amsterdam: hermèsmatic pop-up store

© hermès

the house of hermès adds a fashionable twist to the chore of doing laundry. well, sort of, as it's related to the brand's coveted silk scarves only. presented under the witty moniker of hermésmatic, the luxury brand allows owners of an iconic hermès silk scarf, or carré, to have the item transformed by way of a complimentary dyeing procedure in a specially conceived mini laundromat environment. such a temporary venue has just opened at de bijenkorf department store in amsterdam, replete with all the prerequisite machinery in an orange-infused demarcated space – yes, even seats are included. how does it work? well, it's almost like at an actual laundromat. one picks a fave colour, and then one of the dyeing  programs, and last but not least, the tweaked scarf will be put in a special dryer to regain its smoothness. and all in just 48 hours. additionally, the hermèsmatic pop-up store presents a collection of dip-dye scarves featuring a series of designs from the luxury brand's archives [open through oct 16]. this pop-up store is one of an initial series that has been launched, along with pop-ups in munich, strasbourg and kyoto. location: de bijenkorf, dam 1, ground floor [centrum].

© hermès

superchat amsterdam: roberto di rosa

© officine creative – company directors luca di rosa [left] and his brother roberto di rosa [right].

based in the mountain village of montegranaro in italy's marche region, artisanal shoe brand officine creative has been a major innovator in the industry, creating leather treatment techniques that have contributed to a different perception and understanding of luxury. as a family-run business, the dynamics of its operations are guided by the insights of the company's fraternal directors luca and roberto di rosa. pairing common sense with a strong conviction in their product range, the brothers steer clear from any corporate expansion model, and strictly opt for an organic growth of their business. the recent opening of an officine creative store smack in the middle of amsterdam's historic canal district stems from a longtime business relationship and friendship with local entrepreneurs, and bears exact witness of this approach. so, when the company's managing director and men's designer roberto di rosa headed to the dutch capital to visit the alluring new outpost, superfuture sat down with him for a little chat about the company, the new boutique, and obviously, beautiful handmade shoes.

officine creative has been pioneering leather techniques such washing, burnishing and dying since its inception in 1998. it has become a trade mark of the company. how relevant is research and innovations for you today, and how do you aim to distinguish officine creative from other shoe brands? well, when i started the company in the mid-1990s the fashion arena was quite saturated, there were just so many brands. i felt i needed to create a different kind of product with a different aesthetic, not only to stand out, but also to provide a foundation for further growth. when we launched our brand, we created a variety of leather treatments to attain a distressed or worn look. actually, it was on a trial and error basis, because it was all new to us.

interestingly, during that time things were looking up economy-wise in italy, but there was a trend among more affluent consumers to flaunt a scruffy, i would even say, 'trashy' kind of style. that look was considered the pinnacle of cool back then. it has persisted to this very day, but has evolved into a more sophisticated and luxurious form. these days, it's all about a certain quality and refinement that's instantly noticeable. the techniques we apply today have evolved as well, we now acquire the patina effect in a more sophisticated way. for example, we still wash our leathers to achieve that effect the same way, but instead of using rough natural stones, we've now opted for ceramic stones that have a much more subtle effect.

to me, the finishing and treatment of the leather is pivotal to the brand, and actually, the research and innovation never stops at officine creative. by the way, most shoe brands use calfskin leather for obvious reasons: it's soft and smooth, but we don't use it. our style is largely based on skins of animals who've actually had a life. so, instead we choose skins of grown animals, be it buffalo, horse, camel, lama or kangaroo. as a small company, we simply need to be on top of our game and plan our future, and speaking as the company's managing director, it's some sort obsession, ha! our next step always needs to revolve around a product that's even more beautiful and sophisticated, it's as simple as that. 

could you elaborate on your design team, the creative process, and where do you usually find inspiration? we've been in love with the military look and worker style for quite some time now. the inspiration could come from service shoes or worker shoes, but we'll tweak these into the right proportions, and make sure the total look is less casual, and obviously infused with a solid officine creative feel. the design team comprises of my brother luca and myself, and about ten other people, all freelancing specialists who we rally for specific projects. generally, we draw inspiration from real life. our many trips abroad provide a good deal of useful bits and pieces that help us create our products.

what's your take on fashion’s seasonal cycles, how do you view officine creative’s place within the realm of luxury? i think these days the definition of luxury has become a multi-faceted one. there's this classic category of so-called bling-bling brands that projects dreams and aspirations, whereas officine creative is about luxury that's much more rooted in reality. i must say, it's pretty tough to compete with brands in the aformentioned category. as a small company we have less means, for advertising for example, and the only way to sustain growth for us, is through creating a good product.

