April '07
We pay attention to retail

New and (h)improved Jil Sander continues to shine. After three seasons at the helm, lauded wunderkind Raf Simons—whose eponymous men's line already commands a cult following—has established a clear direction for the brand and won a fair few fans in the process. Evidence of the winning streak (the only kind of streak allowed at the newly buffed house) could be seen earlier this month, when the Paris flagship was relocated to a grander address just two doors down on tony Avenue Montaigne. Expect the full range of men's and women's lines, plus a tempting selection of shoes and bags in bright patents and metallics, the colors for spring (see last month's Hooked). Other recent openings include Tokyo, Frankfurt and Rome, with many more on the way, while Manhattan fans can expect no fewer than two new glossy monuments to futurism. Jil Sander, 56 Avenue Montaigne, +33 1 44 95 06 70. –Stephen Morriss
For his latest (and possibly most brilliant) designer homage, Polish illustrator Przemek Sobocki turned his colored pencils to Comme des Garçons's spring collection, particularly the red-disc theme symbolizing the Japanese flag, which Rei Kawakubo describes as "the purest form of design in existence." The circle appeared on everything from slogan tees to tulle skirts to men's-style tailored jackets. Interpreting it still further, Sobocki (who's been living in Tokyo) says, "I was inspired by the rising sun and how it conveys simplicity and the beauty of nature. I wanted to show the connection between Kawakubo's work and the red disc by disappearing and reappearing layers of clothing. For me, abstract deconstruction is the best way to achieve purity." At Comme des Garçons stores worldwide.

There's heavy petting, pet rock and Pet Shop Boys. Now comes Pet Bottle—or rather, Elttob Tep—from the quirky contrarians at Issey Miyake, who tell us the reversed name of their first freestanding Japanese store (we couldn't believe it either) is less about big meaning and more about "random fun." And you'll find a lot of it in the vast new flagship in Osaka, where the label's full array of lines—Fete, Haat, A-Poc, Pleatsplease, Me, fragrances, watches, and introducing Somarta—can be had, as well as a wide assortment of odd items from other convention-eschewing brands. Expect still more weirdness when another integrated Issey Miyake store opens up in Paris this fall. Meanwhile, Miyake himself is busy with a few pet projects, including 21_21 Design Sight, a research design center in Tokyo co-created with the legendary architect Tadao Ando. It's a veritable petting zoo! Elttob Tep, 1F 4-11-28 Minamisenba Chuo-Ku, 542-0081, +81 (0) 6 6251 8887.

As we reported in Daily Hint at the top of the month, Travessia (above, 176 Stanton St., 212-477-7771) is the latest LES store-gallery-hangout to feature rising artists and designers, among them Baum Und Pferdgarten, Custommade, StarStyling and Eugenia Kim... Heads up, Vienna. Your premier concept store, Park, just got a truckload of new arrivals, including Haider Ackermann, Ann Demeulemeester, Christian Wijnants and Raf by Raf Simons... The good news is ACNE's e-shop is up-and-running (in case you didn't know), and totally addictive. Bad news is it's available to EU buyers only... Hong Kong's Joyce boutique is often compared to Barneys New York for its high yum quotient. Now there's another reason: Joyce is popping up all over the place (and we're not talking about fast-fashion). This month saw a major expansion of its main HK store with a glittering opening soiree that drew everyone from Yohji Yamamoto and Number (N)ine's Yoshi Hisa Fukuchi to Giambattista Valli and Tod's creative director Derek Lam. And, as of this month, Shanghai can also claim a Joyce joint, with a little help in the launch-party department from actress Zhou Xun... Speaking of Barneys, while anyone can go green, not everyone has already gone green like the fine folks at Loomstate, who've introduced Loomstate for Barneys Green for spring. Want more eco-cred? Not only is the "surf-and-farm vibe" line of lightweight dresses, denims and sweats made entirely from organic fibers, but the company aggressively supports workers' rights, making us more freako for eco... More evidence that monotheism isn't for everyone, Brooklyn-based In God We Trust will open a second location in Manhattan (265 Lafayette St., 212-966-9010) on May 1, selling newbies Beard and Bangs, Shameless and Shenan, as well as their praise-worthy in-house line... Donna Karan in London has moved to 46 Conduit Street, +44 (0) 20 7479 7900.

They've been adopted by numerous style tribes and developed all sorts of cultural associations over the years. Now, Dr. Martens—air-cushioned, lace-up, nappa-leather boots once ubiquitous among London punks and, before them, postmen and patients—are enjoying yet another fashion moment, this time centered around DM's new retail space in the streetwear mecca of Covent Garden. Carrying the brand's full line of footwear, including more summer-appropriate sandals, the concept store also doubles as a creative showcase for the work of those who frequent the art-networking site Freedm2.com. Their eclectic vision for the shop-cum-canvas includes wall poetry, graffiti, murals, live gigs and, not surprisingly, boot customization. Even without the image re-branding, now is a perfect time to invest in a pair of Docs as the fall catwalks were awash with reminiscent styles—think Dior Homme, Balenciaga and Junya Watanabe. And you know all about the collaboration with Yohji Yamamoto debuting for fall, right? Docs rock! –Stephen Morriss

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