london: carhartt w.i.p. store opening

© french+tye

although carhartt w.i.p. already operates three stores in london, it sees room for further growth and the streetwear brand recently added a new branch at pancras square, a new urban redeveloped project right in the kings cross area of town. occupying a 2,500 sq.ft. [[232 sqm.] ground floor unit, it features an interior design by british designer faye toogood that breaks away from the metal-infused aesthetic of most of the brand's previous boutiques across europe and beyond. the design obviously remains utilitarian-inspired, but it has been cleverly reinterpreted in a cleaner and more polished way, featuring a palette of concrete flooring with upright edges on two sides of the retail space, canvas wall panels and a grid configuration of metal pendant lamps. furnishings comprise of a series of differently sized displays and counters, crafted from hardwearing materials in warms tones of deep brown and tan, and taking cues from iconic carhartt w.i.p. garments. the fitting rooms and storage space are situated on a mezzanine floor that's defined by metal grid panels in a matching black hue. also to be found on the premises is a custom-built coffee counter, adorned with a whimsical dripping motif, and operated in partnership with renowned coffee roasters allpress. location: 2 pancras square, shop 3 [kings cross].

© french+tye

moscow: big wine freaks bar opening

© b-arch

indeed, what's in a name? but when an establishment is called big wine freaks, it doesn't exactly conjure up images of a refined place where one elegantly sips wine. well, not in russia. as a country known for adhering to its own set of rules and codes on many levels, this staet of mind frequently results in quirky and bold names within the realm of lifestyle, travel, consumer goods, or in this case, the field of hospitality. founded a few years ago in the historic heart of st. petersburg by entrepreneurs vladimir basov and artem tskhakaya, the duo have a number of venues under their belt, but now up the ante by opening a new branch in a much bigger and more challenging arena: the russian capital moscowsituated on bustling ulitsa bolshaya nikitskaya, and a stone's throw away from the landmark kudrinskaya square building, the premises are decidedly more plush, and as such, totally in tune with the taste level of well-heeled muscovites.

so, contrary to what its name implies, big wine freaks new outpost oozes upscale charm, thanks to the skillful interventions of b-arch, an italian design practice based in prato. the chosen aesthetic projects an ornate pseudo-russian style, and is captured by rich materials – mind you, there's a lot of velvet to be found – and a balanced infusion of colour. walls are covered in coloured panels that almost reach up to the ceiling, but still expose a strip of red bricks. it forms the backdrop of a setting that, thanks to sophisticated lighting, has a slight fairy-like quality. the focal point of the design is a large suspended brass ring with built-in llight spots. right below, high tables with velvet-clad chairs situated. in the corner, an elongated sofa and three bucket seats offer an alternative seating arrangement.

the setting is more loungy, and comes with a crystal chandelier, a colourful silk rug, and unobstructed views of the stalinist landmark building. so, big wine freaks is first and foremost a wine bar, stocking a tightly curated selection of imported premium wines from the champagne, bordeaux and burgundy regions in france, and they're all served under the watchful eye of andrey larin, an experienced sommelier who honed his skills at reputable watering holes across moscow. the noble fluids are obviously paired with matching bites, and it's here where chef marat kalajian comes into the picture. his menu lists a string of tasty fingerfood dishes, but patrons with a big appetite can indulge in a number of proper restaurant-size dishes as well. location: ulitsa bolshaya nikitskaya 62/3 [presnenskiy].

© b-arch

london: balenciaga copyshop

© dover street market

by now, we're all aware that demna gvasalia knows how to create tidal waves in the global fashion pond. but then again, his genius has such depth that you never know what's coming next on and off the runway. the master's latest trick is a brilliant interactive installation at dover street market's stellar flagship in london. so, two workstations are set up as an office-style printing facility that allow the balenciaga fanbase to self-configure their own designs to be produced instantly. this means you can access a library of balenciaga graphics and logotypes via computer touch-screens, manipulate their own placement, and press 'send to print' to wear the final result. the installation is adorned by a sculpture of american artist mark jenkins [1970] and video screens. mind you, the products are for women and men, and available in white, grey, black, red and two alternative fits [on through dec 17]. in tandem with this installation, the eagerly anticipated balenciaga triple s sneaker has also just launched here. location: dover street market, 18-22 haymarket [st. james's].

