March '09
We pay attention to retail
By Franklin Melendez

While Camelot is over for Olivier Theyskens (confirming longstanding rumors), it isn't stopping Nina Ricci from showing some First Lady love by relaunching their famous Jackie O. sunglasses, the 70s-era style she actually wore. A timely reminder of their illustrious past, these are the iconic square plastic frames that launched a thousand imitators and became, in recent years, the accessory of choice for a whole generation of oblivious, hunched-over, over-caffeinated starlets. So embrace the new era of presidential poise in smoky gray, avocado green or golden amber. $250, exclusively at Ilori boutiques nationwide—the only stateside retailer for Nina Ricci eyewear.
Nina Ricci, sunglasses
Paul Smith, San Francisco
It’s hard to imagine the purveyor of dapper British cool decked out in leather fringe and tie-dye, but Paul Smith comes clean: “I have been visiting San Francisco for many years, in fact since my hippie days in the Haight–Ashbury.” To commemorate the legacy of those purple haze years, Smith has just unveiled a shop at 46-50 Geary Street. But, of course, he’s not having a total flashback. Rather than embrace the questionable taste of the Swinging Sixties, the store's décor is a nod to the city’s prim and proper 50s' facades, with a little Donald Judd color-blocking thrown in. Along with a full selection of men’s and women’s fashion is a selection of rare books and other knickknacks—but no questionable water pipes.

  Mi Concept
These days it’s all about pulling double duty, which is the premise of Mi, a design collective, concept store and art space. The Toronto-based operation just opened a small new space in San Francisco with a sleek, industrial layout that offsets its stark, severe, sculptural re-interpretations of modern classics... Isabel Marant will bring her irresistible brand of Parisian chic to Tinseltown later this year. If the Oscars were any indication, this will be a timely intervention, offering a badly needed lesson in restraint. Miley and company, take note… Uber-stylist Tabitha Simmons is trying her hand at shoes, churning out a footwear collection that debuted last Monday with a cocktail soiree at Lapérouse, the 18th-century courtesan hangout in Paris… Retail with a conscience might not absolve us from past indulgences, but it’ll provide a moral compass in these dire times. Marie-France and Bernard Cohen of the children's luxury brand Bonpoint just unveiled Merci, both a concept shop and non-profit (111 Boulevard Beaumarchais). A mash-up of their eclectic tastes, the space features housewares, a fragrance apothecary, a used book shop and vintage finds, along with special treats from neighbors Stella McCartney and Yves Saint Laurent. All of the store’s profits will help a children's charity in Madagascar… And soon, just a few arrondissements away, Hotel Particulier will throw open its doors, selling the likes of Kris Van Assche and Gaspard Yurkievich, along with a mix of emerging names such as Alice McCall, Rubin Chapelle and 192 Doves, all available for the first time in France... b Store goes back to the future with Tokyo Calling, a special collaboration with Casio's G Shock line of watches. Think old-skool, DeLorean-looking wrist calculators.
Zero, Maria Cornejo
In just over a decade, Maria Cornejo has done what most designers only dream of: created a cult label, developed a healthy business and dressed the new First Lady. Not bad for a label that’s technically not even a tween. And now Zero + Maria Cornejo is braving the R-word (no, not ruching) and opened a larger space in Nolita at 33 Bleecker, just a stone’s throw from the previous Mott Street location. In addition to an expanded selection of Cornejo’s modern staples, the airy space will stock a selection of men's pieces (no need to scavenge ladies’ large, boys!), jewelry and a full-scale showroom. With raw-wood interiors and artful details, courtesy of hubbie Mark Borthwick, the store channels Cornejo’s inimitable style—well, almost inimitable. Though her design ethic is très zen, she has no problem calling out copycats who were wont to visit the previous store, only to churn out suspicious lookalikes a few months later. “They know who they are,” she grumbles.
Iguatemi, Sao Paulo
As usual, Madge is showing us how it's done, jetting to Rio and coming back with a hot male model in tow. But even if a swarthy boy-toy isn't in the cards for you, the Brazilian experience can be, courtesy of Iguatemi, Latin America’s first high-end shopping center. The sprawling, multi-level complex in São Paulo carries fave mega-labels like Burberry, Gucci, Chanel and Ferragamo, to name just a few. This is full-scale tropical luxury that proves that south-of-the-equator style can mean more than strategically placed sunscreen. But if that is your mood, there's plenty to pamper both you and your boy-tourage, like Vilebrequin, the classic French swim trunks company, then it’s a hop and a skip to Louis Vuitton for a pair of tribal stilettos and a monogrammed towel. Plus, if it’s your weekend with the kids, no sweat. Iguatemi just unveiled a nursery that's so full-service that it comes with complimentary diaper changes. No word if Lourdes, Rocco and David have standing reservations.

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