global: off-white a/w 2015 collection

© off-white

a talented jack of all trades, you could say that virgin abloh's focus could be nothing else but highly eclectic, and among the many pools he has dipped his toe in, that specific quality arguably is most evident in his fashion designs. not surprisingly, his off-white clothing line strikes a sensitive chord with a males who can't be bothered to play things safe on the sartorial front. off-white's a/w 2015 collection represents another effortless mash-up of styles that blends streetwear, alpine gear and elements straight out of a track club. the result is a string of silhouettes that ooze street cred, but one with a true fashion statement embedded within. the white font printing, off-white's signature graphic, is visible on specific pieces of the collection. all garments feature quality fabrics and expert finishings, emphasizes the brand's aim to reinforce its position as a growing force to be reckoned with in innovative menswear. shown here are seven looks from the new collection that we particularly like. next to its very own flagship store in hong kongoff-white's a/w 2015 collection is available at select retailers across the planet.

© off-white

tokyo: our favourite shop opening

© our favourite shop / photography: kenta hasegawa

retail in tokyo very often comes in a sophisticated, hybrid variety, unexpectedly popping up in effortlessly designed places, far from the trails trodden by trophy-hunting gaijins. all that can be said of our favourite shop, a newly opened treasure trove in the leafy, largely residential neighbourhood of shirokanedai. the store is a collab effort of ryosuke ueharayoshie watanabe and kenhisa moriya, three leading lifestyle professionals with a background rooted deeply in design and fashion. each of them represents a specific expertise they're totally dedicated to, and now they've teamed up to present their taste and vision in a quirky retail concept that's not only indicative of the japanese capital's constantly evolving retail scene, but also of the innate design sensibilities of its inhabitants in general. our favourite shop is situated on the ground floor of a modern lowrise apartment building.

the interior has been entirely stripped, and features a versatile setting that transcends the parameters of a traditional store. next to its retail function, our favourite shop also aims to be a meeting point of like-minded spirits and a venue where they can enjoy rotating exhibitions. consequently, there's a bar installed and tables and chairs that double as displays. suspended tubular lights add a decorative touch to the exposed utility pipes that meander across the ceiling. as said, our favourite shop's curated offerings reflect the peculiar taste of its founders, and predominantly include products they're professionally linked to. currently stocked are women's items by cacuma, kikof ceramics, whimsical plastic vases by d-bros, ru-q deli products and intricate jewellery designs by etsuko sonobe. location: 5-12-21 shirokanedai [shirokanedai].

© our favourite shop / photography: kenta hasegawa

paris: valentino store opening

© valentino

once the domain of independent boutiques, the marais district has now officially been discovered by luxury brands, and that trend is likely to gain momentum in the coming years. the latest arrival on the block is valentino, the rejuvenated italian brand that has caught global attention these past few seasons with fresh men's and women's collections, making it bounce back straight to fashion relevance. valentino occupies a spacious 104 sqm. [1,120 sq.ft.] ground floor unit on rue des archives, the neighbourhood's new luxury strip, right next to peers from the upper echelons of fashion. it's the brand's second store in paris exclusively dedicated to its highly coveted men's line, and once again features an interior design by david chipperfield, the british architect responsible for the brand's newest stores that have opened around the planet. the aesthetic is one of understatement, captured in clear lines and natural materials. walls lined with stone shelving stone, a terrazzo floor and marble-clad displays form a sophisticated contrasting backdrop for custom-made wooden furnishings. location: 11 rue des archives [marais].

