dubai: declaration

© tashkeel / artist el seed at his exhibition

faouzi khlifi a.k.a. el seed [1981] is a talented french-tunisian street artist who has taken calligraphy, a highly sophisticated art form in the arab world, to a whole new level. celebrated for his bold murals and other artworks on outdoor surfaces - more aptly known as exercises of so-called calligraffiti - in various projects and exhibitions across the planet, el seed recently took up a residency in the boomtown of dubai, facilitated by contemporary art organization tashkeel and the related salama bint hamdan al nahyan foundation. during this time the urban artist has crafted a series of works which audaciously extrapolate his calligraffiti style to a series of monumental three-dimensional sculptures that rather spectacularly weave across the premises of tashkeel's exhibition gallery. entitled declaration, el seed's work is inspired by a poem of syrian poet nizar qabbani which describes the beauty of his lover despite her age. the artist not only uses the poem's lines to publicly declaring his love for the ancient art of calligraphy, but also pays homage to his earlier pieces by adding a new dimension [on through dec 27]. location: tashkeel, nad al sheba road 1 [nad al sheba].

© tashkeel

new york: feit store opening

© feit

they've had their store in sydney for quite some time, but now tull and josh price, the fraternal australian duo behind cult shoe brand feit, have expanded their retail operations with a sleek new store in new york city. behind a façade with large windows framed by slabs of shiny metal, a serene setting constructed from baltic birch, concrete and translucent panels unfolds. the imposing purity of this aesthetic, created by the price brothers and australian installation artist jordana maisie, not only reflects feit's well-known ethos and creative process, but also elevates the shopping experience to a level beyond the ordinary. upon entering the store, shoppers view cascading planes that emerge from the existing architecture and a split-level display showcases the coveted feit collection. the nifty layout is constructed as such that it a peek behind the scenes to where the showroom and repair sections are situated, while installation displays connect the customer to feit's meticulous shoemaking process. the new feit store carries the brand's full range of men's and women's shoes. location: 2 prince street [nolita].

© feit

london: the pop-up flea

© the pop-up flea

the pop-up flea has become a popular global event that draws savvy trophy seekers in each city it has set up base. after the inaugural tokyo edition it's once again london's turn, and on nov 21-23 the event will occupy an elaborate chunk of space within the old truman brewery in spitalfields. once again the pop-up flea will present shoppers a wide range of beautifully made goods, brought by a curated and unique mix of american and british brands. mind you, there there's hardly a store anywhere that can match the sheer size and quality of these combined offerings. for its second installment in the british capital, the pop-up flea hosts quite a number of leading brands, and this time includes tellason, billykirk, shinola, sunspel, and loft trading. location: old truman brewery, 91 brick lane [spitalfields].

© the pop-up flea

são paulo: prada store opening

© prada

it has only been three years since prada entered the brazilian market, and since then it has rapidly expanded with additional stores in major cities nationwide. but it's in são paulo where the italian luxury brand's biggest and most discerning fanbase resides, and thus a second boutique has recently been added there. contrary to the country's inaugural boutique at jk iguatemi mall, the new store at cidade jardim - the city's other upscale supermall - will also carry prada's coveted men's collections. situated in the ground floor, it features a signature interior design by house architect roberto baciocchi and is replete with all the usual hallmarks. there's the façade in black marble, framed by polished steel. once inside, shoppers first encounter two large spaces presenting the women’s bags and accessories collections and the men’s travel and leather goods collections, amidst a setting of black + white marble chequered flooring and walls covered in matching black marble. furnishings come slim steel and crystal, supplemented by display counters with coloured leather detailing. the women's apparel collections are showcased in various rooms, all decorated in a soft green fabric and dotted with elegant velvet sofas in a similar hue. obviously, the men's department boasts a masculine touch, evidently displayed by ebony floorboards and walls, metal display cases, bold display counters and matching leather sofas. location: shopping cidade jardim, avenida magalhães de castro 12000, ground floor [cidade jardim].

© prada

paris: korea, here and now

© tom greyhound

tom greyhound is an interesting retail concept which popped up earlier this year in the boutique-infested marais area of the french capital. launched by ambitious korean retailer handsome - which owns an eponymous concept store in seoul - it aims to be more than just a store and is gradually morphing into a happening showcase of contemporary korean design and culture. the store currently hosts a concise exhibition which gives shoppers a glimpse of past and present creativity from homeland korea. curated by lo/a, a paris-based creative agency with interests in publishing and retail, the showcase is entitled korea, here and now. what's presented is an eclectic collage of artsy publications which epitomize contemporary korean culture. each booklet is dedicated to a major player, and includes leading artists who've gained international recogniction such as nam june paik, hein-kuhn oh and osang gwon. the presentation is further supplemented by a concise selection of design objects and fashion items [on through jan 3]. location: tom greyhound, 19 rue saintonge [marais].