© dover street market

toronto: hermès store opening

© hermès / photography: evan dion

as canada's luxury market has grown at an accelerated pace in recent years, the house of hermès is anticipating to keep abreast, opening a brand new flagship store in what arguably is the nation's most exclusive shopping zone: toronto's yorkville area. situated only a few metres from the former store location on bloor street, the new premises measure approx. 6,000 sq.ft. [557 sqm.] spread over two floors, making it one of the brand's largest retail spaces in north america. hermès has gone the extra yard to make a statement, and has also given the store a fitting new brick façade with beveled windows and large recessed windows. the interior design is another collaboration with paris-based architecture practice rdai, and sees the all of brand's discreet design codes, captured by a palette of rich natural materials.

the store's focal point undoubtedly is the imposing staircase that winds upwards, paved in white marble, encompassed in cherry wood, and accented with a leather handrail. the collection of silk scarves is situated around this staircase, and nearby is the jewellery area. just beyond is a section dedicated to the full range of fragrances, behind which is the men’s department. one floor up is the domain of the home collection, and this sees the debut of hermès furniture and lighting in the city. also to be found here is the elaborate women’s collection, the range of coveted trophy handbags and small leather goods. to coincide with the opening, the hermès store stocks a number of special products developed exclusively for toronto. location: 100 bloor street west [yorkville].

© hermès / photography: evan dion

amsterdam: amsterdam

© the garage

british graffiti artist ben eine [1970] is arguably best known for his lettering marks on shop shutters in streets across london and a handful of european cities. initially starting out in the underground scene, the artist later crossed over to a more established context, gaining global recongnition along the way. and now, eine has arrived in amsterdam to release his amsterdam print at the garage on sat – dec 9 [2pm]. the two-colour screen print measures 48 x 48 cm, and comes in a limited edition of only 50. it features the artist's iconic vandal font on 300 gsm hahnemühle 100% cotton paper. mind you, it's signed, dated and numbered, and makes a true collection item. snap one up at the release event, or if you can't make it, purchase yours online. location: the garage, brouwersgracht 75 [centrum].

© the garage

munich: izakaya restaurant opening

© the entourage group

the japanese-peruvian food trend is gaining new momentum on the old continent with an increasing number of protagonists, but few have banked on it with such pizzazz as izakaya. the restaurant, one of the trump cards of the entourage group, an amsterdam-based hospitality firm, pairs meticulously created dishes with lively, contemporary settings that have become a favoured playground of today's urban hedonist. following establishments in the dutch capital, hamburg, and ibiza, the ambitious pan-european rollout has seen the recent launch of a fourth outpost in munich. the restaurant is situated on the premises of roomers, a new design-led boutique property in the rapidly transforming schwanthalerhöhe area of town.

izakaya's interior design is created by concrete, an acclaimed design agency based in amsterdam, and comprises of dark-coloured materials and contrasting lighter elements, predominantly capture by a ceiling of oak beams that form a beautiful graphic backdrop. the ground floor space features a variety of seating areas, including tables for two, a large communal table, leather-clad booths, and there's also a bar where to hang out for pre-dinner drinks. the setting has a distinct contemporary look, and given the inclusion of natural materials, it's welcoming and snug. the no frills directive has been lifted for a single item: a sizeable fish, intricately crafted from birch wood, dangling from the ceiling like a prized trophy. and that's not all, folks!

