basel: viu store opening

viu is a swiss brand with an innovative approach to eyewear on more than one level. first of all there's the design, obviously swiss and with an emphasis on high quality, it comes a alluring variety of classic styles with a distinct contemporary edge. all frames, handmade from acetate and in an elaborate procedure that requires 80 manual steps - are manufactures by a traditional, family-owned company in northern italy. by cutting out the middleman and managing the distribution and sale of the frames all by itself, viu is able to provide cool eyewear design to customers with a very appealing price tag. viu initially served its clientele online, but quickly added a brick and mortar presence in zurich. and now, less than a year later, a second boutique has opened its doors in basel.

the store bears witness to the brand's pioneering spirit as it's situated in an area of town that's better known for nocturnal debauchery than for shopping. but viu co-founders fabrice aeberhard and christian kaegi - mind you, they also designed the shop interior - could clearly see the potential of the place and went for it. situated in an early 20th-century structure and a coffee shop as its previous tenant, the space looked totally outdated and drab. the interior was stripped, but as the intention was to reinstate some of its former glory, the oak parquet flooring has been retained. the walls and ceiling have been given a thorough make-over, dipped in a soft green and white, and viu's signature eyeframe wall is prominently superimposed. the minimalism of the shelving system corresponds well with the steel chandelier which dangles from the ceiling. location: feldbergstrasse 70 [matthäus].

© viu

los angeles: irene neuwirth store opening

© irene neuwirth

irene neuwirth is a longtime rolodex fixture for many of hollywood's top stylists and red carpet faces alike. the jewellery designer's pieces exude craftsmanship, modern elegance and - not entirely unimportant in this buzzing tinseltown of image-conscious folk - unadulterated opulence. and now, after many successful years in the business, neuwirth has taken her operations to a new level, creating a hybrid shop concept in west hollywood. housed in a bungalow-style structure with a façade of red bricks, the store occupies 2,000 sq.ft. [186 sqm.] and features an interior design by los angeles-based practice commune.

aiming to be more than just a retail space, the premises not only feature a section up front where irene neuwirth's collection is displayed in shiny glass cabinets, but when shoppers advance further into the store, they'll discover meticulously designed homey settings, featuring a quirky blend of new and vintage furnishings, cherry picked from estate sales and auctions, and sophisticated copper light fixtures. at the far end a professional kitchen has been installed with a sizeable walnut dining table seating no less than 10 guests. the plan is to host parties with a culinary edge, allowing the brand to engage with clients on a different level. location: 8458 melrose place [west hollywood].

© irene neuwirth

tokyo: de bonne facture

© de bonne facture

founded only two years ago by deborah neuberg, de bonne facture is a discerning menswear label for equally discerning gents. creating timeless wardrobe essentials in ateliers across france, the brand aims for quality craftsmanship with a distinct personal touch. since then the concept has evolved into a full men's collection of apparel pieces, accessories, leather ipad cases and ties, and these coveted items have found their way to a string of a-grade boutiques around the planet. and now, de bonne facture has embarked on another interesting style adventure, creating a sophisticated collection of cravattes, or ties, from refined japanese silk that's usually applied to make traditional kimonos. these limited edition designs will be presented at bloom & branch in aoyama, one of de bonne facture's upscale stockists and described in a previous post of ours, during a three-day showcase. the event opens at the aforementioned lifestyle concept store on thu - feb 5 [6pm-9pm] and continues during the two following days. location: bloom & branch, 101 dai-ichi kuyo building, 5-10-5 minami aoyama [aoyama].