© tom greyhound

online: aesop presents 'the guild of artisans'

© aesop

australian cosmetics brand aesop honours its fascination - or should we say obsession? - with fine craftsmanship through a striking video accompanying an extensively researched website repository. the video was created in collaboration with the apiary a.k.a. ex-melbourne and now berlin-based film making duo lily coates and gavin youngs. entitled the guild of artisans, it allows aesop to explore in-depth their fascination with craft and a specific focus on textile, timber, leather, copper, marble and ceramic. six in all, the special gift kits are associated with each of the materials and feature a range of aesop products in a reusable tin box. this distinctive collection is available at all aesop signature stores and counters in selected department stores, but can also be purchased online.

© aesop

tokyo: aman tokyo hotel opening

© amanresorts

otemachi tower is the ultimate in skyscraper-chic. soaring upwards to almost 200 meters in the air, the newly opened structure dwarfs most other buildings in otemachi, a business area in the heart of tokyo and located a stone's throw away from the imposing grounds of the imperial palace. it's right here, on the top six floors, where amanresorts' newest retreat is to open its doors next month. a remarkable choice to say the least, as this five-star hospitality chain is arguably best known for idyllic locations in exotic rural settings or on far flung tropical islands. sure, there once was a property in delhi, and since last year a rather grand venetian palazzo ranks on its property list, but it's this venture in tokyo which breaks new grounds, providing amanresorts with its first truly urban presence.

aman tokyo, as it is called, may be nestled in the planet's largest metropolitan area, it's conceptualized as such to emanate a very similar resort-like atmosphere as its far-flung sister establishments, yet with a distinct urban edge. the hotel is designed by kerry hill architects and features 84 guestrooms and suites, all with sweeping views of the city and its landmarks. the spacious deluxe rooms have large foyers and bathrooms, and face the imperial palace gardens. the premier rooms look towards tokyo skytree, while the suites feature spacious open-plan living rooms and pantries. top of the bill are the so-called aman suites, at 157 sqm. [1,690 sq.ft.] one of the grandest pads in town. needless to say, all rooms come with the amenities and facilities modern travelers expect these days.

as with other amanresorts properties, the interior design blends in elements from local culture. classic japanese materials such as camphor wood and washi paper have been paired with contemporary design and modern technology, resulting in various fusion settings with an intriguing kind of elegance. this is most evident in the lobby, situated below a 30-metre high vault covered with screens of washi paper and resembling the interior of a japanese paper lantern. mind you, adding up to the lobby's zen-like serenity is an indoor garden replete with water feature and rock formations. the allure of aman tokyo obviously extends to its facilities, and tokyo being a renowned gourmet capital, the hotel has a few trumps up its sleeves for even the most discerning of palates.

the café by aman specialises in mediterranean-inspired fare, featuring the hotel’s own signature sake, and even offers lunch and dinner with outdoor forest view seating. on the 33rd level, with floor-to-ceiling windows framing views of the imperial palace gardens and a distant mount fuji, the lounge by aman is situated. this is a relaxed meeting place, suitable for a drink or snack. the restaurant by aman serve fine dining with a focus on mediterranean cuisine, including an equally refined selection of japanese and asian inspired dishes. not surprisingly, aman tokyo has a wine list to match, stocking no less than 1,200 carefully selected wines in an impressive glass fronted walk-in wine cellar. and of course fans of good sake won't be disappointed.

adding up to the hotel's meticulously created sense of luxury is a beautifully designed wellness area that occupies 2,500 sqm. [26,910 sq.ft.] spread over two floors. dedicated to total relaxation and health, the area encompasses an aman spa with eight treatment rooms, a fully equipped fitness center, a yoga studio, a pilates studio, and last but not least, a 30-metre swimming pool with, once again, stunning city views. location: otemachi tower, 1-5-6 otemachi, 33rd floor [otemachi].

© amanresorts

global: dior homme a/w 2014 - leather goods

© dior homme

it took just one look at dior homme's a/w 2015 collection to get us totally mesmerized, and each and every item seemed like an essential trophy in our dream wardrobe. well, our craving actually goes beyond the realm of apparel, as style statements usually stand or fall with matching, if not an essential kind of accessories. aptly called les essentiels - indeed, what else? - by dior homme, a concise range of accoutrements is readily available to stand one's ground coming season, regardless of any given volatile fashion circumstances. shown here are three faves that we picked from the collection: a briefcase in black perforated calfskin over gray felt, a portfolio in black calfskin over gray felt with two front pockets, and last bust not least, a zipped coin purse in the same luxe material with a removable key holder. all these items are available at dior homme flagships and shop-in-shops across the planet, in addition to a select number of other depositories.

© dior homme

los angeles: love hultén

© love hultén

love hultén is one crafty guy. hailing from gothenburg, a scenic port city in the south of sweden, hultén is a hybrid, if not peculiar creative. part designer, part craftsman, he merges modern technology with traditional artisan knowledge, creating objects with a unique blend of function and aesthetics. and now, the man showcases his concoctions in los angeles, and where else but at austere, the city's epicenter of all things well-designed and scandinavian. the one-week exhibition, his very first stateside, opens on thu - nov 20 [5pm-8pm] and present a wide range of innovative prototypes and new products, ranging from original concept computers and arcade gaming gemstones in solid wood and precious metals, to modular lamps made from bees wax. hultén's aim is to present highly personal stories with character, playfulness and mystique, and these are something of a rare feat in today's world of mass consumption and throwaway excess. location: 912 south hill street [downtown].

