalone boutique in Hong Kong (10 Ice House Street), smack in the city’s poshest shopping district, nestled among Comme des Garçons, Maison Martin Margiela and Hermès. We can’t think of a better way to say welcome to the big leagues.

Of course, this doesn’t mean the Dauphin of Shadows is cleaning up his act completely; he’s just bringing his unique brand of dark provocation to a whole new level—and continent. Based appropriately enough on a black box, the shop is a study in contrasts that’s less S&M dungeon and more art-house installation. The walls are painted in black rubber (very Leigh Bowery) and the dressing rooms are lined with gray padded-leather, making for the chicest asylum cells since Girl Interrupted. The pièce de résistance? The large LED display screens which will constantly loop Pugh’s visual collaborations, fashion films and runway footage. It's 24-hour HD Pugh-vision. 

At the launch party, Pugh dispelled persistent Thierry Mugler rumors. Seems the waif is intent on developing his brand instead. Now if he can only figure out a way to get us to Hong Kong.

Aug 02, 2010 00:00:00

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