November '08
We pay attention to retail
By Franklin Melendez

Marc Jacobs, Paris
Everything’s coming up white roses for Marc Jacobs. First, thanks to French civil solidarity laws, there were the rumored nuptials to Brazilian executive-hunk, Lorenzo Martone. Then came the not-a-honeymoon, Speedo-clad photos from Ibiza rivaling the best of Telemundo. And now, for the icing on the alleged wedding cake, twin Marc by Marc Jacobs stores in Paris (19 Place du Marche Saint-Honoré). Combined, the men’s and women’s boutiques bring the full Bleecker Street experience to the romantic cobblestone pathways of the City of Lights. And with little fanfare needed, it seems the diffusion line has already gained quite the cult following among local hipsters, who look so artfully gamine while queuing up for Le Baron. Plus, unlike its big sister, Marc by Marc renews its stock constantly, offering an endless array of goodies—starting at €1. So trade that Magnolia cupcake for an éclair, and surrender to one of the Paris-only exclusives, like a knit beret or Paris-logo galoshes. Some don't cry at weddings, but why not shed a tear over a happy retail union?
On the pastoral outskirts of London, Heartless seems more like a hideaway in a Guy Ritchie crime caper than a men’s boutique. It’s the sort of place you go to swap getaway cars, stash the loot and slip into something a little more tailored for life on the lam. Offering classics like Yves Saint Laurent and Yohji Yamamoto, alongside UK exclusives like Mastermind and The Elder Statesmen, this is for the discerning gent with a rougher edge, for whom “pumping iron” may refer to piling on Chrome Hearts. It’s a perfect fit given its founders, a part-time footballer with a penchant for Warhol and an ex-Savile Row tailor with a weakness for Gucci. The store brazenly cultivates its own spin on luxury, even providing door-to-door service in a top-of-the-line ride chauffeured by Del, the somewhat menacing in-house driver. For the rest of us, there’s the recent launch of its e-shop, offering full designer collections and a few heavy-duty accessories, like these kick-ass Balenciaga boots.

  Rick Owens, London
The Bolsheviks may have had the October Revolution, but November is bringing style to the masses: Prada follows two blockbuster collections with a new line of jewelry, an irreverent mix of precious metals, semi-precious stones and more egalitarian materials such as brass, copper and even humble plastic. Geometric and with a dash of socialism, they’re the perfect accent to attend a workers rally or recline at home in bourgeois complacency... Revered men's boutique Atelier New York is a monument to the conceptual upheaval of the Eighties. Its racks honor all things black and sculptural, designers old and new who pit their bold, intellectual shapes against vulgar, capitalist proportions. The revamped website gives a peek into this bounty of riches, and proves significantly less difficult to maneuver than the store’s more capricious offerings… Never one to mind the gap between art and commerce, Damien Hirst debuts not one, but two stores named after his company, Other Criteria, stocked with limited-edition prints, posters and art books in collaboration with both emerging and established artists. With prices ranging from the reasonable to the steep, the stores aren’t quite the Ikea of art, but they live up to Hirst’s promise to “sell affordable art of the highest quality to everyone who wants it."... Smack in the heart of the Lower East Side, Maryam Nassir Zadeh makes the case for a new world order, carrying clothes, accessories, textiles, found objects and even plants from all over the planet, expertly curated by founders Maryam Nassirzadeh and her fiancé, Uday Kak. Hailing from Iran and India, respectively, the two have assembled a motley crew of fellow global nomads, from Harmon and Rachel Comey to Society for Rational Dress… And finally, it turns out “construction delays” aren’t a U.S. Topshop exclusive. The much-anticipated Rick Owens store in London's Mayfair, which was scheduled to open in December, has been pushed back to early 2009. But we can report the space will be as dark and rapturous as the Tribeca boutique, with a few added touches alluding to the British Empire’s macabre history, like this wicked sculpture of Owens’s head on a platter, channeling Art Nouveau artist and fop Aubrey Beardsley. Need we say more?
Gucci, San Francisco
Gucci has thrown open its doors in San Francisco to celebrate an expanded boutique at 200 Stockton Street, overlooking Maiden Lane. Following creative director Frida Giannini’s lead, the new mega-store honors the house's history while embracing a newfound modern restraint. Well, restrained for Gucci. With its sultry smoked-glass facade and bronze hardware, there’s still enough extravagance to make Tom Ford proud, including the disco-mirrored stairwells just begging for all kinds of draped-jersey indiscretions. The opening night gala lived up to the glamorous legacy with the gathered bedecked and dazzling (but not bedazzled!) in the current Cossack-inspired collection, falling somewhere between Stevie Nicks and Doctor Zhivago. With enough Trainas in attendance to fill a Danielle Steel family tree, the night proved that our affair with Gucci will always be one to remember.

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