September '08
We pay attention to retail
By Franklin Melendez

Raf Simons
This month, Belgian pioneer Raf Simons trots the globe, giving you more outfit changes than a Joy Division biopic. For one, he's teamed up with British sportswear label Fred Perry to create Raf x Fred Perry, a two-season capsule collection that picks up where Comme des Garçons left off. He revisits past obsessions, including skinhead culture and dissident youth, serving up enough oppositional angst to fill a high school gymnasium. The 13-look range, which finally hits stores this month, is signature Raf, a reinvention of modern basics with relentless exactitude. Meanwhile, Raf’s second line, Raf by Raf Simons, celebrates its own ongoing success with the opening of a standalone boutique in Japan. Tucked in the Daikanyama district of Tokyo, the store carries his denims, sneakers and the covetable Eastpak collaboration. For extra splash, the store’s interior features a splattered paint motif, a cross between a paintball field and Battle Royale that's sure to push more than one shopper into a frenzy.

  Pas de Deux
Kim Jones leaves his rowdy, B-boy days behind as he takes the helm of British luxury label Dunhill. It’s a grown-up undertaking that sadly requires the shuttering of the Kim Jones and Umbro by Kim Jones lines (we raise our forties in respect). But Jones is no stranger to the big leagues, having worked with Louis Vuitton, Mulberry, Topman and Uniqlo. The first peek will be spring 09, with a full debut scheduled for fall… Milanese label Pollini also looks to revitalize itself—and shake off its reputation as a purveyor of funeral wear for mob widows—by tapping British talent Jonathan Saunders as creative director and cobbler extraordinaire Nicholas Kirkwood as accessories director. But don’t expect to see Sicilian grandmothers teetering on architectural heels any time soon as Nicolas has stressed that he wants to preserve “a sense of history, so nothing too avant-garde.” Still, if past efforts are any indication, we suggest you get yourself on the wait list now… Next time you’re strolling through the East Village, take a moment and pirouette over to Pas de Deux (pictured here), a tiny new boutique from, and next to, Odin. Borrowing its moniker from ballet, the store offers enough French-flavored goodies to outfit a Nutcracker Suite: Repetto, Diana Orving, Philip Crangi, Scosha, Coventry and Clu… Another French twist in the Big Apple, Seize sur Vignt opens its revamped home in the renovated Plaza Hotel. Designed by visionary firm 212box, the new boutique relocates from its long-time Nolita spot. Look for an modern expanse of mirrors illuminated by the soft glow of an overhead light box.
Savile Row, that bastion of British high-tailoring, gets a dose of dandy flair as Lanvin unveils its first menswear flagship at #32. Along these same cobblestones the great limp wrists of history have pranced, from Ziggy Stardust to Dame Edna to Oscar Wilde, the great grand-dandy himself, who famously decreed, “A well-tied tie is the first serious step in life!” Lanvin men's designer Lucas Ossendrijver, never been afraid to go a little fey, has taken up this aphorism as holy credo, offering a polished and unabashedly refined vision to counter an age of sporty schlep. His offerings are as thoroughly modern as they as rapturously romantic, such as a fragile, toggled anorak in sapphire-blue washed silk. The new boutique—overseen by Alber Elbaz, who certainly knows how to tie a tie—evokes the luxury of an aristocratic past, echoing those gents who dine in white gloves. Part theater, part private club, the space teems with such decadent frills as a basement of mirrors and white lacquered shelves, the perfect tableau for fall’s bounty of feathered ties, velvet gilets and crimson boutonnières.
Calvin Klein
Calvin Klein gives you another reason to scour the Internet. No, not for those deliciously banned Meisel spots (which, FYI, you can find on YouTube). The pillar of American sportswear has expanded online with a new e-shop carrying its signature men’s and women’s lines, as well as perennial favorites, from fragrances and sunglasses to jeans and, of course, underwear. Nudie hijinks aside, the effort marks a shift back to the higher-end collections, which had lost some of their previous luster in a flurry of licenses. But if the spring shows were any indication, the time is once again nigh for Calvin Klein, not to mention creative director Francisco Costa. The label was the obsession of choice for New York designers, whose adventures in transparency and a greige color palette recalled the master of minimalism. Now the only thing between you and your Calvins is a click of the mouse.

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