June '06
We pay attention to retail

You may not like the idea of putting something by Acne Jeans on your smooth visage, but the Swedish collective's new mini-range of quirky eyewear will change your view. Shunning logo-laden bling, the Acne team modeled the shades (around $200) after eccentric, slightly retro style icons: the Director (bottom), Artist (middle) and Fashion Model (top). They're yet another reason to love the Stockholm-based group of designers, advertising creatives and magazine publishers who started off by making denim for their friends, but now find themselves with an internationally coveted label on their hands and, dare we say, a replacement for our Helmut Lang obsession. At Opening Ceremony and Barneys New York, Browns Focus London and Acne Jeans stores in Stockholm, Copenhagen and Berlin. -Stephen Morriss

Today's enlightened woman often finds herself in a bind, and not only of the yoga kind: if she can't handle the knowledge that a cute little calf had to die for her designer bag, must she resign herself to carrying her belongings in a frumpy hemp sack? We think not, and neither does Stella McCartney. The avowed vegetarian, whose leather-free shoes already attract herds of followers, is launching her first full line of accessories—and nary a fly was harmed. The large collection includes luggage, more shoes, belts and even jewelry made from fauna-friendly materials such as nylon, vinyl and denim. But yummiest are the seven handbag styles—all with the "it" trappings of their non-faux siblings, but without the dirty past. Chunky chains? Check. Heavy stitching? Check. Exotic names? Check. (Each style is named after a breed of horse). Available everywhere in the fall, but arriving to Stella McCartney boutiques now. -Suleman Anaya


Azzedine Ala�a, maker of deliciously curvy dresses, will finally open his long-awaited accessories boutique on Rue de Moussy during couture week—fittingly designed by his friend, Australian industrial designer Marc Newson, maker of deliciously curvy objects...M Missoni, the second line of the zig-zag-happy Italian label, now has its first store (above) to call home, at 426 West Broadway in SoHo, New York...Not long ago, before he switched to glove love, Karl Lagerfeld unabashedly declared his fondness for Chrome Hearts. As of July 5, when the California-based maker of chunky silver jewelry opens a store on Avenue Montaigne, the rest of Paris can finally wear their hearts on their fingers...Angelenos are about to feel tremors of a different kind when Prada's Waist Down exhibit, a seismic hit in New York, travels to the label's L.A. Epicenter (343 North Rodeo Drive) from July 14 - August 27...We know you're deep in the throes of soccer fever, but the grassy granddaddy of tennis tournaments is just days away. In tribute to Wimbledon, Polo Ralph Lauren has come out with a men's or women's polo shirt ($125) with its pony logo in the championship's signature purple color, available only at colette...Behave, the upstart of London's retail scene, is on the move again. This time, the multi-brand concept store that stocks Trainerspotter, Cheap Monday, Earnest Sewn, Denim is Everything and Tsubi touches down in two locations: 17 Floral Street in Covent Garden and 48 Lexington Street...Timberland Boot Company, the up-market offshoot of regular Timberland, likes to keep it real at its London stores (Fornier Street and Carnaby Street), collaborating with local artists on limited-edition T-shirts ($95).

Once again, androgyny rears its pretty—if shaggy and ambiguous—head. This time, thanks to Stockholm-born, London-based Pudel, a line which, after three collections and an exclusive range for Topshop, is fast becoming yet another Swedish craze. The bainchild of Lina Osterman, a 23-year-old graduate of Central Saint Martins and apprentice for Martin Margiela and Jens Laugesen, the unisex line of moody basics is inspired by rock 'n' roll and scruffy East London chic. The key pieces are, of course, skinny jeans in monochromatic black, white and gray, as well as black-coated denim jackets, wearable by either gender. "I love the idea of boys and girls swapping each other's clothes," says the designer. "By mixing and matching, and layering the garments, they can create their own, very individual look." Available in London at No-One, in Stockholm at Weekday and across Japan at And A. -Kasia Bobula
What happens when concept meets coitus? Nightfall, a new lingerie line ($120-$180) by Filip Arickx and An Vandevorst, the Belgian husband-and-wife team behind the abstract-minded A.F. Vandevorst label. In classic bedtime hues of black, champagne, red and gray, the burlesque-esque stockings, bodices, nighties, bras and briefs come in kinky lace, smooth viscose and stretchy cotton, leaving plenty of room for role playing. Details are detachable, so they can be worn any time of day or night, whether tied up at the office or tied down in bed. In these post-cone-bra days, anything goes. In New York at Barneys New York, 660 Madison Ave., 212-826-8900. -Lisa Weatherby

We lust after nerds, and we don't mind saying so. Recently, however, we realized that it's not so much nerds that get our scientific calculators humming, as it is the ill-fitting, awkward ties they wear. To help you ratchet up your nerd allure this summer, we present to you, our dear readers, the following three tie designers. First up is Band of Outsiders (top), by Scott Sternberg, who prefers to keep his ties skinny, non-silk, off-color and slightly retro; they've been spotted on hot nerds all across Manhattan. Over at the Trovata team, when they're not winning CFDA awards, they're creating the preppiest ties around (lower left). Meanwhile, at the Kendi website, you'll see a video of a guy in tight pants and tie disco-dancing on a bed to the soothing sounds of Serge Gainsbourg (lower right). That pretty much says it all. The only question you need to ask now is: did you bring pocket protection?