April '06
We pay attention to retail


This is Ann Demeulemeester's year, and not just because fashion is in the kind of sober mood it was in when she and the other Antwerp Six deconstructionists tore onto the scene in the late '80s. First, the spring collections saw the emancipation of her men's line, which, for ten years, had been mixed in with her women's collections. Now comes the launch of the Belgian's first boutique since her only other was christened seven years ago in Antwerp. This time, the spoiled residents Tokyo are being treated to her signature blend of punk and poetry. Designed with her husband, like the first, the store—in architect Tadao Ando's hyper-modern Omotesando Hills mall—is intended to resemble an artist's workshop; unpolished floors and walls covered with large sheets of canvas give it a raw, unfinished feel. The furniture, too, is created by Demeulemeester, while all of her collections are available, including women's, men's, shoes and accessories. Ann Demeulemeester, Omotesando Hills 1F, 4-12-10 Jingumae, Shibuya-ku, Tokyo, 03 62 79 50 71.
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Curated by the creators of "Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited"—an upcoming album of Serge Gainsbourg ditties covered by the likes of Franz Ferdinand, The Kills, The Rakes, Tricky and Jarvis Cocker—an exhibition of portraits of the late musical provocateur is now up at Liberty of London. Viewable through May 31, it includes private photos of Gainsbourg and his wife, Jane Birkin, as well as images of the two from a 1960's French Vogue story...If you're lucky enough to have toothpicks for legs and want to show them off, teeter over to one of these select shops for a pair of super-skinny Cheap Monday jeans from Sweden: Seven New York (the only outlet in the city to sell them, but not online), No-One in London and Hollywood Trading Company in L.A. (420 Broadway, Santa Monica,310-451-9002), the only outlet on the West Coast to stock them...Speaking of HTC, they tell us they're also the only American retailer to carry the underground Polish jeans label Siereks...That Parisian purveyor of subtle style, A.P.C., is keeping things characteristically simple with its new sneaker collaboration. The Nike for A.P.C. Court Tradition ($115) comes in all-black or all-white with a crossed guitar and tennis-racket logo embossed on the tongue, available online and in A.P.C. stores in New York and Paris...In its drive toward prestige-label land, Diesel has opened a new London flagship on the elite retail thoroughfare of New Bond Street. The ground floor is devoted to shoes, bags, jewelry and exclusive catwalk pieces, while a VIP room ensures that cashed-up clients can get their fashion fixes in peace...Comme des Garcons' Dover Street Market hosts "UK Jack, OK!"—an exhibition first shown at colette that celebrates British-inspired art, fashion and design—through May 13. Highlights include photography by the likes of Hedi Slimane, Suzy Menkes and Willy Vanderperre, plus special souvenir products by Martin Margiela, Stephen Jones, Burberry Prorsum and John Galliano...Listen up, Berliners. Multi-brand store The Corner has opened for business, selling all kinds of goodies, from Alaïa (Azzedine) to Zanotti (Giuseppe)...Over the last hundred or so years, French house Goyard has supplied luxe luggage to the Rothschilds, Royals and Rockefellers, but now San Francisco's elite can get their manicured hands on the monogrammed leather goods with the opening of the first stand-alone store outside Paris.
When it comes to style off the field, European soccer stars seem to spend their eight-digit salaries on flash over class. But those of us who bridle at gold chains and silk sarongs can look forward to the upcoming World Cup in Germany, thanks in part to London-based menswear maverick Kim Jones, who's adding sartorial sophistication to the populist affair. The English Football Association enlisted the prolific Jones, who already designs for the official team outfitter Umbro, to create Umbro by Kim Jones World Cup Collection, a limited-edition line of sportswear for Becks and Co. to lounge in between matches, ensuring that the iron-legged athletes look like winners regardless of their goal tally. Jones responded with slim-fitting polos, tees, hoodies and sweats in a riot of red, white and blue covered with prints that reference the St. George's Cross (as on the English flag) and Umbro's diamond logo. The capsule range ($80 tees - $450 coats) also incorporates national soccer lore with, for example, a reversible take on the Ramsay jacket from 1966, the year England hosted the championship and defeated Germany in the final. You'll be a fan whether or not you're just buying into the season's fervor for all things Anglo. In London at Harvey Nichols and Selfridges, stateside at Odin and Barneys CO-OP (Madison Ave. and Beverly Hills). -Suleman Anaya