© officine creative – creative director and women's designer luca di rosa and managing director and men's designer roberto di rosa at the office.

how important are new luxury markets such as china, south korea and india to your company, and do you have an outlined plan to cater to these countries? honestly, the only way for us is to wait until they knock on our door. you know why? these markets have an entirely different culture and different sensibilities. our shoes have a very specific look and feel, and i believe it's not yet full understood and appreciated there. i witnessed some ten years ago how many italian shoe brands entered the russian market with a country-specific strategy that resulted in an adapted marketing and even styles. their success proved to be limited, as in a few years' time, the taste level of russian consumer had drastically changed. in the end, russians increasingly opted for beautifully made shoes with an authentic story. our strategy is simply to wait until these countries are ready for our products.

we read that you’re company sponsors poderosa basket, a basketball team in your hometown, and we couldn't help but wonder if supporting the local community is part of doing business in the region? haha, well yes! when i was young during the 1980s my hometown was famous the world over for manufacturing shoes, and basketball was the only form of entertainment, so to speak. i actually had this dream to become a professional basketball player. i used to train a lot, but i lacked a specific height to be able to pursue such a career. so, in the end i thought it would be better to pursue a more serious career. but i still have a huge passion for the game, and obviously love to support the team. and yes, you could indeed say that giving back to the community is part of doing business where i'm from.

what is the profile of the officine creative customer? do you think the style sensibilities and preferences of italian clients are different from non-italians? i don't know. i've always thought of officine creative as a cosmopolitan brand and not as an italian brand. when we create a collection, we always picture london as the planet's leading style hub. so, if what we create is good for london, it'll be good for new york city, amsterdam, you name it. you know, it's only been during the past three years that italian males have discovered our brand. our shoes are generally intended for men and women with a bit of an attitude, if you know what i mean, people who truly appreciate and understand quality.
how important is a brick and mortar presence for officine creative? do you have a strategy at hand to roll out a retail network? as said, our company grows organically, so there's no strategy. of course having a store enables us to receive direct feedback from customers, have a better unerstanding of the retail business, and last but not least, it's a way to promote our brand. two years ago i couldn't have dreamed to manage a store, but eventually we opened our very first boutique last year in paris
what made you decide to open a store in the dutch capital? and can you tell us something about the design of the store? officine creative owes its success to a handful of countries, and the netherlands is one of them. it's a country i love, and there's a huge appreciation for our shoes here. also, i have a longtime relationship with the local entrepreneurs that have helped to set up this new boutique. as for the interior design of the shop here in amsterdam, the concept is inspired by a bank vault, hence the many deposit lockers, and it'll actually be the blueprint for future stores like the one we'll be opening in new york. but it's not a definitive design concept as i'd like to approach it as life itself, tweaking it along the way. for the amsterdam store i'm actually considering to add marble wall paneling for a heightened sense of luxury.
do you have plans for the future that you can reveal, new product ranges or any collaborations with other brands?  during the past twenty years i have collaborated on a few occasions with other brands, but that was in my capacity as an individual designer. it has been a means to finance endeavours within my company. othe than that, we were thinking about designing a jacket, but we cancelled the project because we realized we lacked experience to execute it properly. an expansion of our product range depends on timing and experience. it's also something which needs to grow organically.

tokyo: blue bottle café opening

© schemata / photography: takumi ota

few nations are as coffee-obsessed as japan, and offerings even come in a variety unknown in countries traditionally linked to consumption of the black liquid. blue bottle coffee is an oakland-based coffee roaster which first entered the japanese market early last year, establishing a roastery annex café in the east of tokyo. since then, it has steadily expanded its retail operations to prime locations across the japanese capital, and only recently added a new café in the roppongi area. blue bottle coffee has a cult status stateside, and is not only successfully carving a niche for itself this side of the pacific through its products, but also by way of sleekly designed cafés.

the new outpost in roppongi, situated on the ground floor tri-seven roppongi, a new mid-rise structure, is a renewed collab with local architecture practice schemata. boasting a similar understated aesthetic as previous establishments, furnishings are made of basswood plywood, covering most of the walls, and these predominantly comprise of a regular repetition of cabinets with doors. meanwhile strict regularity is moderated by inserting irregular grids of frames that encase several doors. right behind the glass façade seating arrangements are situated, backed up by a communal table with stools at the far end of the café. location: tri-seven roppongi building, 7-7-7 roppongi [roppongi].

