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, exhibition settings and interior of the graceland mansion

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

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

los angeles: taschen gallery opening

© taschen

publisher benedikt taschen has rubbed shoulders with many leading names in fashion, music, design, art and what not, and quite successfully so, given the fact that his taschen empire is nowadays synonymous to glamourous coffee table publications with a matching retail network that spans the globe. but he has now taken his operations one level up, opening the very first permanent exhibition space, aptly named taschen gallery. located in west hollywood, it occupies a spacious 6,400 sq.ft. [595 sqm.] structure built in the late 1940s. the building has an expansive glass façade which allows in floods of daylight, and inside it features a number of semi-divided exhibition rooms.

taschen gallery's inaugural exhibition, entitled it's just a shot away - the rolling stones and curated by reuel golden, is a glam-packed stopper in good taschen tradition. the show brings together almost 100 photographs that document the history of legendary rock band the rolling stones. mind you, this is a commercial gallery, so prints of many of the photos on display are for sale. these include unique shots by david bailey, anton corbijn, terry richardson, albert watson and gered mankowitz. the gallery's opening party obviously was a star-packed affair, and photographer david bailey had especially flown in to sign copies of an accompanying book by taschen. location: 8070 beverly boulevard [west hollywood].

© taschen + getty images

hong kong: off-white store opening

© i.t

as the longtime creative director of rapper kanye west, the latter's superstardom - although at times a tad erratic but continuously audacious in style - is gradually rubbing off on virgil abloh. originally trained as an architect, abloh eventually shifted his focus to fashion, and launched his off-white streetwear line in 2012. marked by an aesthetic of edgy graphics and wear and tear, his pieces have the required street cred and the line is already stocked by a number of influential boutiques across the planet. but now the designer has upped the ante with a little help of i.t, a leading retailer in hong kong and china, and known to be at operating at the forefront of the global fashion scene. the two have joined forces, opening the very first off-white store in the city's causeway bay area.

situated on paterson street, an address where i.t has already clustered a number of its high-end boutiques, the store occupies a unit of approx. 800 sq.ft. [74 sqm.], and features an intriguingly dual interior design by new york-based architect dong-ping wong. a narrow corridor, flanked on either side by lush green vegetation replete with half a dozen sprinklers, ushers shoppers into a minimalist, quarry-like space with terraced walls. the concise space is furnished with a single red copper clothing rack which protrudes from the cement flooring, while other garments are suspended from ledges. to celebrate the opening, exclusive off-white merchandise was launched, including tees, basketball shorts and a windbreaker jacket with a very appropriate carrara marble motif. location: 51 paterson street [causeway bay].

© i.t

beirut: 0.91 cubic meter

© carwan gallery

we talked about carwan gallery's historic new location in a previous post, but only briefly mentioned its inaugural show. it's entitled 0.91 cubic meter and presents designs by 200grs. a.k.a. rana haddad and pascal hachem, a design duo based in beirut. showcased across the premises of the historic venue is a limited edition collection of tables, consoles and objects, crafted from wood and brass, and shaped in sleek geometric forms. with this series haddad and hachem explored the balance between handwork and basic machinery. all items have been exclusively made for carwan gallery [on through jan 10]. location: villa paradiso, rue mar antonios [gemmayzeh].

© carwan gallery

new york: rudy's barbershop opening

© rudy's barbershop / photography: lisa bolden

originally from the u.s. west coast, rudy's barbershop has made its mark on new york city with a unique service that blends quality haircuts at affordable rates in cool and laid-back atmosphere. there's the in-house branch at ace hotel, but the savvy crowds have been well-served as well, albeit through temporary venues. but now rudy's barbershop has shifted into faster gear, launching a new and permanent presence in williamsburg, in fact at the very same location where it set up the rudy's outpost pop-up two years ago. the shop occupies a lofty space in a late 19th-century structure by architect theobald engelhardt with an imposing neo-classical façade, and which was originally built for a bank.

the newest williamsburg incarnation of rudy's barbershop has a somewhat tweaked formula yet very much retains the urban edge the entire chain is known for. the shop interior fuses the building's original elements with an industrial aesthetic and subtle references of urban culture. the barbershop features no less than ten chairs, lined up opposite two expansive partitions with built-in and numbered service stationsmind you, it offers its various services to both a male and female clientele. due to its strong affinity with urban lifestyle, rudy's barbershop has traditionally hooked up with like-minded brands, and here it isn't any different.

part of the venue accommodates a dedicated pop-up shop for leather goods and accessories manufacturer tanner goods. this section is a seamless extension, furnished with compatible industrial shelving and a vintage displays. it's packed with an abundance of items, including special collabs and limited-release items. additionally, it features a gallery devoted to the works of romon yang a.k.a. rostarr, a multi-disciplinary korean artist, painter, calligrapher and filmmaker who also happens to have embellished the venue's walls with a stunning calligraphy-like pattern. location: 33 grand street [williamsburg].

© rudy's barbershop / photography: lisa bolden