© de bonne facture

amsterdam: andaz amsterdam

© andaz

situated along one of the city’s main canals, the andaz amsterdam is a beacon of contemporary design paired with five-star hospitality. concealed behind a modern façade of black bricks unfolds a marvel created by dutch designer marcel wanders, and one that’s in line with the boutique hotel brand’s aim to provide both leisure and business travelers an exceptional experience with a distinct local flavor. smack in the middle of the scenic canal district with its abundance of upscale boutiques, restaurants, and art galleries, the 122-room property is both a tranquil retreat with all the perks of luxury hospitality, but at the same time very much in touch with the area’s happening buzz. staying in one of the guest rooms at andaz amsterdam comes with a frivolous indoctrination of dutch history through wanders’ evocative design.

meeting the requirements of today’s savvy traveler, the stylish pads provide complimentary snacks, non-alcoholic drinks, local phone calls and wifi. the hotel’s artistic aesthetic extends well across the premises, featuring various facilities with a unique setting. a visually arresting adventure kicks off right upon entering the lobby and the adjacently located andaz bar + lounge where guests and locals mingle over signature cocktails. also on the ground floor, refined palates have found a new place of culinary worship at the bluespoon restaurant + bar where chef julien piguet wows them with farm-to-table dishes. and should the good life be a tad too strenuous, a full-fledged spa is readily available for those in need of pampering, while those who require to break some sweat can check into the state-of-the-art fitness center on the premises. location: prinsengracht 587 [centrum].

© andaz

paris: y-3 a/w 2015 collection

© y-3 / photography: dominique charriau for getty images

the closer we got to the historic couvent de cordeliers, the more peeps we encountered solemnly clad in black and toting next generation sneakers. no, the venue of y-3's a/w 2015 collection could not easily be missed. the crowd, waiting diligently on the courtyard, killed time chatting and gawking at new arrivals and a bunch of lanky runway models who had sneaked out for a smoking break. the show was held in the convent's former dining hall, which had been transformed for the occasion in a matching minimalist setting in which only the robust limestone pillars hinted the building's historic age.

an energetic beat accompanied models in y-3's designs for next fall and winter, and once again it was a sleek mix and match of tech and sportswear. both men's and women's silhouettes were classic and tailored with peaked shoulders and cinched waists, and paired with a palette that was inspired by the royal air force: steel blue, dark navy and cool gray, sobriety ruled but in a cool understated manner. keeping fashion matters spicy, these shades were backed up by new interpretations of classic camouflage in bold graphic patterns, emphasizing anew y-3 and creative director yohji yamamoto's commitment to innovation.

the women's pieces comprised of a variety of shapes, colours, patterns, fabrics, and techniques, captured in both short jackets and long coats that showed yamamoto's signature penchant for dramatic volume. the men's designs showed similar characteristics, featuring tailored jackets, trench coats and blousons. an anchoring emphasis had been put on y-3's hugely successful footwear, and the collection showed a new range of must-have models in black and fancy new colour ways, all similarly inspired by the dynamics of aviation. shown here are six looks from y-3's ultra cool a/w 2015 collection that we particularly like.

© y-3 / photography: dominique charriau for getty images

melbourne: aesop store opening

© aesop

although aesop set up no less than nine signature stores in melbourne, it didn't have a presence yet at emporium, a newly opened downtown mall which has proved to be a magnet for the well-heeled. well, until now that is. the cosmetics brand struck a new and fruitful collab with kerstin thompson architects that resulted in yet another appealing shop. the prime material used is sustainably sourced spotted gum timber which has been used for the floors, shelving and the striking perforated screens that adorn both the shopfront and walls. these also function as folding doors, and filter light to provide a retreat from the brightly illuminated arcade outside. the store is sparsely furnished by two boxy units crafted from the same material: one being the sales counter, and the other incorporating a sink in and fossets in a matching shiny copper. the new aesop store carries the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: emporium, 287 lonsdale street, shop 1-042 [cbd].

© aesop

paris: agnès b. a/w 2015 men's collection

© agnès b.

even before the show started, the scene right in front of agnès b.’s headquarters in the canal st.-martin district resembled a convivial gathering of old friends. the company’s staff greeted arriving guests, while these new arrivals hugged and kissed those who had just preceded them. once inside, the happy reunion continued with a festive glass of bubbly and salmon sandwiches. the catwalk show was packed to the guilds, and immediately started off with catchy soundtrack of french rock - yes, what else? - that spurred on the models to maintain an energetic strut. as always, these ambassadors of style had been carefully selected, and this time a platoon of fresh-faced chaps shared the runway with slightly, to somewhat older icons from the french capital's rich cultural scene. agnès b.'s a/w 2015 men's collection is an expansion of the brand's highly popular non-fashion approach to fashion, featuring classic silhouettes with an alternating contemporary or vintage edge. looks can easily be mixed and matched, also with items that hang in your closet, and we mean that in a good way! this is still agnès b. and the spirit of her line of garments still exudes playfulness, quirk, and yes, even a hint of of subversion. shown here are six look from agnès b.'s a/w 2015 men's collection that we particularly like.

