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].
the historic premises of espace des blancs manteaux in the marais district of paris formed the backdrop of the show of henrik vibskov's a/w 2015 men's collection. the catwalk initially featured a curtained off section, but as the show was about to kick off an intricately designed and very theatrical 20-meter long installation was revealed that not only referenced the collection's quirky subtitle messy massage class, but also emphasized the danish designer's penchant and talent for playful visual drama. for his latest collection vibskov incorporated impressions from the medical world and tweaked them into his usual off-beat mix of avant-garde and street style. the silhouettes bear his instantly recognizable signature, featuring experimental proportions and a new kind of masculinity. upper bodies are long and stretched, while trousers remain baggy, cropped and sometimes even cropped. and although this was a showcase of vibskov's men's collection, one or two women's outfits were shown that very much indicate a fashion-forward unisex quality of most of designs.
© henrik vibskov / photography: hörður ellert ólafsson
what was launched seven years ago as a wholesale business in custom blankets, greg chait has now turned into a luxury lifestyle brand. and the cherry on the cake - for now that is, as we're sure greater things lie ahead - is a new boutique that exemplifies the style and aesthetic of the elder statesman brand. occupying a converted bungalow in leafy west hollywood, the store measures 1,600 sq.ft. [149 sqm] and sits on an equally-sized yard. the setting, designed by los angeles-based practice commune, is very much a holistic extrapolation of the elder statesman's aesthetic of timeless design, pure materials and personality.
the structure has a roof clad in copper with skylights that allow in floods of daylight. inside, flooring, doors and windows are made of alder wood, subtly corresponding with exposed beams overhead. the wall and ceiling are dipped in a crisp white, giving the space a fresh look. a mix of custom-made furnishings - some with a vintage look - and carefully selected objects, give the store a distinct personal edge. this distinct sense of style extends out to the yard where it takes shape in a stone patio, landscaped with desert cacti and native greenery. the elder statesman carries the brand's full range of men's and women's apparel, accessories, kids items and things for your home. location: 607 north huntley drive [west hollywood].
erik prasetya is one of indonesia's leading photographers. his long career spans a wide variety of genres, but his roving eye eventually settled for a journalistic angle, and it's the very field prasetya excels in. it was during in the 1990s that he met the iconic sebastião salgado and worked for him as a fixer during the brazilian photographer's stay in jakarta. it was this collaboration which heavily influenced prasetya's style, and which eventually led to a project to document everyday life in the bustling indonesian capital. entitled banal aesthetics, it evolved into a series that has colourful documented street life across the city for no less than twenty years, from 1990 to 2010. an eponymous exhibition dedicated to this lenghty project and featuring a collection of compelling photographs is currently on at galeri salihara. both black + white and colour photographs are displayed, all featuring the human dynamics of this ever-growing megalopolis of 29 million inhabitants [on through jan 31]. location: galeri salihara, jalan salihara 16 [pasar minggu].
omar pavanello and emanuel cestaro are the two driving forces behind declare independence, an italian manufacturer of leather bags and accessories. founded only two years ago, the brand's approach to design is obviously marked by craftsmanship, yet paired to a distinctly contemporary aesthetic of understatement with a sporty twist. its team of skilled artisans do the entire production, from tanning to colour development, creation of the products and finishing, in-house. the ambitious duo decided to take their operations to the next level - and into the global spotlight along the way - by opening their first boutique, and where else but in a part of their scenic hometown of venice where traditional craftsmen and shops have been established for centuries.
the retail space, symbolically named opvs, occupies a compact ground floor unit which has been dramatically redesigned, as if to defy the historic scenery outside. polished slabs of black marble are paired with vertically louvered chrome-plated paneling. complementing the futuristic look are boxy displays, leather-clad benches and waver-thin metal shelving lining the walls. while rows of windows allow in floods of daylight, a sophisticated lighting system strategically highlights opvs' coveted offerings across the premises. the store opening kicks off the brand's expansion, and plans for a second store in paris are already well underway. location: calle seconda dei saoneri 2671 [san polo].
ginza maison hermès is one of the french luxury brand's most iconic stores. situated in a striking glass tower by starchitect renzo piano in the upscale shopping district of ginza, it's the ultimate showcase in one of hermès most important markets. as such, the flagship store doesn't only excel in highly exclusive handmade offerings, but it also aims to show the brand's creative vision and its strong engagement in contemporary art. ginza maison hermès is one of the few boutiques on the planet which is also features an exhibition space. currently on at this venue is an exhibition by warsaw-based artist monika sosnowska .
