July '08
We pay attention to retail

Rick Owens Rick Owens' new store-cum-shrine has finally arrived in that no-man's patch of Manhattan known as Hudson Square. And as one would expect from the high priest of creepy chic, walls are bare while wares skew murky. But there is no shortage of delights, from vertiginously high-heeled manboots to the designer's famous shrunken biker jackets. Yet not even the most artfully distressed leather jacket is likely to elicit the muffled squeals of joy promised by this dyed toadskin wallet and the special gift contained therein: an archaeo-delicate hoop lined with a halo of fine hair known as an Arabian Goats Eye—or cock ring. The directions say that the Eye has been used as a means of stimulation for hundreds of years and advises the new owner to "place it behind the acorn to enhance pleasure during coition." Also to wash after use, since this tribal tiara for the shaft is not just precious, but also reusable. The wallet-and-ring combo ($650) makes a perfect present, the sort of thing sybaritic collector Sam Wagstaff might have given Robert Mapplethorpe for their anniversary. —Suleman Anaya
After more plot twists than a Danielle Steele romance novel, Prada has finally unveiled its San Francisco flagship (201 Post St., 415-848-1900). The long-awaited store has been in the works since the late 90s, when the Silicon Revolution churned out an army of tech-savvy twenty-somethings who, clad in ubiquitous red-striped Velcro footgear, turned to the Italian house as their luxury outfitter of choice. At the time, the Prada Group sought to match the scale of the dot-com boom with an equally grandiose ten-story mother ship on the West Coast. But along with the Internet bust came unforeseen obstacles, including a zoning dispute, which saw a near decade's delay in opening the doors. Designed by Roberto Baciocchi, the 5650-square-foot space eschews those old sci-fi dreams, but it’s for the better, since the focus is placed squarely on what Prada does best: providing a singular, unexpected twist on fashion. In addition to men's and women's, the store also offers a made-to-measure service for the discerning gent, as well as the full range of accessories. It's more than enough to keep you captivated—even if, after rumors to the contrary, that reclusive queen of romance was a no-show at the swanky launch party. —Franklin Melendez

  Den, Common Projects
As we first hinted a couple of years ago, there's nothing ordinary about Common Projects shoes, and even less so now. Designed by Prathan Poopat and Flavio Girolami, the minimal, utilitarian, anonymous, near-Maoist sneakers (known only by a serial number on the heel) are currently the featured label at the little concept shop Den (left). Best of all, dressier shoes have been added to the mix... The street is so posh it's scary (that tired Spice Girls pun was not intentional), but Montaigne Market—with its racks of Lanvin, Azzedine Alaïa, Marc Jacobs, Viktor & Rolf, L'wren Scott et al—is worth the spook of venturing into Paris' most expensive arrondissement. 57 Avenue Montaigne, 75008, +33 (0)1 42 56 02 82... For its latest reinvention, Dover Street Market has undergone a frenzy of collaborations, from Salvatore Ferragamo Creations, an exclusive collection of shoes taken from archival sketches, to a permanent Hussein Chalayan shop-in-shop "based on being in a garden," says the designer, "an interplay of indoors and outdoors." John Galliano, Valentino and Christian Lacroix are also on board. There is no getting over Dover.
Alexander McQueen
You wait years for a new Alexander McQueen boutique to come along and then two show up at once. His latest, following the recent launch of his Hollywood location, defies geography altogether by going virtual, allowing online visitors to shop till their credit cards drop. (Okay, the site isn't completely geography-free as it accepts U.S. orders only. For now.) Prices range from visiting dignitary to full-fledged monarch, with sunglasses, men's sneakers and a skull scarf going for a few hundred, while a full-on gypsy evening dress will set you back $5,695—all zoomable for complete and thorough inspection. Visitors can even watch runway videos from the designer's incredible archives, moments of performance art that defy the restrictive, reductionist term "fashion show." The spring '04 show, Deliverance, is a hell of a moment, since you asked. And if you’re quick you can also enter a contest (ending July 31) to win two tickets to the spring '09 collection in Paris. From start to finish, McQueen's foray into online retail lives up to his regal moniker. —Dean Mayo Davies
Cute, streamlined and unexpectedly quirky, like a cowlick on an otherwise perfect bob, A.P.C. is one of those reliable labels that'll never take you by storm, but that also won't sit unworn in your closet for more than a week. Designer Jean Touitou recently opened his third outpost in Paris, designed by Laurent Deroo, for reasons as random as any: there was a baker on the street (Rue de Marseille), and the number on the building (#5) resonated with him. Sounds good to us. His trademark soft indifference mixed with serious ambition rears its funny little head this month and next with a few more openings: the second A.P.C. store in Tokyo, the ribbon-cutting for which will feature a live performance by Touitou's band; a Paris surplus store in Montmartre; and a vintage Scandinavian furniture shop in Copenhagen. Consider this your ABCs of A.P.C. —Liz Armstrong

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