© agnès b.

paris: maison kitsuné opening

© maison kitsuné

the kitsuné brand knows what genuine fun is, and it's no surprise a third store in paris will open its doors on sat - jan 31, right in the heart of pigalle, an area of town known for its buzzing nightlife. the shop is situated on the ground floor of a historic mid-19th century structure by french architect eugène viollet-le-duc. the popular music and fashion brand hired architects emiliano salci and britt moran of milan-based practice dimore studio to decorate the space and they came up with a playful design that subtly juxtaposes different styles and details. at 70 sqm. [754 sq.ft.] it's quite compact, but the clever use of colours and textures, the practical configuration and simple yet highly effective lighting, all add spaciousness, albeit faux. a shimmer of luxe is injected by shiny aluminium which has been used to cover the ceiling, while it also lines doorways and specific wall sections. custom-made shelving lines the walls and furnishings come in tables made from stratified wood, and chairs are lavishly finished with amaranth fur. the new maison kitsuné store carries the brand's full range of men's and women's collections. and making the shopping experience all the more fun is a café on the premises. location: 68 rue condorcet [pigalle].

© maison kitsuné

cape town: space minding

© ólafur elíasson / stevenson [cape town + johannesburg], neugerriemschneider [berlin], tanya bonakdar gallery [nyc] - mono scanner [2004]

following the opening of a much-publicized inauguration show of the glitzy fondation louis vuitton in paris, artist ólafur elíasson lands another prominent exhibition halfway across globe at stevenson's cape town gallery space. in his first ever show in south africa, entitled space minding, a group of works are presented that are all focused on light. the work mono scanner consists of a cylindrical fresnel lens, mounted horizontally on a rotating pedestal, and casting a single, narrow beam of light onto the floor, walls and ceiling of the room. as the lens rotates around the horizontal axis, the vertically oriented band of light sweeps slowly across the surfaces of the room, giving the impression that the band of light is emitted from the lens not as a disc but in the shape of the room’s rectangular cross-section.

a single rotation takes approximately one minute and 30 seconds. a second room features works from elíasson's polar fall fade series. each artefact consists of three coloured glass panes, supported on a wall rack, with a different elliptical cut-out in each pane. the overlapping ellipses create a variety of colour saturations and tones. they're hand-blown by artisans and possess visible bubbles and variations throughout. the works extend the artist’s interest in creating pigments and visual effects through the superimposition of coloured, transparent layers. visitor oscillate between viewing the piece head-on, gaining the complete colour spectrum of the combined panes, and from the side, revealing the depth and construction of the layers [on through feb 28]. location: buchanan building, 160 sir lowry road [woodstock].

© ólafur elíasson / stevenson [cape town + johannesburg], neugerriemschneider [berlin], tanya bonakdar gallery [nyc] - mono scanner [2004]

chengdu: muji flagship store opening

© muji

it won't be long until chengdu ranks among china's top tier cities. the boomtown of 14 million inhabitants has steadily grown into an economic force to be reckoned with, and the increased affluence in the region has greatly influenced the its retail landscape. a slew of foreign brands have already found their way to chengdu's increasing number of malls or expand their presence. japanese retailer muji had established a few shops here, but recently added a colossal flagship store. situated in the jinjiang shopping and entertainment district, the new store measures 3,135 sqm. [33,725 sq.ft.] and is the company's largest establishment overseas. next to muji's coveted range of non-branded offerings, its flagship status comes with special sections and goods, such as café & meal muji, a diner serving with simple yet tasty and nutritious dishes, idee, muji's own line of designer furniture and homeware, and also found muji, a section which features a rotation of tightly edited and artisanal merchandise from around the planet. location: 19 daci si lu [jinjiang].

© muji