December '06
We pay attention to retail

With all the hysteria surrounding that yearly shopping slaughter more commonly known as Christmas, the retail ritual might as well be a horror movie. Escape the madness this year with a little help from Beneath. The snowflake-sized Stockholm store—and the center of its underground scene—has teamed up with local labels including Acne, 5th Avenue Shoe Repair, Patrik Soderstam, Pudel and David & Martin to create a series of unique collaborations ranging from jeans and scarves to music compilations and frame-worthy prints. Changing daily through December 24, the limited-edition items (extremely limited, as in only 1-5 pieces each) can be viewed and ordered (by email) at what has already become a very busy website—thus leaving the fright for Halloween. –Lisa Weatherby

If you'd rather give birth to a chair than go Christmas shopping for your youth-y friends, we bring relief. Colette and La MJC, a Paris-based events agency aimed at the street-savvy, have joined forces to create We Sold Out (don't let the name fool you), selling hard-to-find items from a bevy of brands, including Alife, Ice Cream, Original Fake and Mama. Delay only at the risk of becoming a parent to a new piece of furniture… Speaking of colette, the website of everyone's favorite French connection currently offers a three limited-edition candles by Paris Vogue creative director Fabien Baron (who's also exhibiting drawings in the in-store gallery through Dec. 30) and master perfumer Alberto Morillas… Continuing the e-spree, Dover Street Market makes its online shopping debut this month, selling all the Comme des Garçons you could possibly want. Or head to the brick-and-mortar retail shrine to get your hands on Happy Ribbon, a collection of one-off holiday gifts from Comme, as well as Boudicca, Erickson Beamon and Zero Maria Cornejo... We're getting one just thinking about Wood Wood's new store in Berlin (Rochstrasse 4, +49 0 30 28 04 78 77), selling all your faves and then some, although fans have long known about the conceptual Danish label's online shop... In collaboration with his pals at New York store Odin, London designer Oliver Spencer has just opened an eponymous men's store in New York's West Village (750 Greenwich St. @ W. 11th St.). The haberdashery carries his dapper duds, in addition to Rag & Bone, Engineered Garments, Linda Farrow shades and Bill Amberg bags… Finding his creative raison-d'etre after a stint in computers, Los Angeles men's designer Alessandro Tomassetti has swung open the doors to All Purpose (144 S. Flores St. @ W. 3rd St., L.A.). The "design apothecary," as he calls it, features his Fillius label, but stocks a multitude of brands… Streetwear label Griffin has added a third shop (69 Broadwick Street) to its existing West London and Tokyo outposts, bringing its signature commando-wear to the heart of Soho in London.

Many mourned the loss of New York's uptown Issey Miyake store last June, but we're happy to report it's back and looking better than ever just ten blocks away (802 Madison Avenue, 212-439-7822). To properly showcase the Japanese label's sculptural creations, architect (and former Gehry protégé) Gordon Kipping created a minimalist black-and-white space (pictured top left) that appears to jut into the street. And, like the former space, it carries the full array of men's and women's collections, complete with the futuristic fabrics and pleats for which Miyake is adored the world over. The makeover is the latest phase in the house's global expansion plan, which also encompassed the opening of a new Paris store (29, Rue du Dragon, +33 1 53 63 02 53) earlier this year (bottom left), devoted exclusively to ME, a pop-inspired line of colorful, one-size-fits-all skirts, dresses, jackets and tees that appeals to the narcissist in everyone. –Suleman Anaya

When it comes to bags, guys are too often overlooked, forced to make do with a small array of humdrum hold-alls, boring briefcases and tired totes—or, for the more daring, a sequined clutch from the other side of the aisle. Enter Markus Lupfer. In between designing his own knitwear line and the women's collections for Catalonian label Armand Basi, the designer has created a range of men's luggage for Topman, adding to his longstanding ready-to-wear collaboration with the High Street giant. Lupfer's debut capsule collection ($230-$370) has all the trademarks of a men's It bag: forward design, top-quality materials and, of course, limited numbers. Leather satchels and weekend bags adorned with ample metal hardware, like the one seen here, are available now at the e-shop. While you're there, check out, a new brother site with trend reports, runway videos and profiles of London's more cutting-edge men's designers. –Stephen Morriss

Its leap to the Paris fashion calendar brings with it Miu Miu's first French boutique, taking over Helmut Lang's old space on rue St-Honoré, the last of the blighted label's stores. Sad though it was, out went the Jenny Holzer LED balustrade, along with Lang's other modernist motifs, and in came Italian interior designer Roberto Baciocchi's sumptuous vision of nineteenth-century decadence. Almost the entire Fabergé egg of a store, including armchairs and tables, is papered in an opulent golden damask and peppered with small mirrors—a perfect fit for the label's increasingly polished image and for what we're calling the own-or-die-trying shoes of the season: baroque platform pumps with carved wooden soles. It'll be interesting to see how the photographic duo of Mert Atlas and Marcus Piggott reconcile the newly refined brand with its party-girl muse for spring. –Kate van den Boogert/GoGo

Browns, the store often credited with introducing John Galliano, Alexander McQueen, Hussein Chalayan and other fruits of Central Saint Martins to the rest of London, has recently transformed its website into an online supermarket for the fashion hungry, where designer duds from Azzaro to Undercover are as accessible as a bag lunch. Features abound—and not just free shipping for the holidays. The Changing Room lets you mix and edit looks, while the site's resident stylists, Pam and Addy, offer advice for the stylishly challenged. For a taste of spring, meanwhile, visit the Online Trunk Show, where next season's looks can be ogled. Or simply head straight for the virtual racks, where you can pick up one or more of our faves: a sequin bomber jacket by Ashish, statement shoes by Nicholas Kirkwood and a surprisingly tasteful turtleneck by Ann Sofie Back. Remember, by choosing Browns bags, you'll be saving the environment—your environment. –LW