greatly influenced by avant-garde art culminating in the polish capital in the 1960s and witnessing the fall of communism in her homeland, sosnowska draws her inspiration from the history of modernism and the changes of our times. the show here in tokyo, the artist's first, is simply entitled gate and presents a series of large-scale sculptures and installations which feature motifs from real architecture. sosnowska has seen old buildings and public facilities, symbolizing socialist authority, being torn down. sosnowska takes the walls, staircases, façades, windows, corridors and other architectural aspects in fragments and interprets the forms into her language of unique sculptures, and symbolize hope and a new beginning. location: ginza maison hermès, 5-4-1 ginza, 8th floor [ginza].
© fondation d'entreprise hermès / photography: nacása & partners inc.
not particularly shy of edgy experimentation, fashion label p.a.m. has given its flagship store, situated in the prime sydney shopping area of darlinghurst, a funky makeover. only four years after the store opened its doors, the décor has retained the black + white checkered floor, but has replaced the floor-to-ceiling, scaffolding-like clothing racks by equivalents that seem to defy any aesthetic. shiny copper tubes and plateaus, protruding from heavy-looking chunks of concrete, dominate the space. the changing rooms have a similar construction and are paired with flowy printed fabrics. adding up to the distinct artsy vibe are carefully selected artworks. the new interior design has been done in-house by p.a.m. and with a little help from friends. currently stocked the store is the brand's a/w 2014 men's and women's collections, in addition to copies of its inaugural edition of free independent times, a new fun read that's pretty much the printed equivalent of the brand. coinciding with the store reopening, p.a.m. has launched its brand new website. location: 20 burton street [darlinghurst].
a sense of style and theatricality is innate to the italian identity, and prada's legacy is quite exemplary of the aforementioned qualities as it continues to break new grounds. and it's not only the luxury brand's fashion designs that project this spirit, but also the show spaces which are specifically designed to provide a matching setting to present them. during last week's milan fashion week, prada presented its a/w 2015 collection in a futuristic set-up designed by starchitect rem koolhaas' research studio amo. an existing room had been disguised into a classic enfilade of rooms, gradually changing proportions as in an abstract mannerist perspective. opposed to a single stage, a new sequence of spaces multiplied, fragmenting the catwalk show into a variety of intimate moments. faux marble in blue and black covered the floors and walls, transforming each space into a tridimensional excavation, while aluminum geometric inserts in the floor marked the sequence of spaces and added another sophisticated visual layer. models walked linearly across the enfilade the audience, divided into small groups, are pushed to close and intimate proximity with the collection.
mimicking fashion's volatile trajectory, dover street market is known to morph into a cool different guise with equal verve. the london original - as you know additional branches have been launched in tokyo, new york and beijing - has just revealed its new feathers for the coming season, featuring a range of tantalizing new shop settings and new brands across all four floors. the latest transformation is anchored by window installation of huge suspended flowers created by designer elena dawson that adorn the store windows. the basement features a redesigned event space by streetwear designer bianca chandôn, while a new a fancy space on the first floor, adorned shiny metal paneling and displays, marks dior's arrival. one floor up is where molly goddard's quirky frocks make their debut in a dollhouse-like setting, and the top floor is now home to a new space to thom browne's newest women's collection. additionally, a number of fresh, up-and-coming brands have been added to dover street market's tightly edited offerings, and the ones that have made creative director rei kawakubo's discerning cut include liam hodges, danielle romeril, nicomede talavera, mansur gavriel and pigalle. location: dover street market, 17-18 dover street [mayfair].
private white v.c. is a heritage-style apparel brand based in manchester. taking its name from british war hero jack white [1896-1949], its aesthetic lightly nods his military style, with distinct contemporary elements blended in. the brand has recently opened a seecond outpost in london, and this time opting for the upscale shopping grounds of mayfair. the store is situated on the ground floor of a 19th-century red brick building and measures a spacious 2,000 sq.ft. [186 sqm.] spread over two floors. local design practice nochintz was enlisted once again to design the store interior, and they've come up with a setting that playfully pairs raw and utilitarian elements, referencing private white v.c.'s factory up north, with classic custom-made fixtures that instantly connect with the leafy neighbourhood vibe. built-in tv screens add a distinct modern touch to the design. the new store carries the brand's full range of men's and women's apparel, footwear, accessories and cosemtics. location: 73 duke street [mayfair].