May '08
We pay attention to retail

Balenciaga
The diktats of the house of Balenciaga are, once again, reverberating across fashion. For spring '08, it's like a petal pandemic, with floral prints blooming all over the place. Similarly, thanks to Nicolas Ghesquière's knee-high lace-up sandals, global carpal tunnel rates must be through the roof. Now, with the launch of an e-boutique (U.S. orders only), more Balenciaga is within reach of still more shoppers. One wonders what the famously prissy Cristóbal would think, but we're not about to complain; we'll take ubiquitous influence from the real thing over second-rate knockoffs any day. Besides, for now, the online store only stocks accessories (like this giant floral City bag, a web exclusive), so far-off trendies won't be getting their hands on any of Ghesquière's football-shouldered, armored and peplumed pieces anytime soon. After all, some justice must be preserved in this world. —Suleman Anaya
A D V E R T I S E M E N T

  Wok, Modo, Reborn
Milan may be a dismal industrial town, but that doesn't mean it can't have a little concept shop to call its own. And while it isn't an East-West fashion fusion that the name implies, Wok (seen here) does carry the more exotic of European fare: KTZ, Homopatico, Henrik Vibskov and Wood Wood, as well as vintage pieces, art toys and design objects. New for summer are tees from Passarella and eco-shades from iWood... Just like denim, the best sunglasses are made in Japan, which is exactly where Modo—who collaborate with Fabien Baron, Derek Lam and 3.1 Phillip Lim—craft their logo-free ocular miracles ($250-400), now available on the web. And just in time, too. As environmental dangers loom larger than ever, these lenses come complete with multiple layers of protection... We hear that Maison Martin Margiela, on a major Diesel-fueled joy ride, will open stores in Dubai, Moscow and Hong Kong (the second, no less) later this year... It sounds like a vintage store, but Montreal's Reborn is as avant-retail as it gets, stocking Rick Owens, Natalia Brilli, Robert Geller and Petar Petrov for summer... English architect Steven Thomas created Biba's legendary London store in the 70s. It didn't last long, but decades later, April 77 designer Brice Partouche found a book on the subject, contacted the author and the rest is history—or his store, rather, at 49 rue de Saintonge, Paris.
Issey Miyake, Pleats Please
It happens from time to time: you bring home some delicious piece of gossamer origami and suddenly you're stumped, thinking, How do I wear this? The best thing about Issey Miyake's Pleats Please e-shop (besides the shopping part, of course) is that you can see, very clearly, how each garment in the line of high-tech monk wear is meant to be worn. The mysteries of the Madame-T—an enormous oblong swath of silk, crunched in a heat press, like everything else, with an eye-shaped slit in its middle and a seam down its back—are revealed before our very eyes. Videos of it wrapped and twisted into traditional Japanese dress forms or ethereal cocoons unfold like a Vegas magic act, leaving us enlightened but no less in awe of the line's puzzling genius. —Liz Armstrong
Miu Miu, Los Angeles Just in time for the Belmont Stakes (we're rooting for you, Big Brown!), Miu Miu unveils its new stable on glittery Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills. Courtesy of architect and longtime collaborator Roberto Baciocchi, the luminous boutique perfectly captures the newfound sophistication of Prada’s not-so-little sister label, with its sky-high ceilings and lush decor. And it dispenses, once and for all, with the techno-future past, while harkening gracefully to the golden age of the silver screen (with one or two coquettish nods to recent cabaret and cirque-inspired collections). Shelves are stocked with enough treats to tempt the most purebred of fillies, beating the stampede for fall’s full-on equestrian extravaganza. So trot on over for a monogrammed jockey suit or, for the more skittish, opt for a pair of architectural platforms and a satin shift—the perfect ensemble for sitting out the race and what will no doubt be a photo finish. Miu Miu, 317 N. Rodeo Drive, 310-247-2227. —Franklin Melendez
Topshop, Topman
Our sociable friends at Topshop love having guests over—to design a collection. The latest is Danielle Scutt, a fellow Londoner who brings with her underground cred. Scutt has focused on denim for the ten-piece range of high-waisted miniskirts and micro-biker jackets (available June 2), saying she was inspired by the way the fabric can unite subcultures and generations. Topman, meanwhile, has unveiled its Classic Sunglasses project for summer, following last year's White Shirt Project. Designers getting shady are Hint favorites Kim Jones, Bernhard Willhelm, 0044, Oliver Spencer and Linda Farrow (who, in addition to being the manufacturers of the collaboration, designed their own frames). Take your pick from a futuristic aviator (Jones), a classic wayfarer (Spencer) or something more indescribable (Willhelm), all available online now. Rounding out our top-heavy news, Topshop/Topman have confirmed they will open their first store on U.S. soil in September, at 480 Broadway. Ink it in your diary. —Dean Mayo Davies



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