February '07
We pay attention to retail

Finally, London gets its very own Marc Jacobs invasion with the opening of a 2700-square-foot space on the newly trendy Mount Street (#24-25, +44 0 20 7399 1690) in the swanky Mayfair district. The flagship resembles the new-ish Paris boutique, with brown cabinetry and carpeting, as well as furnishings by Christian Liagre, of Mercer Hotel fame. In addition to showcasing men's and women's ready-to-wear, accessories and a home line, Jacobs has stocked the store with a series of limited-edition souvenir T-shirts featuring iconic London symbols such as the red phone box and the black taxi—and a toothy T Rex, since no invasion would be complete without one. The designer, turning the Marc Mania up a notch, even timed the store launch to coincide with his Marc by Marc Jacobs fall collection, shown during London Fashion Week for the first time. The brand's planned world domination continues to roar ahead with expected openings in Savannah, Georgia, and international hotspots from Moscow to Godzilla's home of Tokyo. Feel the earth shaking? –Stephen Morriss
It's not enough to design multiple lines for Dior and for himself (the count goes higher if you throw in the lingerie collection—but do try to keep yours on). As of this month, John Galliano wants to design for you—if you're a "Galliano Girl." In the words of the mustachioed maestro himself, she's "young, funky and very rock 'n' roll," so naturally she's the target for galliano, fashion's newest lower-case and—yay!—lower-priced line. Consisting of about 300 pieces and costing nearly half what his signature label goes for, galliano "is something that I have wanted to launch for a while. My girlfriends have been nagging me for years [to do] something that everyone can get." They might have been nagging for decades, since several of galliano's debut looks—slinky silver lamé tops, all kinds of denim, skinny women's ties, leotard-y cover-ups—would have been au courant in the '80s. In fact, Galliano was inspired by at least one memory of that period. "I remember when I was a student and starting out," says the designer, who graduated from London's Central Saint Martins in 1984 with a now-legendary show based on the French Revolution. "The labels I really wanted to own were out of my reach. [With galliano,] I wanted to combine out-of-reach with more affordable." But don't worry that you'll be just another legwarmer-wearing flashdancer in the crowd. "I want it to be the best fabrics, the coolest ideas, the newest cuts—a Galliano Girl stands out!" Would that be a counter revolution? At Bloomingdales and Saks Fifth Avenue in New York, Printemps in Paris and Harrods in London.

Lacoste creative director Christophe Lemaire has retaken the reins of his eponymous men's label, Lemaire, and launched his first Paris store (29 rue Poitou, Marais) with the help of new Japanese backing, not to mention indie rockers Lapin Machin, who put on a wild show for the assembled fans of the musically inclined designer. The dandyish Lemaire—who told us, "I don't like to work from concepts"—commissioned architect Franklin Azzi and interior designer Robert Carr to construct the three-room corner store with 1970's touches, from louche wallpaper and thick carpeting to mirrored ceilings and a wall of vintage speakers, in a nod to the designer's DJ roots. The goal, according to Lemaire, was to achieve a homey environment, thus a Chesterfield sofa sits where one might otherwise find a row of counters. Limited-edition collaborations with Smedley, Macintosh and Lacoste—with whom he's "working more than ever"—are available alongside imported Japanese denims. Speaking of, a second boutique is rumored to be opening in Japan later this year. Vive le Japon! –Claire Thomson

He's clothed, scented and moisturized us. Now Hedi Slimane is bringing his refined aesthetic to our working lives with the launch of the silver Dior Homme 2 gigabyte USB memory key (seen here), compatible with both Macs and PCs. Now if he can only make porn download faster… In a collaboration between Comme des Garçons and Disney Japan, Dover Street Market debuts its new Hut Box display case this month featuring Oswald, a rabbit character created by Walt Disney before a certain squeaky mouse claimed the spotlight. "The lucky rabbit" also appears on limited-edition shirts and wallets… Mischievous menswear designer Thom Browne continues his quest to render the male ankle sexy with his new Tribeca store (100 Hudson Street, New York, 212-633-1197), offering his trademark cropped-legged pants and a made-to-measure service… Paul Smith joins the increasing number of designers opening their Paris flagships on the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré (#3, +33 01 42 68 27 10) with a cavernous space that includes men's and women's raiment, accessories, furniture and a bookshop… Celebrating its 60th anniversary, the iconic Pucci label presents Collectibles, a mini-line of four limited-edition pieces—a long-sleeved dress, a shirtdress, a silk jumpsuit and a bag (only 300 pieces each)—reproduced using founder Emilio Pucci's most cherished prints. Former seamstresses, taught by the designer, were brought out of retirement to recreate the craftsmanship and recapture the Sixties' spirit embodied in the Florentine house.

Nestled among the art galleries and antique dealers overlooking the Seine on the Rive Gauche, a former bookstore dating back to the 17th century has quietly been transformed into Dries Van Noten's new and first Paris address (7 Quai Malaquais, +33 01 44 27 00 40), appealing to the fashion literati and design cognoscenti alike. Ring the bell and you are ushered into the discreet boutique, envisioned as an apartment, where you can browse the Belgian's eclectic women's spring collection in the library and drawing room, admire scarves in the conservatory and try on a seriously gorgeous sequined number in a silk-lined dressing room. The clothing and accessories blend in with the surroundings—which include a 19th-century Japanese black lacquer cabinet, a '50s-era sofa covered in a rich Prelle silk and an 18th-century armoire in ebony and tortoiseshell—to create something of a living environment, far removed from the cookie-cutter approach of other labels. The objects—collected from flea markets with Van Noten's partner, Patrick Vangheluwe, and worked into the cozy space by decorator Gert Voojans—along with the designer's painterly knack for marrying colors, textures and periods make this a destination tailor-made for fashion leftists. –Claire Thomson