© love hultén

superchat london: other/shop

superchat london: other/shop

founded in 2012 by retail veterans matthew murphy and kirk beattie [pictured above], the duo behind former design shrine - bstore, other/shop has established itself as one of london's more ecclectic destinations for contemporary fashion, design and art. located on a semi clandestine enclave in soho, the store maintains a sense of originality in the fast paced surrounding retail arena of regent and oxford streets. the other/shop ethos is firmly rooted in providing an original blend of designers from a variety of creative walks - with a strong leaning toward individuality over current trends. we caught up with matt to talk shop, creative expansion, the launch of other independent brand, and of course, where to get good fish and chips in the british capital.

can you tell us a bit about both your and kirk's background and the evolution of other/shopkirk and myself have 25 years experience within all areas of the fashion industry and were previously creative directors of bstore, which evolved to become other/shopother was born out of our desire to be independent and our vision was based around our own brand with a selection of various creatives' work from both fashion and art. the aim has always been to provide a personal selection of brands that inspire us and we felt would in turn, inspire our consumer. and of course to support and nurture new talent and offer a view that was more individual.

how do you go about selecting the designers the store carries and the people you collaborate with? any new brand, collaboration and installation have to add something new. we generally select a designer or brand to collaborate with that we feel will inspire our consumer and extend our community. we have a very personal mix of designers, so once you enter the other/shop environment, whether physically or online, they relate with the common link being taste, not trend.

who is the other/shop customer and what’s their story? the other/shop customer is confident and individual, they like to wear clothes not fashion. they take their inspiration from many different cultural references and enjoy the experiences that they lead to.

you chose to set up shop in soho, what sets the area apart from other districts in londonit's the most central part of an ever expanding city and for me personally it has always been the ‘heart’ of london. it has a life and energy that is incomparable to any other city. the characters that reside here, and the institutions that have seen different artists, musicians and icons pass through their doors, are still alive and welcoming the next generation - constantly reinventing soho.

with london's retail landscape booming, we're seeing an influx of foreign brands flooding the market. what’s your view on this? we welcome any brand, retailer or restaurant, it adds colour and diversity to the city and reinforces london's reputation as one of the best shopping destinations to visit. our only concern is that london maintains space for new concepts and brands to survive.

do you plan on opening more brick and mortar stores into the future, or will the focus be online? the strategy is to focus on brand and store awareness through our site and with presence in a small selection of international high level stores. we have started working with dover street market and have an other/man corner in their london store, a presence in ginza [tokyo] and also in new york. our selected brand expansion would be to use the relationship with dover street market as a platform to partner with other like-minded retailers. although our vision is to keep other/shop unique and fresh, which we feel means only one physical store, in the future we would love to open other/space. it would be an ever evolving space that can house the installations, pop-ups and collaborations on a bigger scale.

tell us a bit about your in-house brand - other - how many seasons have you released so far and what is its dna? other/collection launched on a small scale for in store only in september 2012 but the full collection official brand launch is ss15 with a capsule aw14 collection online and in store now [some images below]. the concept was to create a desirable, timeless and wearable staple collection with an androgynous look. the key focus of the collection is to complement both the mix of designers we stock and our consumers wardrobes. it will continue to evolve with signature styles and key seasonal product, when our customer needs it.

other s/s 2015 launches soon, can you tell us a bit about the new collection? for s/s 2015 we took inspiration from the photography of jackie nickerson, particularly her body of work entitled farm, which was a photographic study of farm workers in south africa. we took direct influence from the way the workers dressed and the way their clothes were adapted for the job in hand but had a close connection between the aesthetic and the practical. we felt that this was similar utilitarian and ‘everyday’ ethos to how we wanted the other/collection wearer to enjoy their clothes. fabrics are always important to our design process and we worked with british and italian mills on creating durable fabrics with luxury elements. silk and linen mixes for menswear, crushed, washed and technical silk and cottons for women’s, all in muted hues of blue, grey and whites. we then added an injection of colour and fun with a commissioned hand drawn polka print by artist saskia pommeroy.

can you give us a few recommendations? what are your local haunts and where should we be when in londoni have lived in south east london with my wife and daughter for 14 years and we are big fans of this virtually untapped part of town. this said, peckham has become my new destination of choice and there are some great new places to eat, drink and hangout. some favorite haunts are maddy’s fish bar in new cross, a japanese influenced english fish and chip shop, great fish in dill and tempura batter. south london gallery in between peckham and camberwell, great exhibitions, art bookshop and fantastic café/restaurant called No.67. brockley food market every saturday morning has become a bit of a hang out and serves great coffee from local roasters dark fluid. finally for a boozy late night and a very good cocktail three, eight, four on cold harbour lane in brixton is just the ticket. their very own recipe negroni and tabasco sauce popcorn are well worth the hangover.

other/shop is located at 21 kingly street london W1B 5QA uk.