Bernhard Willhelm has always been a big hit with the Japanese fashion crowd, so he has decided to reward them with their very own shop in Shibuya, Tokyo. Housed within the Via Bus Stop mall, the space has been designed in collaboration with local creative talents Asa and item idem. Rejecting flashy fittings and polished finishes, the store's aesthetic instead takes a lo/no-cost approach, drawing its inspiration from the park shelters built by the city's homeless population. Walls are lines with tarps, clothes are layed out on piles of crates and clothespins hold merch onto display pipes; complete collections of men's and women's ready-to-wear, bags, accessories and shoes are carried. The makeshift store, a replica of Willhelm's fall '06 collection which was presented in Paris against a similar scene of cardboard and found objects, will be continually updated with "new" discarded materials. Bernhard Willhelm, 3rd floor of the Via Bus Stop mall in Shibuya, Tokyo. -Stephen Morriss

It's a rainbow of activity for Adidas as, over a three-month period, they launch their spring '06 Adicolor collection, kicked off in March with a secret viewing in New York's Chinatown. The underground spectacle showcased the Color Series, featuring sneakers in red, green, blue, black, yellow and pink, each one a collaboration with a renowned label or artist, such as Peter Saville, Emilio Pucci and Claude Closky (seen lower right) for colette. If less is more your style, the new White Series, based on a 1983 cult classic shoe, comes with magic markers, spray cans, lace jewels and interchangeable stripes that allow you to get your sneak on as much, or as little, as you want. If your corneas haven't burst yet, in mid-May, Adidas will release free downloadable videos from the Adicolor Film Series, directed by seven young filmmakers—including Roman Coppola and Andy Bruntel—asked for cinematic expressions of a specified color. Additional free Podcasts have been made available on iTunes and Google Video throughout the season-long colorfest. My Adidas, for real! -Lisa Weatherby

In no great surprise, balance is everything for Truus and Riet Spijkers, at least when it comes to their Spijkers & Spijkers label. Each season, the Dutch duo, who are not just sisters but identical twins, can be counted on to incorporate opposing colors and double diamond shapes for consistently crisp and symmetrical collections. But for spring, presented in the Fashion East group show during London Fashion Week, the theme of balance got a lot heavier, thanks to their choice of dual muses. For the first, the "good" muse, they looked to Paul Gauguin's 13-year-old Tahitian lover, Tehamana, who represents the lighter, feminine side of the collection as seen in classic white silk dresses with pleated detailing, much like the Victorian props in the artist's paintings. The other, "bad" muse comes from the subversive 1981 German film "Wir Kinder vom Bahnhof Zoo," a biographical account of Christiane F., who, at 14, becomes fascinated with the disco craze of Berlin in the late '70s, but soon gets caught up in its climate of sex and drugs. Dark color blocks and loosened bowties refer to her lost innocence. The result? A collection as bipolar as we are. In New York at Dernier Cri (869 Washington St., 212-242-6061) and Eva (227 Mulberry St., 212-925-3208), in London at b Store.
New label UEG—short for "usa e getta" in Italian, or "use and throw away"—wants you to get wasted. No, not that kind; the disposable kind. The conceptual brand is a collaboration between two Polish designers, Anna Kuczynska (fashion) and Michal Lojewski (graphics and packaging), who make unisex paper jackets and bags whose guaranteed deterioration over time is meant to remind the wearer of the impermanence of life. Each garment comes in plain cardboard packaging, which includes not only promotional materials but also a manifesto written by screenwriter Przemek Nowakowski, in which he plays with the language of consumerism. But it's not all Italo-Polish gloom and doom. "There is a certain set of principles that we think will never fade," says Kuczynska. "Wearing UEG suggests that you've become familiar with those principles." Proving their worthiness, those who have gotten "wasted" are invited to show their pictures online. $120 at Desperado and Heathen (1-5-15 Jinnan, Shibuya, +81 3 34636589) in Tokyo, and Der Konk in Berlin. -Kasia Bobula

"When I stepped outside the other day, I stopped and watched a squirrel chasing a magpie in a tree. There was something fascinating about the blend of colors—brown, white and black. These things find a way into my work," says Husam El Odeh. Similarly, the German designer of wild and witty jewelry, who earned a fine arts degree from Hochschule der Kuenste in Berlin before relocating to London, must currently be watching as packs of English stylists and editors chase down his surreal bits and bobs, which include a pearl necklace held up by two hair combs, a triple-hinged ring and a necklace made of magnifying lenses. Being part of the Marios Schwab posse—he creates the designer's accessories and dress details—hasn't made him any less popular. Yet El Odeh remains humble: "Jewelry is intimate. I love the idea of getting to put things on the body, to see how close I can get. Jewelry by itself is really quite useless." Available in London at Selfridges, in Paris at colette and in Japan at Factory Midwest. -Charlotta Berggren