Hint pays attention to retail


Like the final scene of a make-over reality show, Cloak completes its big "reveal" with the launch of a store to call its very own, envisioned here by designer Alexandre Plokhov. Upon entering the tiny SoHo shop, it's clear the once-shadowy Meatpacking-based men's line we first put to pixels five years ago has left the dark-knight, Dior Homme-compared ethos of its early years for a more romantic new image. The space evokes an English gentlemen's club with a massive antique wooden table as a centerpiece, but that's not the only throwback to old London. In addition to ready-to-wear, accessories and shoes, the store features an exclusive bespoke suiting service offering Savile Row fabrics and techniques. It seems the Cloak show has moved to primetime. Cloak, 10 Greene Street, 212-625-2828.
While many designers forget, we'll say, to credit the talent behind their labels, Comme des Garçons' Rei Kawakubo, already the queen of collaborations, goes as far as to encourage the assistants in her employ to take the spotlight. First Junya Watanabe, now Tao Kurihara, a seven-year veteran of the house who, for her new label-within-a-label, Tao COMME des GARCONS, builds upon a single theme each season, with lingerie being the first. For the debut fall collection, Kurihara, also the designer of Comme's knitwear line, Tricot, set about crafting such over-the-top girly creations as boned-cable knit corsets adorned with lace ruffles and knit camisoles upon which crocheted rosettes, pom poms or bows are generously applied. It's typically, conceptually, deliciously Comme, but seen through bedroom eyes. Prices, if you must ask, are "designer," they tell us. At Comme des Garçons stores worldwide, at Dover Street Market in London, at 10 Corso Como in Milan, and Barneys New York. (Left: knit top by Tao COMME des GARCONS, shirt by Martin Margiela, garter by Mamie)

She's not a former assistant to Isabella Blow and André Walker for nothing. Mélodie Wolf's fall collection features an eclectic mix of references, starting with the 1985 film Ladyhawke, a kitschy tale of forbidden, cross-species love. "The man transforms into a wolf at night and the woman transforms into a hawk in the day, so they can never be together," the Paris-based designer explains, "and since my last name is Wolf, I thought it was apropos." Mix with inspiration from the millennium-old Bayeux tapestry on display in the north of France, and you get a kaleidoscope of animal motifs on lurex against an otherwise sober taupe and blue collection of capes, ponchos, boleros, cropped cardigans and leggings. At Maria Luisa in Paris, 38 rue du Mont Thabor, 75001, +33 1 42 96 47 81 and The Pineal Eye in London, 49 Broadwick Street, W1, +44 (0) 20 7434 2567. -Anna Sansom
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After a lengthy bout with customs, the new ALIFE clothing store (pictured above) finally lives, sharing an address with its sister sneaker shop, ALIFE Rivington Club, at 158 Rivington Street...In both sad and happy news, Isa Salaabi, co-owner of the cultish Nom de Guerre shop in Manhattan, will finish converting his pioneering Brooklyn-based Isa store into another Nom de Guerre outlet later this month...Ann Demeulemeester, who staged her first men's show this summer in Paris, has finished shipping her largest U.S. menswear order to Atelier, which is also the only shop in New York to carry it. No word yet on when the Belgian's first fragrance will hit counters...PlayStation's new PSP console gets a make-over with limited-edition covers by the likes of Chanel, Burberry and Miu Miu, available shortly online and off at colette...Speaking of video games, go back in time with the limited-edition unisex Asteroid watch ($125) from Atari and Fossil, available exclusively online...Or, slap on one of John Galliano's rocker-chick-inspired Christal watches for Christian Dior (starting at $1500), now arriving at Dior boutiques worldwide...As of August 25, Adidas by Stella McCartney can be purchased online for the first time, as well as select Bloomingdales locations and Adidas Sport Performance stores in New York and Las Vegas, among others...Earnest Sewn jeans can now be custom-ordered ($375-$600) at the higher-end denim label's new shop-within-a-shop at Barneys New York...Meanwhile, in other Barneys news, Daryl K.'s reacquired and resuscitated K 189 line ($170-$415) is now on the racks at all three freestanding CO-OP locations in Manhattan, as well as the CO-OP in the Madison Avenue store...One-of-a-kind tees, including indie label Wowch and the Morse-code-like Elroy are available at Williamsburg's Ghostown.

Those of you who wanted an exact copy of the World Trade Center erected at Ground Zero can take small solace, and we mean small, in the award-winning GeoShag rug from Sasha Tulchin and Pia Hunter of the creative firm Project Inc. Made of industrial wool felt and held together by a cord grid, the topographic throw and its jagged surface call to mind the Twin Towers, while bringing the entire New York skyline down to size. Available in either a DIY kit or fully assembled, the GeoShag runs $50-$100 per square foot, and comes in either natural white or charcoal gray, with a wider palette of mix-and-match colors arriving in the spring. An outdoor version in waterproof silicone is also due out soon. For more information, call 212-645-6222.