© schemata / photography: takumi ota

são paulo: casa triângulo relocation

© metro arquitetos / photography: leonardo finotti

since its foundation by ricardo trevisan in 1988, casa triângulo quickly developed into one of são paulo's leading contemporary art galleries and a major launch pad for emerging brazilian artists, and has been on top of its game ever since. earlier this year, the gallery relocated to a new and striking purpose-built structure in jardim américa, a leafy residential neighbourhood in the heart of the city. created in collab with brazilian architecture practice metro arquitetos, the architecture is as such that its 500 sqm. [5,382 sq.ft] of exhibition space is quite versatile in use, and that's partly due to the exceptional ceiling heights. the venue is basically conceived as a single large volume, featuring two exhibition areas, archive space, offices and support areas spread over two floors.

as is instantly evident, a large part of the new building's identity is defined by the materials used, and most prominently the translucent polycarbonate panels that wrap around the lower façade, effortlessly allowing floods of natural light to fill the interior. as an intentional design spillover, casa triângulo's immediate surrounds perfectly match the building's design concept. the front of the building is defined by a court yard demarcated by a long pre-cast concrete bench, and by an extension of the cement flooring of the gallery, a second gravel-covered public courtyard further emphasizes the distinct urban aesthetic. location: rua estados unidos 1324 [jardim américa].

© metro arquitetos / photography: leonardo finotti

tokyo: hermès – the nature of men pop-up store

© hermès japon

not surprisingly, it's in tokyo where the house of hermès has launched a collection of limited edition items with a certain street cred called the nature of men. known as a city that's home to a large demographic of highly discerning males, the paris-based luxury brand presents products created under the supervision of its revered men's fashion director véronique nichanian. the goods comprise of a t-shirt, a pair of sneakers, a sweater, and leather wallets and card holders, and these items are presented in a specially designed pop-up store setting in what's widely considered the holy grail of men's fashion to many tokyoites: isetan shinjuku [open through nov 8]. preceding the opening of the nature of men pop-up store, an elaborate live painting event with digital installation was held at a gallery space in shibuya, whilst another live painting event and performance is scheduled on oct 8 and 9 [11am-7pm] at the r/o-426 store in harajuku. and obviously, the hermès flagship store in ginza has dedicated a special window installation to the collection, created by artist seiichi sato a.k.a. rhizomatiks. pop-up location: isetan shinjuku, 3-14-1 shinjuku, third floor [shinjuku]. harajuku event location: 4-26-18 harajuku [harajuku].

© isetan

venice: t fondaco dei tedeschi opening

© dfs group

could this be the most beautiful store on the planet? it has all the credentials, and on top of that, a breathtakingly beautiful location on a storied waterway that is the canal grande in venice. we're talking t fondaco dei tedeschi, the long anticipated first foray into the european market of luxury retailer dfs group. better known in the far east, australia and the u.s. – mind you, the hong kong-based company is actually a subsidiary of luxury conglomerate lvmh – it operates a sizeable network of both airport stores and downtown boutiques branded as t galleria – in case you wondered, the t stands for traveller. the new outpost obviously falls in the latter category, hence the name t fondaco dei tedeschi.

the once influential merchant city may not be your typical shopping paradise, but in the realm of tourism venice is firmly anchored in the upper ranks of europe's most popular destinations, luring plentiful of well-heeled globetrotters to its doorstep along the way. situated right next the iconic rialto bridge, the store holds court in an imposing 13th century building that once served as center of commerce between east and west, featuring no less than 7,000 sqm. [75,347 sq.ft.] of retail space. the historic landmark structure has been meticulously renovated by dutch starchitect rem koolhaas and his oma practice, and was then given a luxurious interior design by london-based architect jamie fobert.

on the ground floor level, originally a medieval courtyard that has now been fitted out with a glass roof, the concept boutiques of bottega veneta and gucci are situated, in addition to sections for a range of italian fashion accessories and jewellery. also to be found here is a carefully selected assortment of food, wine and gifts that celebrate the excellent local craftsmanship and the italian zest for life. one floor up, by way of a red-hued escalator, women’s fashion, jewelry and accessories collections from the gamut of luxury are presented in alluring settings. the second floor is a treasure trove of watches, along with a tightly curated selection of men’s fashion and accessories.

the city's most exclusive women's shoe salon sits on the third floor, in addition to an elaborate showcase of beauty and fragrance products. and that's not all, folks. directly above, there's an entire floor dedicated to exhibitions and events, and intended as a cultural meeting place for venetians and visitors alike. the space also features a rooftop terrace with sweeping views of the canal below and the venetian lagoon. the venue's inaugural show comprises of a video installation entitled under water by italian multimedia artist fabrizio plessi. location: calle del fontego dei tedeschi 5350 [san marco].