the dining concept comes with the so-called hidden room, a plush secluded lounge dipped in a vibrant red hue and replete with a dj booth. needless to say, it's just perfect for jolly banter until the wee little hours. playing a pivotal role in izakaya's shared dining concept is chef hariprasad shetty who has masterfully concocted a string of tasty signature dishes. the menu lists a string of sushi and sashimi variations, all tweaked with peruvian herbs, but also grilled delicacies and fish dishes prepared on a traditional hibachi. as for drinks, offerings are equally abundant. the drinks menu features a curated selection of wines, cocktails, but also sake options and homemade tonics with an infusion of japanese shochu. as the izakaya concept resonates well internationally, the mother company has set its sights on milan to open there in the near future, along with two other dining formulas. location: roomers, landsbergerstrasse 68, ground floor [schwanthalerhöhe].

© the entourage group

tokyo: kimono roboto

© melco resorts

based in the global entertainment hub of macau and operating a string of casinos, hotels and reastaurants on home turf, and since 2015 also in manila, melco resorts is wooing the affluent japanese market with a high-profile exhibition at omotesando hills mall in tokyo. the showcase, entitled kimono roboto, celebrates the rich heritage of the kimono garment as interpreted by leading international contemporary artists. the exhibition presents a collection of thirteen museum-quality kimonos created by japanese living national treasures and imperial family-appointed artisans using weaving techniques unseen in over a century. the garments are presented in a scenography by acclaimed paris-based design agency bureau betak, featuring visuals designed by creative duo warren du preez and nick thornton jones.

embedded in the show is the global launch of björk’s latest music video in which she wears the furisode kimono, the exquisite centerpiece with tabane noshi design by traditional kimono company chiso that took no less than two years to recreate. additionally, top fashion photographer peter lindbergh presents the kimonos in a high fashion tableau, while koichiro doi, a renowned japanese fashion and beauty photographer, unveils a set of still life portraits of the garments. mind you, melco resorts has been brooding on this project since 2014, after first commissioning the recreation of the 23 kimono pieces, each presenting characteristics of regions from across japan. as said, thirteen have made the cut to be displayed here [on through dec 10]. location: omotesando hills, 4-12-10 jingumae, level b3 [harajuku].

© melco resorts

vancouver: leisure center opening

© leisure center / photography: simone bossi

in terms of luxury retail, vancouver has come quite comfortably into its own, and has increasingly become home to interesting independent multibrand boutiques in recent years. sure, canada's growing affluence contributes a to this development, but the city also happens to be a magnet for a new generation of movers and shakers, and this has put a turbo spin on the retail scene and other sectors of the local economy. an striking new arrival in the leafy yaletown area is indicative of the city's stature as a shopping destination to watch. it's name? leisure center. but while some may think it has a whimsical ring, the store takes fashion very seriously, offering curated top brands in a cool contemporary context young vancouverites have never encountered, at least, not on home turf.

founded by mason wu and muyun li, an entrepreneurial couple with a combined background in finance, fashion and retail, the store aims to cater to a savvy and well-travelled young consumers with a cosmopolitan view on fashion and lifestyle. leisure center occupies a 22,000 sq.ft. [[2,044 sqm.] space, set across the ground floor of basement of a heritage building from the 1930s, and commissioned architecture practice casper mueller kneer to create an interior that captures the founders' forward vision. oozing a strong industrial vibe, the ground floor aesthetic is defined by large panels of shiny aluminum that lend the vast space some intimacy. the austere industrial setting forms a perfect backdrop for a number of statement artworks, such as a car sculpture – yes, it's the one incorporating a dissected chevrolet camaro rally sport – by canadian artist myfanwy mcleod and light exhibitions by os ∆ oos.

downstairs in the basement section, the setting is equally understated, comprising of black glass and featuring a string of gathering areas, including a seminar room, a kids space, a presentation capsule, and a visual studio. and that's not all, folks. tthe intensive retail therapy offered by leisure center comes with a tonic bar stocked with concoctions sourced from new york city-based apothecary the alchemist’s kitchen, a curated library by donlon books from london, and custom soundtracks by local musicians, all curated by jonny nash. as said, leisure center takes fashion seriously, and as such it relies on creative director john skelton who previously honed his skills at innovative retailers oki-ni and ln-cc. the quirky brand list currently includes fashion brands balenciaga, geoffrey b. small, vetements, yohji yamamoto and m.a+, cosmetics by haeckels, bioeffect, and herb essntls, and a mix of lifestyle items by vitra, mad et len and tom dixon. location: 950 homer street [yaletown].

