paris: eko club opening

© eko

tokyo's unique urban vibe inspires on a global scale but resonates especially well in the french capital. jérémie feinblatt and valentin joliff are the figureheads of paris-based artist agency blank. the duo has taken over a clubbing venue in the étienne marcel area of town, and baptized it eko. well, they've actually done more than that and took on the interior, turning it into a funky urban space inspired by the japanese capital's cityscape. eko features a dance floor, a sake bar + salon, and of course a special section for the ultimate post-drink karaoke efforts. the setting of the bar + salon is plastered with images, neon lights and video screens that ooze the vibe of tokyo. served here is a range of authentic japanese sake and whiskey, but also plenty of cocktails. the adjacent dance floor is hidden behind curtains and doubles as a stage for live acts. eko is home to resident deejays from blank agency, but also features a rotating program of cool acts + gigs that keep you entertained until the wee little hours. location: 14 rue st.-fiacre [étienne-marcel].

© eko

online: giva - capsule 01

© giva

launched earlier this year, giva is a line of bags, purses and pouches, designed by giulia valentina caccia dominioni. the milan-based designer grew up in a family that highly appreciated art and architecture, and this has greatly influenced the aesthetic of her collection of bags. contemporary and with a keen eye for quirky detailing, caccia dominioni's bags are intended for individuals with a strong personality and taste level. the giva brand steers clear of the obvious fashion cycle and instead focuses the product and its philosophy. the brand has just released a capsule collection, simply called capsule 01, which is characterized by a strong functional aesthetic. the backpack, the shoulder bag and the wallet in nappa leather and concrete-gray suede are stained with bright yellow, pink and blue colours that break the rigorous lines of the design as indicated in the video below. giva's capsule 01 collection is exclusively available online.

hong kong: comme des garçons comme des garçons store opening

© i.t

hot on the heels of a much-publicized launch at this very same spot earlier this month, luxury retailer i.t expands once again on paterson street, and this time with a store dedicated to rei kawakubo's popular diffusion line comme des garçons comme des garçons. a narrow corridor leads up to the store, measuring just 1,168 sq.ft. [109 sqm.] and featuring an all-white interior. well, almost. a pillar encased in dotted glass shelving, various differently shaped displays and a gazebo of sorts - some dipped in a soft pink hue - add unexpected playful touches. the new shop carries comme des garçons comme des garçons' women's items only, and pairs these with a tightly edited items of other comme des garçons lines and brands. these include comme des garçons girl, comme des garçons play, good design shopjupe by jackie and jupe x comme des garçons comme des garçons. location: 51 paterson street [causeway bay].

© i.t

london: elvis at the o2

© elvis at the o2 - exhibition setting

elvis is alive! well, you'd think that when stepping into elvis at the o2 - the exhibition of his life, an elaborate and immersive show - mind you, it's the biggest one ever held this side of the big pond - dedicated to the king of rock 'n roll, elvis aaron presley [1935-1977]. the showcase chronicles the rise of elvis and how he impacted popular culture across the planet through his music, movies and unique personal style. it's a complete documentations which starts right at his humble beginnings and gradually proceeds to his meteoric rise to global fame. it explores how elvismania first swept america off its feet before it expanded abroad, variousrecording sessions, concert tours, his military service, the hollywood movie career, and also his influence on fashion. a absolute bonus is the intimate peek behind into graceland, his iconic mansion home in memphis. the elvis at the o2 exhibition displays over 300 artefacts direct from the presley family’s graceland archives. some have never before been exhibited outside of the graceland premises, while others are on display in rotation for a limited period of time during the nine-month run, giving the exhibition narrative a fresh and exciting story worth seeing on multiple occasions [on through aug 31]. location: o2, peninsula square [greenwich].

© elvis at the o2 - portrait of elvis presley and exhibition setting

paris: louis vuitton store renewal

© louis vuitton / photography: grégoire vieille

louis vuitton and paris are a match made in heaven. home turf to the planet's biggest luxury brand, its very presence reinforces the latter's global image as a leading capital of luxe with a retail infrastructure to match. in turn, louis vuitton cleverly banks on this solid reputation, making its presence felt at prestigious key locations across town. this week the blockbuster brand revealed its renewed store on avenue montaigne, traditionally home to the most discerning of top fashion brands. designed by new york-based architect and longtime collaborator peter marino, the store aims to provide shoppers an immersive retail experience that sets it apart from 'regular' louis vuitton stores. this is quite evident through the meticulously conceptualized interior which oozes the vibe of a sophisticated parisian apartment.

the premises are decorated with fine materials, custom-made furniture pieces, and last but not least, original artworks, adding a distinctly personal touch. a true showcase for the luxury brand, it carries the full range of women’s and men’s ready-to-wear, leather goods, shoes, accessories, jewellery and watches. the coveted offerings include unique products that are presented here exclusively, referencing the history of the fashion and luxury maison which started as a trunk maker in 1854. but that's not all. the renewed louis vuitton store has some unique services and facilities that make a visit even more memorable. male shoppers are in for a treat as they can indulge in tailoring services, as well as made-to-order shoes and belts.

other services include hand-painting of initials and motifs on hard-sided luggage, and hot stamping on selected leather goods. and should you happen to be a first-timer to vuitton or the french capital, a specially appointed in-house concierge is readily available to assist you whenever it's required. perhaps to arrange a little dinner party for you and your coterie of confidants? mind you, an exclusive area above the store, aptly named l'appartement and consisting of two salons and a reception area, is most suitable to host such an event. the store opening party pulled a string of high-profile guests from the ranks of louis vuitton and far beyond, including star designers nicolas ghesquière and kim jones, singer debby harry, power couple antoine arnault and natalia vodianova, and gallerist emmanuel perrotinlocation: 22 avenue montaigne [champs-élysées].