© dfs group

london + paris: gosha rubchinskiy eau de toilette

© comme des garçons

well, we didn't see this one coming! gosha rubchinskiy, the russian streetwear wunderkind and comme des garçons protégé, will be releasing his first fragrance, dropping exclusively in at london's dover street market [1] and comme des garçons trading museum in paris [2] on sat – oct 8 before the global launch in january. a fresh and distinctly urban scent, it'll be visually translated through rubchinskiy’s new photography book, entitled the perfume book, creating an overpowering sensory experience. but let's go back to the fragrance. the concept is aptly very street, taking cues from skateboarding on a summer day – on an abandoned industrial site in suburban moscow, we reckon.

so, imagine wheels burning on the hot concrete sidewalk, and the smells of rubber and tar colliding to create a scent of glorified youth and freedom. the rounded bottle comes in an eye-catchng packaging that's fiery red, simply as an homage to historic russian perfumes. fittingly, it has a wooden cap inspired by the raw materials of skateboards. the ingredients picked for this quirky fragrance by perfumer alexis dadier? top: angelica root essence, buchu essence, mid: mandarin seed essence, blue chamomile essence. dry: styrax essence, vetiver essence and patchouli essence. location [1]: 18-22 haymarket [st. james's]. location [2]: 54 rue du faubourg st.-honoré [st.-honoré].

© comme des garçons

los angeles: the webster store opening

© the webster / photography: jeri koegel

when in los angeles, it's the best excuse to wander off the downtrodden shopping trails of beverly hills and west hollywood for. we're talking the webster's newly opened outpost in costa mesa. well-known in savvy fashion circles for razor-sharp women's and men's collections curated by owner laure hédiard-dubreuil, the store has picked a location at south coast plaza, a preferred destination for the area's well-heeled, to present its hailed mix of styles and brands. very similarly, the interior design is carefully balanced affair with homey touches, creating a sophisticated, salon-like atmosphere. furnishings comprise of both custom and antique furniture pieces by well-known designers from across the planet, including kazuhide takahama, nada debs and milo boughman. adding up to the sophisticated vibe are a number of carefully sourced artworks. as said, the webster is known for its collections, and the new boutique obviously honours that reputation, stocking both forward and niche brands such as  off-white, proenza schouler, dior, olympia le-tan, and thom brownelocation: south coast plaza, 3333 bristol street, shop 2889 [costa mesa].

© the webster / photography: jeri koegel

global: lvc 9th street exhibition collection

© levi's 

yes indeed, denim never goes out of style. but still, each year levi’s vintage clothing dives into its vast archives to come up with even more options to choose from, recreating iconic items that capture the spirit and heritage of the brand. for this coming season, levi's vintage clothing gains a distinct artistic edge as it channels the revolution of american art in the mid-1940s, when abstract expressionism suddenly blossomed new york city and captivated post-world war II america. to celebrate this groundbreaking artistic wellspring, levi's vintage clothing presents a collection around the so-called 9th street exhibition, a landmark show from 1951 in downtown new york that redefined the contemporary avant-garde. each look of this levi’s vintage clothing look collection reimagines the exhibition and all those artists who showed their work there, including jackson pollock, willem de kooning and helen frankenthaler. mind you, some of the items come with surprisingly detailed paint splatter and distressing, shown here are three pieces form the collection that we particularly like.

© levi's

london: away pop-up store

© away

following the launch of a temporary retail space at homebase new york city last may, newly established travel goods brand away has crossed the big pond to open a pop-up in london's happening shoreditch district. situated just off redchurch street, the neighbourhood's main shopping artery. the interior design is a collab with local creatve consultancy campbell-rey, and presents an eclectic retail setting that's fitting for both its innovative luggage line and a curated selection of compatible products from other emerging brands. each month, the shop will draw inspiration from a different travel destination – as the exotic tiles at the far end of the store clearly signal, this month it's sunny marrakesh – as well as partner with london-based companies, such as frame, farm girl, our/london, propercorn, qnola, and suitcase magazine, to host a program of events, workshops, and talks. the away pop-up store will be operational for the next three months. location: 9 club row [shoreditch].

© away