© leisure center / photography: simone bossi

paris: saint laurent x b&o play

© b&o

the era of colette draws to a close, and in true concept-store-of-concept-stores style, the final store take-over has been reserved to saint laurent, the new and upcoming occupant of these sacred shopping premises. as part of event, the french brand has teamed up with b&o play, the danish home sound system brand, releasing three a co-signed series of three collector objects. the beoplay a9 with saint laurent is an extremely powerful and flexible music streaming system, featuring an all-black design with the crocodile-embossed cocco matis leather on the legs, black anodization on aluminum ring, and silver printed saint laurent logo on the back. the built-in access to major streaming providers such as apple airplay, spotify connect and chromecast built-in ensures easy and convenient streaming from all digital devices and access to millions of songs and curated playlists.

the beoplay h9 with saint laurent are luxurious wireless headphones that not only look good, but also feature a signature sound. with an all-black design, enriched by perforated black lambskin cushions and an engraved aluminum disc with b&o and saint laurent logos, an intuitive touch interface, advanced active noise cancellation, and up to 14 hours of wireless music. last but not least, there's the beoplay p2 with saint laurent, a truly personal and fully portable bluetooth speaker with a rich, full-bodied sound. featuring an all-black design with premium metallic silver saint laurent logo on the front aluminum grill, the device offers up to 10 hours of signature sound on one battery charge and is designed to enhance and amplify the audio experience with a 360-degree sound dispersion and speech sensitivity. all three products are only available at colette, but if you reside elsewhere you can also make a purchase online until dec 20. store location: 213 rue st.-honoré [st.-honoré].

© b&o

tokyo: chanel flagship store renewal

© chanel

the sheer volume of luxury retail is what sets ginza apart from most other shopping areas of the japanese capital. it's also unparalelled compared to many a ritzy shopping strip abroad as well, given the exceptionally sophisticated preferences of local shoppers. in short, it's a context which resonates on a global level, and one in which leading luxury brands eagerly aim to be present, or in the case of chanel, to even further raise its profile. the french luxury house has had significant a presence in the neighbourhood with two flagship stores for quite some time. and now, the outpost on bustling namiki dori, which initially opened in 1994 as its first japanese standalone boutique, has been given a thorough makeover, and will officially open its doors again today.

the revamp, supervised by new york city-based architect peter marino, took almost three years, and has not only resulted in new interiors, but has also given the nine-storey building a striking new façade. it's clad with black and white panels with a matte texture that allude to chanel's iconic colour palette, and for period of two months only, the structure is also adorned with artwork by japanese artist shuji mukai [1940]. upon entering the ground floor, shoppers find themselves amidst the brand's ollection of trophy bags and accessories, displayed on a sleek shelving and custom-made cabinets. on the second floor the aesthetic shifts to a softer palette captured by beige carpeting and matching furnishings. it's here where shoes and more accessories are presented.

on the third floor the ready-to-wear collection and more bags can be found. one floor up, more garments and bags can be found amidst a setting defined by gold and black accents. the chanel store is dotted with cherry-picked artworks by a string of international contemporary artists that not only add a personal touch, but also heighten the sense of luxury. the range of pieces include an ink painting by heinz mack, a bronze relief by anthony pearson, and a painting by gregor hildebrandt. what makes this chanel flagship stand out is a facility on the eighth floor called le salon beauté, which as its name already implies, is a full-fledged beauty salon offering a fusion of western and oriental facial and body treatment programmes. the top floor is home to le salon privé, an exclusive event space. location: 6-7-19 ginza [ginza].

© chanel