January '06
Hint pays attention to retail

Of all the projects Puma has its paws in, the most anticipated is its sneaker collaboration with Alexander McQueen. Launched during London Fashion Week last September, all thirteen styles (9 men's, 4 women's) and numerous colors of Alexander McQueen Puma ($250 - $330) hit select Puma stores this month. McQueen, who says he's kept an eye on Puma since its collaboration with Jil Sander, cites the human foot as his inspiration for the new line. "I first researched 19th-century anatomical drawings of the foot—the bone structure, the tendons. The foot contains more bones than any other part of the body, so for me it was a totally new experience design-wise." Shoe hoarding, however, is not a new experience as McQueen has collected, he estimates, over 450 pairs in the last ten years, making him "slightly fanatical about them." Available stateside at two Puma stores (Meat-Packing District in New York and Georgetown in Washington, D.C.) and, soon, online.
Walter Van Beirendonck has always existed in outer space. And, for the last several seasons, almost completely off the radar. But now, the Belgian designer—one of the Antwerp Six—has landed back on earth: Easter Island, to be exact. The tiny blip of hardened lava in the middle of the South Pacific is the inspiration for the hirsute designer's spring collection for men; specifically, the encounter Van Beirendonck imagines took place between the native Rapanuis and the explorer Captain Cook, who himself landed there in the 18th century. The collision of cultures might have resulted, at least in Van Beirendonck's mind, in the exotic hybrids he's stitched together, including long-tail coats with island-style embroidery, navy uniforms worn with a straw cape and indigenous make-up, as well as silver jewelry and accessories adorned with tiki-god faces similar to the mysterious statues that dot the now-deserted Polynesian outpost. But however the encounter actually went down, Van Beirendonck's version of the events is peaceful, represented by a harmonious blend of styles. After all, Van Beirendonck is an idealist more than anything, and even considers his creations to be future relics of our time, saying, "One day they may be seen as our mystical legacy, like the pyramids and hieroglyphics are now." At Selfridges in London and 10 Corso Como in both Milan and Tokyo (5-3 Minami-Aoyama, Shibuya-Ku, 107-0062).

It was at his 10th anniversary show and celebration in Florence that Raf Simons revealed his latest project to the world. Mixed in with his main collection for spring were pieces from his new Raf by Raf Simons range, a second line distilling the motifs that have earned him a cult following over the years, namely the rebellion of past and present youth cultures. Offered at temptingly more accessible prices ($265 for denim to $620 for suits) than his signature line, Raf provides an opportunity for the Belgian's fans to get their hands on his trademark aesthetic in the form of relaxed tees and sweatshirts collaged with text and photos, as well as bomber jackets, pleated-waist pants, pared-down denim and razor-sharp shirts in chalky coral and stone colors. At the newly reopened Seven New York later this month and Dover Street Market in London. —Stephen Morriss


They started as 100 pairs given to friends as a thank-you, but now the super-skinny jeans from Swedish film/publishing/creative company ACNE (from Ambition to Create Novel Expressions), seen here, are taking New York, thanks to a little help from Seven New York...In other denim news, leave it to Levi's to create a high-end jean with a Capital E, its most premium line for 2006. Features include pajama-soft fabric achieved from agressive washing, turquoise hardware, single-stitching and the use of construction techniques that Levi's originated in 1873. It doesn't get more old-school than that. Now shipping to Barneys New York, Atrium and Fred Segal, 8118 Melrose Avenue, L.A., 323-655-3734...While Phoebe Philo, who recently departed from the helm of Chlo� for personal reasons, won't be on hand to help the label celebrate its new Avenue Montaigne store during Couture Week, Bryan Ferry is slated to perform at the soir�e, which will take place at the posh 18th-century Hotel de la Monnaie in Paris on January 24...On the heels of his beauty collaboration with Estee Lauder comes Tom Ford's first own-label product launch. His Tom Ford Eyewear range ($345 to $678) for women and men features oversized plastic frames in black or brown with less-than-subtle gold detailing, available at Bergdorf's...Nestled among Fred Segal, Marc Jacobs and Miu Miu sits L.A.'s first shop devoted entirely to Australian fashion. We of the Never Never—named, incidentally, after a film based a plucky woman who, way back in 1901, ventures into the outback (aka Never Never) and almost doesn't return—carries Paablo Nevada, Mad Cortes, Zambesi and Wayne Cooper, among many other down-under wonders...London-based illustrators Will Sweeney and Susumu Mukai explore the world of graphic design and music in the exhibition ALAKAZAM, running from January 30 to February 25 at colette...Designed by Jose Levy, Ungaro's men's collection for spring, its first season, is now making its way into the New York flagship, 792 Madison Avenue.

Leave monogrammed carryalls to the nouveau riche. Instead, travel like a rock legend with these high-glam trunks, the latest offerings from the Dior Homme juggernaut. Bringing to mind Bowie, circa Ziggy Stardust, arriving at Heathrow, the three-piece set consists of a jewelry chest (not shown), wardrobe trunk and guitar case (compatible with a Fender Stratocaster) in either a coated canvas or gold calfskin outer surface (to match your Dior ankle boots)—and the option of a crimson velvet or houndstooth lining. Plus, all the trimmings are plush to the hilt—even the locks are gold-plated. Of course, extravagance comes at a price; the luxe luggage must be ordered four months in advance and will set you back an amount too glam to print here. But then, the envious stares at baggage claim are priceless. -Suleman Anaya

Flash back to the early 80s: you were pegging your jeans, streaking your hair and doing your best to whip it, whip it good. You were also pining for a Members Only jacket—the look of the decade—yet somehow ended up sporting a knock-off variety with an obviously and mortifyingly reversed Only Members logo on the front pocket; it was the biggest disappointment of your youth. But now you can make up for the transgression and bury the pain alongside the jacket. The retro-loving designers at ALIFE—the clothing-store offshoot of the cultish sneaker shop ALIFE Rivington Club—have teamed up with Members Only to create the ALIFE Members Only racer jacket ($450), the first of thirteen collaborations planned between the two cliquish brands. Limited to 120 pieces, the two-toned, satin-lined lambskin masterpiece bearing the trademark no-collar collar is available later this month only at ALIFE (158 Rivington Street, 212-375-8116) and select Japanese doors.