© louis vuitton / photography: grégoire vieille

online: mykita x maison martin margiela

© mykita

the collab between mykita and maison martin margiela has resulted in two cool new models, the mmesse007 and mmess008 in pink and in dark grey. consisting of a range of stainless steel frames, the so-called essential collection offers a pure and radical look. pared back to raw materials, functionality is the guiding aesthetic principle. all frames are sealed with a thick, transparent powder coating, giving the entire construction a convex, all-enveloping body. the new mykita x maison martin margiela colours and shapes are now available at all mykita stores and selected fashion stores and opticians across the planet, but can also be purchased online.

© mykita

seoul: hotel sohsul opening

© hotel sohsul / photography: sun namgoong

although it has gained global attention on quite a few occasions, seoul still isn't an obvious destination of choice for those from further afield than the northeast asian region. but the dynamic korean capital has gone from strength to strength on so many levels, boasting an increasingly sophisticated and varied lifestyle infrastructure, and we reckon it won't be long until it's on a par with the bubbly urban scenes in tokyohong kong and shanghai. indicative of the city's flourishing creative scene are the many new and audaciously conceptualized establishments in retail and hospitality, and very often created by a growing pool of local talent. 

a little while ago, a cool new boutique hotel bowed in seocho-dong, a tony neighbourhood on the south bank of the han river. called hotel sohsul or snow hotel in english, its design by 1990 urban architecture office very much reflects the zest for quirky and modern concepts that bonds korean entrepreneurs and consumers. the multi-storey building has been given a highly eclectic interior - from wallpaper and ceramic tile, to brick and walls simply dipped in a pristine white hue - which makes clever use of the abundance of sweeping surfaces. hotel sohsul features no less than twelve different guestrooms and suites, with the variety in the latter obviously being the most spectacular in design.

our absolute fav is the spa & pool penthouse which, as the name already implies, boasts royal dimensions, sleek design, and last but not least a private indoor pool. needless to say that all rooms and suites are designed for today's savvy modern traveller, and as such they come with all the modern comfort and amenities they expect. hotel sohsul is also a popular social platform for the neighbourhood's hipster demographic, and it has anticipated this pivotal role and very recently added a so-called urban project space, called five point five, in the basement area. location: hotel sohsul, 1594-4 seocho-dong [seocho-dong].

© hotel sohsul / photography: sun namgoong

oslo: aesop store opening

© aesop

oslo's retail scene is on the move, shedding its sleepy image and gradually becoming as dynamic as those in neighbouring capitals. sustained by a solid economy and a new-found confidence in entrepreneurial circles, the norwegian capital has seen a flurry of activities and an increased influx of high-end brands. australian cosmetics brand aesop is known to be ahead of the curve when it comes to picking happening new markets and locations to set up shop, and with oslo it's no different. the brand's very first store in the country has settled in a historic 19th-century building on prinsensgate, a thoroughfare in the scenic downtown grid. as always with aesop, the interior design features historic cues, and in this case not only of the immediate surroundings itself. the cosmetics brand collaborated with snøhetta, arguably norway's leading architecture practice, on yet another striking interior that beautifully incorporates and builds on historic materials and surfaces that were discovered on the premises.

the most drastic alteration of the retail space concerns its ceiling of intersecting domes, inspired by orthodox churches and monasteries in Greece and beyond. each dome has been given a gypsum plaster finish, adding depth and a certain magic that's reinforced by spotlights that have seemingly been strewn across the entire ceiling. a chunky sink of fibre-reinforced concrete is placed in the middle of the store, its forms referencing those above. the building's original tiles have been retained and given a matching pale finish, almost similar to the whitewashed bare brick walls. one side of the wall features sleek protruding rows of shelves, while the back wall is plastered in a grid of mirrors that visually enlarge the space. the new aesop store stocks the brand's full range of skin, hair and body care products. location: prinsensgate 21 [sentrum].

© aesop

paris: contact

© fondation louis vuitton / ólafur elíasson - dust particle [2014]

the newly opened fondation louis vuitton is a contemporary art venue that drips in prestige, and we're not only talking its imposing structure by starchitect frank gehry, idylically tucked away in the lush greens of bois de boulogne. whoever is granted to showcase his or her craft here, has to be someone with an evocative creativity that marvels the luxury conglomerate like no other. well, such is the vision of artist ólafur elíasson, a longtime collaborator of the louis vuitton brand. opening wed - dec 17 is olafur eliasson - contact, the venue's inaugural exhibition which has been especially commissioned by high-profile foundation. the show has been set up as a sequence of events along a journey, and featuring a wide range of the icelandic-danish artist's brilliantly constructed, immersive installations. each of the installations reflects eliasson's on-going exploration - one that's replete with metafysical elements - of the construction of space, and how we perceive and relate to it. needless to say, this show is an absolute must-see. location: fondation louis vuitton, 8 avenue du mahatma gandhi [bois de boulogne].

© fondation louis vuitton / ólafur elíasson - contact [2014] and bridge from the future [2014] - top and bottom