© valentino

los angeles: wetransfer + ace hotel

© ace hotel / photography: liz kuball

wetransfer, the preferred online data transporter of the global creative community, has teamed up with the like-minded folks at ace hotel to take over the billboard – a veritable icon of americana – at the latter's property in downtown los angeles. the billboard project was borne of a mutual desire to carve a space in a new world where sharing ideas is the norm. this specific prerogative will be given to artists from home and abroad, providing them with a very visible platform to broadcast their visions to the city. so, how does it roll? well, wetransfer curates online content and puts it on the billboard, featuring the work of a different artist each month through february of next year, and los angeles-based creative brian roettinger kicks off the series, while renowned poetic messenger robert montgomery and italian design school fabrica will also take part in the billboard project. but that's not all, folks. along with the billboard, each artist will create a component that will be available for digital download through wetransfer, so their work can be also shared with a sizeable global audience of 25 million​ unique users. billboard location: 929 south broadway [downtown].

© ace hotel / photography: liz kuball

london: aesop store opening

© aesop

aesop has expanded yet again in london, and this time it's in holborn where it has set up shop. the new retail venue measures 75 sqm. [807 sq.ft] and features an interior design by local design studio james plumb. as it's often customary with the australian cometics brand, the aesthetic takes cues from the location or neighbourhood, and here it references merchant and benefactor william lambe, who in 1577 funded reconstruction of a conduit to carry water to the city from local springs, and to whom the shop's street is named after. it has resulted in gently flowing water in several contexts, emphasising its capacity to absorb and reflect. an additional inspiration was the notion that certain ‘elemental’ materials embody a comforting sense of innate permanence. the palette consists of a compatible set of natural materials, captured in well-balanced configuration of understated fixtures. in an adjoining space, a more dramatic projection is achieved in a sculptural installation in which water drips from a copper quill into a vessel below. from here, shoppers can proceed into a handsome garden room styled in the manner of a traditional conservatory, and even further into the garden beyond. the aesop store carries the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: 50 lamb's conduit street [holborn].

© aesop

hong kong: circle of life

© above second / photography: kitmin lee

flower power makes a grand comeback, thanks to kirk cheng and above second gallery. the chinese-canadian artist has earned his spurs in striking floral creations for over a decade, having worked for a string of renowned names in the upper echelons of fashion and design. recognizing a similarly intriguing wild streak in cheng's work as in that of the street artists it usually represents, above second gallery collaborated on a showcase which has entirely transformed its exhibition space. entitled circle of life, it aims to acknowledge the importance of flowers in every stage of our lives, while also celebrating the multi-faceted life cycle of flowers, from bud to bloom and beyond. the artworks on display incorporate flowers in season, and which collectively form a narrative of three vertical wall gardens. the presentation is spiced up by a projected timelapse video of this masterpiece, showing not only cheng’s architectural crafting, but also the organic transformation of the stems, petals and leaves before it is painted black [on through aug 29]. location: 9 first street [sai ying pun].

© above second / photography: kitmin lee

new york: boro hotel opening

© boro hotel / photography: floto + warner

the remarkable transformation of williamsburg not only continues to make headlines home and abroad, but also seems to have inspired other neighbourhoods along the east river to gain the limelight. dotted with monumental warehouses and factory buildings and home to a sizeable, artistically inclined demographic, long island city is on its way to become the next big thing. and it's these two aforementioned elements that have proven to be quite beneficial for the area, having laid the foundation of a budding cultural infrastructure – the sculpture centernoguchi museum and moma ps1 already call this neighbourhood home – that pulls a growing number of visitors.

and as the buzz continues, so does the arrival of cool new establishments, and the latest one labeled as such is the boro hotel. the very first design-led boutique property on the block, it features an understated, industrial-inspired interiors by grzywinski+pons, an architecture practice based in new york city. situated in a newly-built, modest highrise, the boro features 108 guestrooms and studios spread over 13 floors. the interior aesthetic makes clever use of the building's concrete shell, pairing it with a consideed palette of materials, colours and fixtures that's appealing to design aficionados and those in search of hospitality with a distinctive edge.

although the lodgings come in various sizes, they all feature floor-to-ceiling windows with sweeping views, custom-made furniture, unique light fixtures, and some even have spacious terraces and balconies. obviously, all these pads feature the modern amenities today's savvy traveler just can't do without, including complimentary hi-speed wifi, a samsung hdmi 40-inch led-tv abd speakman anystream showerheads. and for those who love to splurge, a 600 sq.ft. [56 sqm.] penthouse with a manhattan skyline balcony is readily available. conceptualized as seamless extensions of the rooms, the boro boasts welcoming public spaces with a similar understated style.

