We pay attention to retail


How do you top an already stellar year that includes designing an It bag (the Emmy), launching a bespoke handbag service and opening your first store in New York, following four in London? If your name is Stuart Vevers, and you design Mulberry, you collaborate with fellow Brit and longtime pal Giles Deacon on Mulberry for Giles, a mini-collection of eight retro-futuristic handbags, just like you collaborated with Luella Bartley and Kim Jones in seasons past. Deacon, already the toast of Londontown and a British Fashion Award winner, borrows from his own fall fashion collection to create graphic shapes, a la Joan Miró, from supple leather, ostrich and python, and finishes them with outsized burnished hardware and hand-stitched seams. All eight styles are available at the newest Mulberry, 387 Bleecker Street, New York.
To the delight of the moody set, Robert Geller—formerly half of Cloak—has recently unveiled a new women's line, and we're pleased to report it's just as shadowy as the esoteric men's label. For Harald (named after his grandfather), the German-born Geller takes the rugged and dusty downtown cool of Cloak, stitches in just enough soft touches—i.e. scalloped trim, pleats, piping, ribbons, frill—and tops it with large, embroidered Arabic scarves for extra oomph. "The look is tough elegance," he says. "Imagine the frailty of a silk dress under a shell of leather and wool. There are also a lot of details that make the clothes special. Not too cute, but I like to add a bit of romance." Together, the leather bombers (his signature), appliquéd T-shirts, chunky cardigans, light-weight metallic tops and corduroy parkas recall a stint at Marc Jacobs, where, in fact, Geller met Cloak's founding designer, Alexander Plokhov. Somewhere in there is a joke about being strong enough for a man, but made for a woman—we'll spare you.

Leave it to the house of Adidas to create a unique and uber-exclusive collection that brings together the best the world has to offer. Materials of the World incorporates authentic, traditional textiles from all corners of the globe—China (pictured here), Japan, Indonesia, Mexico, Thailand, Vietnam, Turkey—to reinterpret classic Adidas styles. Hoodies, footwear and accessories are reworked, mostly by hand, with distinctive, it's-a-small-world appeal. In limited runs of 50-500, pieces from the collection will roll out through October at prices ranging from $250-900 for apparel, $100-300 for shoes and $50-$420 for other accessories. Available exclusively at these U.S. boutiques: Union (172 Spring Street, New York, 212-226-8493), Dave's Quality Meat (7 East 3rd Street, New York, 212-505-7551) and Undefeated (112.5 South La Brea Avenue, Los Angeles, 323-937-6077), as well as all Adidas Originals stores. –Lisa Weatherby

Our favorite Oak has grown a new branch. Originally planted in 2003 by stylists Jeff Madalena and Louis Terline, the Williamsburg retail sapling, recently relocated to new and improved digs, quickly developed into a hot shopping destination and full-fledged lifestyle store. Still, the store's fruit remained out-of-reach for non-locals (and even Manhattanites too lazy to cross a river, and that's many). But now, thanks to an e-commerce expansion, shoppers in almost any part of the world can get their hands on Oak's ever-changing offerings, which consist of understated clever clothes for men and women by established and emerging labels, including Oliver Helden, Vivienne Westwood Anglomania, United Bamboo, Filippa K, H Chalayan, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Rachel Comey and Harmon. The quality e-shopping extends to accessories, toiletries and even a few magazines. And there's literally more in store, as Terline reports to be expecting deliveries from Henrik Vibskov, Cheap Monday, Band of Outsiders, United Bamboo and Threeasfour. Oak is no joke. –Suleman Anaya
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

 

If you've been to Iceland in the last few years, you know that the land of fire and ice is also the land of experimental hair and baby strollers. (Apparently that's what happens when you put hot Nordic genes on a cold, isolated island.) Yet inhabitants of the teeny port capital of Reykjavik also harbor a new passion for fashion. The more extreme, the better. We saw it firsthand when we recently hopped half the pond to check out the graduation fashion show of the Iceland Academy of Arts. Opening the show was Gudjon Sigurdur Tryggvason, who simply (and thankfully) calls his nascent label Go With Jan, the phonetic pronunciation of his first name. The diminutive designer, who bears an uncanny resemblance to the adorable—and tasty!—native puffin bird, sent out white blanket-dresses in deference to the frigid North Atlantic climate, thick handmade knits in a nod to the rich tradition of Icelandic crafts, and whale-sized hats (pictured here) "to hint at the surreal," he told us. Other standout students included Elma Johanna Backman, whose models seemed to shrink in the enormous panniers—in geometric Art-Deco shapes—bulging from their hips, and Bjorg Gudmundsdottir, whose pieces were meticulously folded, OCD-like. As the course director, Linda Bjorg Arnadottir, explains, "We're doing European avant-garde since we have no traditions or industry to serve. We have only ideas." And clever ideas they were. But will the graduating fashion class of 2006—all eight of them—create tangible Icelandic labels or leave for less permanently frozen pastures? Both, she hopes. "I need my students to go abroad and get experience in running a fashion company. Then they can come back and do their own stuff like Steinunn Sigurd did. She worked with Calvin Klein and [Tom Ford at] Gucci for many years before returning." Of course, to have a thriving design scene back home, there needs to be a thriving retail scene. No problem. Iceland is the 5th-richest country in the world per capita. Meanwhile, leading the storefront charge are a Comme des Garcons guerilla shop that popped up not long ago and Kron Kron, a homegrown boutique that recently reopened on the main shopping strip (Laugavegur 63B, +354 562 8388), selling mostly British and Scandinavian names of progressive persuasion: Vivienne Westwood, Aganovich & Yung, Camilla Staerk, Roksanda Ilincic, Henrik Vibskov and Wood Wood. We're told that while some older Icelanders grumble at the designer prices, the young and beautiful set is gobbling it up as they do in bigger fashion capitals—by not paying rent.

While the rest of us (okay, maybe only us) celebrate birthdays with despondent drinking, throwing up a little in our sleeve and propositioning the cake, two of the biggest names in luxury have taken a more productive route. To mark Burberry's 150th anniversary, creative director Christopher Bailey has introduced the tightly edited Icons collection of apparel and accessories (black and olive bags pictured left), which takes its inspiration from some of the label's landmark designs, such as the classic trench coat of 1914 and its distinctive D-ring buckle. Meanwhile, Gucci's 85th anniversary is commemorated with a line of limited-edition handbags by creative director Frida Giannini. Tempting totes come in leather, velvet and canvas, each sporting a brass 'Gucci 85th' plaque. Gucci also plays on its horsy heritage with metal horse-bit details and saddlery prints. Available only through December, so gallop, don't trot, to your nearest Gucci stockist. –Stephen Morriss