August '07
We pay attention to retail

Material Boy Taking a page from the Material Girl herself, Australian designer and former surfer Mic Eaton started his men's line, Material Boy, five years ago by ripping and gothing up the sporty gear sent to him by surf sponsors. Since then, through a series of reinventions (and, we're told, a lot of self-imposed isolation), his aesthetic has done a reversal, a flip (and possibly a tab), morphing from dark and dour to bright and rave-y. Think doubly oversized T-shirts, lower-than-low-crotch pants, undulating Super Mario-like dungarees and trail-inducingly vivid sneakers. The fall collection, complete with speckle and Batik prints, finally hits stateside, which means Seven New York, the exclusive New York outlet, with its power-black glossy interior, will look like a flashback when deliveries start whizzing and whirling in at the end of the month. Also available at American Rag (150 S. La Brea Ave, 323-935-3154) in L.A. and Kokon To Zai in London and Paris.

Thanks to its just-launched Los Angeles location, Moss—the New York retail institution regarded by some as the most influential design store in the world—is making it easier for bored movie-producer wives to shop for fashionably blackened chandeliers and lobster serving dishes. But rather than simply transplant the pristine, display-case aesthetic of its SoHo flagship, the new space appears to be designed—by owner Murray Moss himself—with its showy, artifice-obsessed environment in mind. Everything in the light-flooded, 3500-square-feet space is theatrical to the hilt, from the ten-ton steel beam that runs through it to the giant neon Moss logos. Even its Melrose location plays to Angelenos' cliquey, consumerist tendencies. Instead of settling in the design district among ordinary furniture-peddling showrooms, Moss chose Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furtsenberg and Paul Smith for his neighbors. Unchanged, however, from the East Coast original is the museum-quality selection of furniture, lighting and decorative arts by the likes of Campana, Studio Job, Tord Boontje, Hella Jongerius and Nymphenburg Porzellan. The new store will also showcase special installations, such as this baby grand piano blowtorched by Maarten Baas. Overdramatic? Perhaps, but this is Hollywood. –Suleman Anaya

Little-known black belt Yohji Yamamoto is karate chopping a swath through retail, store by freestanding store. First to bow (as early as next month) is a 10,300-square-foot space in Antwerp—his largest yet—that will occupy the same galleries as his Dream Shop exhibition last year at Mondenatie (home to MoMu museum and the Flanders Fashion Institute). The complete empire will be available, from his signature main lines to Y's and Y's Mandarina, with special sections set up for his daughter Limi's new label, Limi Feu, and his new Stormy Weather pearl collaboration with Mikimoto. Yamamoto's new Paris store, meanwhile, will launch in the fall, while his long-awaited Meatpacking store in New York has been pushed back to spring 08. Now come on, perk up, we're told it'll be well worth the wait… French shoe company Repetto began modestly in the late 1940s, making pointes for ballet dancers. But it soon tiptoed from the stage to the movie set, outfitting Brigitte Bardot in kicky red shoes for the 1956 film "...And God Created Woman" (pictured above). An affinity by eccentric celebrities was further realized in the 70s when Serge Gainsbourg became a mad fan of a white lace-up style. Now the culty cobbler will make its first go at an American audience when it unveils a store-within-a-store at An Earnest Cut & Sew (821 Washington Street, 212-242-3414). For three months beginning September 1, it will offer its famous flats for men and women, as well as limited-editions in organic canvas for Earnest Sewn's eco-friendly Greencaste line. Also in September, look for a second Earnest Sewn shop to open in the Lower East Side… High-end ski brand Moncler, credited with making the first down-filled jacket, is another old-timey French label doing just fine in today's hyper-paced, hypo-priced climate—thanks in part to recent collaborations with Balenciaga, Junya Watanabe and Fendi. On October 2, they'll celebrate half a century (okay, 55 years) with the launch of their Paris flagship (5 rue du Faubourg St.-Honoré, +33 1 5305 9215) during Fashion Week. But don't be surprised if the store is cleaned out of its trademark downy duds as it's been open since July... Cool-hunting just got a lot easier, thanks to Welcome Hunters. The new little boutique among the art galleries of Chinatown (it even kept the upturned corners) in downtown L.A. carries Kokon To Zai from London, Jenny Hellstrom from Stockholm, Best Behavior from Copenhagen and other labels not available elsewhere in the States.

Here at Hint, we're constantly asked about stores in off-the-fashion-map cities. We don't mind; in fact we like helping our retailer friends and their customers make a love connection. For those who haven't (yet) asked, we herewith offer our recent recommendations. First up, Song (pictured left). Vienna may be the place where classical music goes to die, but this loud little shop will rock you with Balenciaga, Bernhard Willhelm, TAO Comme des Garçons and Martin Margiela. Or, should you find yourself in Vancouver, head over to Komakino, a men's guerrilla store that opens each of its raw spaces with a raucous party (at least by Canadian standards) and clothes by the likes of Raf Simons, Rick Owens, Ann Demeulemeester, Undercover and Attachment from Japan. (Watch for a Berlin satellite next spring.) Up in Iceland, Reykjavik's Kron Kron will keep you toasty with hot British and Scandinavian names: Vivienne Westwood, Kim Jones, Aganovich & Yung, Roksanda Ilincic and Wood Wood. Meanwhile, it's big-top fun at Circus (formerly Proxy) in Dublin, where threads from Henrik Vibskov, Reality Studio, Ashish and a new Hungarian label called USE Unused are on show. If none of these move you, perhaps Persuade—with its careful editing of Dries Van Noten, Bless, Adam Kimmel and Junya Watanabe—will convince you that a trip to Bilbao, Spain, is in order.

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