there's obviously the lobby, an open space flooded with daylight and sparsely furnished with custom-made pieces. here, arriving guest can self check-in at a communal table, while other sections are totally geared towards chilling out or mingle with other guests. the café bar serves plenty of good stuff, ranging from specialty coffee, cocktails and other beverages, to select bites and complimentary breakfast. soon to be added to the premises are a restaurant with terrace and courtyard seating and a rooftop bar with sweeping views of queens and manhattan. yes, it's easy to see the boro sets a new standard in hospitality in this happening part of town. location: 38-28 27th street [long island city].

© boro hotel / photography: floto + warner

beijing: beyond the walls

© louis vuitton

following the opening late last year at fondation louis vuitton in paris, the very showcase that highlights the venue's spectacular new building by architect frank gehry [1929], entitled beyond the walls, has headed to the far east for a stopover at the louis vuitton maison in beijing. the showcase, instigated by lvmh big boss bernard arnault to recreate the emotion that visitors feel when they discover the building, presents an elaborate insight into the creative world of one of today's leading architects, exploring the design process of fondation louis vuitton's stunning building in the french capital, with original drawings and models produced during the course of the project featured throughout the exhibition [on through aug 9]. interestingly, the acclaimed architect described the iconic building as a vessel that symbolises france’s profound cultural vocation. the show will travel onwards to tokyo coming october and additional stopovers will be announced at a later stage. location: china world shopping mall, 1 jianguomen wai da jie, shop L128 [cbd].

© louis vuitton

melbourne: aesop store renewal

© aesop

launched eight years ago, the aesop store on melbourne's flinders lane was one of the brand's first to open and help cement th brand's reputation for innovative store design. created by local architect rodney eggleston in just five days, it was actually intended as a temporary installation. but the look received such praise, aesop decided to maintain it as a sales outlet. the store has now been given a makeover, using the very same material: industrial cardboard. no less than 1,550 cardboard sheets have been used to create an undulating feature wall which softens, tears and evolves with age. the opposite wall is one of beautiful contrast, featuring a restrained palette of concrete flooring and furnishings of lacquered oak and blackened steel, including a display and sink rolled into one that prominently takes center stage. a sophisticated system of spotlights highlight various sections of the design and products. the renewed aesop store stocks the brand's full range of skin, body and hair care products. location: 268 flinders lane, shop 1c [cbd].

© aesop

amsterdam: the garden which is the nearest to god

© oude kerk / wim hanenberg

standing tall smack in the middle of amsterdam's red light district, the oude kerk – old church in dutch – dwarfs all houses in the area, signifying its great prominence in a bygone era. founded around 1213, it's amsterdam's oldest structure and steeped in history. but if you think the building's appeal is entirely anchored in its past, you've got it wrong. sure, the oude kerk has retained some of its clerical stature, but also serves as one of the dutch capital's most unusual exhibition venues. this summer an audacious new chapter is being added with a little help of tatsuro atzu [1960], a japanese artist known for projects that tweak people's perception and experience of art and architecture. preceding a major roof maintenance check later this year, atzu has been commissioned to create an installation right on top of the building. 

entitled the garden which is the nearest to god, it consists of a rather unusual viewing platform in a celestial white hue and held up high in the air by a myriad of scaffolding, and referencing the classic image of church as a meeting place. the temporary venue is centered around the church's weather vane and the roof turret with clock, and even features a seating arrangement to eye the latter up close. needless to say it's a unique epxerience being up there, giving visitors unique views of amsterdam's oldest neighbourhood. fancy a monumental climb? if so, then click here to book your ticket [open through sep 6]. location: oudekerksplein 23 [centrum].

© oude kerk / photography: wim hanenberg