July '09
We pay attention to retail
By Franklin Melendez
Project No. 8
With its austere interior, the new men's store No. 8b looks a bit like a waiting room in a Kafka novel—all flat colors and existential anxiety. But the spartan vibe perfectly offsets its expertly curated wares, handpicked by the team behind its sister store Project No. 8 and the design collective Various Projects. Nestled at 38 Orchard Street (212-925-5599) at the border of Chinatown, the shop is clearly not for your average dude, with its intellectually rigorous pieces by the likes of Fabrics Interseasons, Bless and Mykita, as well as Maison Martin Margiela and the other usual suspects. The store will also be among the first to stock Christian Wijnants' debut men’s collection. The cerebral, gallery-like setting is also the result of the German furniture line e15, which the boutique represents, peddling its deceptively simple polygon-shaped furniture and modular assemblages—it does all the thinking so you don't have to.

  Alexander Wang for Gap
After the runaway success of its tribal accessories for spring, Jil Sander has partnered with Damiani for a bona fide jewelry line—think diamond-encrusted Giacometti sculptures speared through earlobes. The limited collection will hit stores for fall, and expand to other accessories in spring 2010. No word yet on specific styles, but expect more modernist savagery… Wimbledon may be over, but that’s no reason to retire those tennis whites. Jeffrey has teamed up with Lacoste to produce the tennis-inspired Red Collection, preppy basics for the ladies in an array of happy sorbet colors that will likely clear out faster than a Williams sister in spandex… London wunderkind Sophia Kokosalaki may have struck it rich, taking the reins at Diesel’s high-end Black Gold line. After a brief stint at Vionnet, the mistress of Grecian draping has big plans to revamp the denim brand, which suffers from rampant distressing and acute Euro-ness. As part of the deal, she'll also regain control of her namesake label, and that’s definitely something to smile about… A wee recession isn’t likely to cramp Prada’s style. In fact, the pinnacle of luxury has expanded its retail empire, opening a whopping 34 stores in 2008. So while its Paris flagship on Rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré is being given the deluxe overhaul, Prada has graciously provided a new two-level unit at Place Beauvau 92, a stone’s throw from the home of President Sarkozy, who may go down in history as the only head of state to rock Prada for an inauguration.
United Bamboo
Just in time for fall’s romance with all things American, United Bamboo is venturing into e-commerce with a new online store. Look for an array of its quirky, impeccably tailored, somewhat subversive preppy basics, appropriately captured by a dapper Terence Koh lounging among confetti and cushions in a cocktail suit. Part Godard, part Norman Rockwell, the selection includes schoolboy blazers, wooly flannels and more shifts than you can throw a party hat at. But it's the web exclusives that'll make you go bonkers, such as their special nautical collaboration with French label Kitsune, canvas totes and silk scarves made in collabs with the band Black Dice.
Nice Collective
For well over a decade, the boys at Nice Collective have carved out their particular place in fashion, setting up shop in off-the-fashion-map California and focusing simply on refining their signature staples. But after their well-received runway debut at New York Fashion Week last season, the duo is expanding their horizons with the launch of their new online store, the Storeroom, providing aficionados and diehard fans with reissues of sold-out favorites from the archives and other rare pieces. Handcrafted and custom-made, each gem is produced in limited quantities, numbered with a custom metal tag and not available anywhere else. Highlights include a classic pair of hand-finished boots (the anchor to any good outfit), distressed wallets, skeleton keys and a feather key ring, which they never leave home without. Plans are also in the works for a full range of accessories and a home line.
Balenciaga, sunglasses
Nicolas Ghesquière continues to reign supreme at Balenciaga, showering countless blessings on the faithful. The latest is a new collection of sunglasses that arrives just in time for our late-starting summer. Reminiscent of the iconic goggles that topped off those robo-leggings from a few seasons ago, these user-friendly styles come in opaque plastic, oversized frames and have a vaguely 60's femme-bot feel. Designed with ergonomic precision, they're available in ombre shades of champagne, green and rust. Times may be tough, but we assure you the world will look better through these Balenciaga-tinted glasses. $385 through the website.



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