April '08
We pay attention to retail

Alexander McQueen, Los Angeles No one would judge you too harshly for thinking, upon entering Alexander McQueen's new store in Los Angeles, that you'd stumbled onto the set of the next Terminator film (the store is in California, after all, with that governor). But no, the boutique's centerpiece is not a cyborg levitating through the skylight, nor is it a larger-than-life Academy Award. It's a 9-foot-tall stainless-steel sculpture by British artist Robert Bryce Muir, made to resemble the statue of Jesus looking down over Rio. That's the kind of epic thinking that went into the futuristic, otherwise stark white space that appears carved from a single block of stone, and where McQueen's complete collections for women and men can be found. The formula is really quite simple: McQueen + L.A. = action/drama. Next up, a Paris store in 2009. —Liz Armstrong
John Varvatos, CBGB
Only if you've been living under a rock star could you have missed the controversy. John Varvatos has bought the legendary punk dive CBGB and turned it into a store for his men's label, which opened earlier this month. Stop. Before you get all anti-establishment and march down there shouting Ramones lyrics, consider this: the 30-odd-year lease was up anyway after a protracted legal battle; the interior has been well-preserved with band memorabilia on display and black walls that look as sticky as ever; and rocker Joan Jett came out to perform at the launch party. And let's not forget that Varvatos (who's hired Iggy Pop and Scott Weiland to model his campaigns) is a true champion of music whose collections are actually pretty grungy—if way too expensive for any real grungeheads. Plus he's promised to host concerts at the space for emerging artists. So, yes, while the store is a shrine to consumerism and kind of a present to himself, it could just as easily have been a WaMu or Rite-Aid.
Stella McCartney
Another day, another eco-responsible idea from Stella McCartney—this time, an online store where busy, lazy and/or remote fans can nab her cruelty-free dresses, bags, shoes and the like. Each item in the floaty, flirty spring collection can be seen separately or "by look" (each ensemble is styled by the designer herself), and there's a video option to see the clothes in motion. And here's the eco part: the site offers a carbon-neutral shipping option, so your conscience can freely follow where your credit card leads. Plus, to celebrate the launch, each new customer with a Willy Wonka-like Golden Ticket has the chance to win the Appaloosa bag seen here. Although the site only accepts U.S. orders, hold tight Brits, because your turn comes this fall. McCartney gives, gives, gives and we take, take, take. —Dean Mayo Davies
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

  032c, Bape, Cosmic Wonder, Chrome Hearts
Berlin art magazine 032c has just opened Museum Store, its gallery-like new offices and a shop for "products and ideas." In the heart of the Mitte district, the space’s debut exhibit features Eurasian maps and posters ironically altered by the Moscow-based, self-proclaimed defeatist art collective Slavs and Tatars... We hear that, in June, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac will open his first London store. Stay tuned... Who would have the audacity-slash-vision to revamp their Tokyo store—in fact, expand it into a flagship—with an outdoor fireplace and a basketball court? Chrome Hearts, that's who, and the Aoyama store is the first and only to carry not just the silver biker jewelry that made the American label famous, but every one of its collections: shoes, eyewear, bags, home, travel and furniture. And let's not forget the collaborations, which, in the past, have included Comme des Garçons, the Rolling Stones and the Robert Mapplethorpe Foundation... Planet of the Bapes has become more of a reality with the launch of a new store in Los Angeles, following about twenty Bape stores across Japan, as well as London and New York... In still more Japanese news, ever-conceptual Cosmic Wonder has opened up in Osaka... Next month in Shoptart: a (probably gushy) review of Balenciaga's soon-to-launch e-store.
Aloharag
For years you've been scoring your cutting-edge duds (Margiela, Demeulemeester, Watanabe) online at Aloharag—a curious little e-shop that sprang from an actual Waikiki-based store—and you haven't told anyone of your secret. But now the little retail gem in a sea of blandness, known only to you and every Japanese person in the world, has gone and thrown open its doors on the mainland—in Manhattan, no less. What the? Okay, so now everyone knows, but with the sartorial splash in Soho comes so many more labels to choose from: a mix of pop-humored Japanese lines like Foundation Addict and Majik, plus more international labels with names like Rogan, Kitsuné, Thomas Wylde, Florian and Linda Farrow. Besides, with Hawaii all but one big duty-free strip mall these days, what else was owner and former sushi chef Tatsugo Yoda going to do? Think of the new store as a luau—without the sand in your crack. —Riz



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