It is risky to try to express luxury for an 18-28-year-old, wealthy male audience - and not turn them totally off. Rafael de Cardenas of New York's Architecture at Large took on this challenge with the rebuilding of Ubiq Philadelphia, the destination of choice for sneakerheads from far and wide.
As sneakers and streetwear do not lend themselves all that well to wine-colored velvet or chandeliers, de Cardenas approached the redesign of the large store with a cold and bold, simplified black-and-white palette. Hard, black-lacquered surfaces, op-inspired patterns, harsh lighting and simplified displays mix with beautiful detailing and white ceilings and floors.
Thrown into the mix is a posh back room, where streetwear is displayed in a traditional gentlemen's tailor room complete with dark-wood panels, antique furnishings, restored Victorian plasterwork and a magnificent, restored mahogany fireplace. It is all a nice fusion of mansion and showroom, inviting and cold, pared-down and rich. With his approach, de Cardenas has managed to teeter in the wobbly middle-space between the reassuring - 'you can tell this is expensive, can't you?' - and the nonchalant 'I don't really care.'
The entire store is up about a meter from street level, so you can be assured that you are seen, day or night, on display, shopping for your latest pair of Clae, Stussy Deluxe, Vans Vault, Original Fake, UMBRO by Kim Jones and many others. Apparently, rap artist Kanye West has shopped there, so it should be good to go for the rest. By Tuija Seipell
Alexandre Herchcovitch has come a long way since his humble beginnings of making his mother's party clothes. Having launched his first collection in 1994, things have only gotten bigger for the Brazilian-born designer.
Trained at the Catholic institution Santa Marcelina College of Arts in Sao Paulo, his designs have been sent down the runways of New York, Paris and London. Best known for avant-garde designs and eclectic prints, his trademark skulls became an icon of Brazilian youth in the nineties.
2007 was a memorable year for Herchcovitch. It was a year of branching out, particularly with his redesign of the uniform for McDonald's employees in Brazil, and the opening of his first store abroad. In this daring project, Herchcovitch chose Tokyo where a good part of his collections are purchased and where he has become somewhat of a fashion guru.
The 1,076sq ft store, which sits in the hip Daikanyama district carries his men's, women's and denim collections and is operated in partnership with Japanese fashion distributor and retailer H.P. France.
Changing the way the world thinks about Brazilian fashion, coupled with his new Japanese store and concessions in New York, Herchcovitch is fast becoming a big and serious name in the fashion world. By Brendan McKnight.
The much awaited, fabulous, 6,000 square-foot M.A.C Pro space has just opened in New York. Occupying an entire floor at 7 West 22nd Street, the new facility is divided into two separate sections, each with its own entrance: A retail/studio and a training area. Unlike other M.A.C Pro stores around the world, this is a full-blown studio and experimentation facility for make-up artists and beauty professionals. With its dramatic open layout, the space is a true feast for the eyes.
M.A.C Pro's New York store is completely dedicated to serving the pros. At the mixing station, they can hone their skills, test samples and experiment with the product with all of the tools of the trade nearby. The reference library is stocked with books, magazines and other reference materials for those who want to learn more or do research. At the photography studio, they can record their processes and their results. A separate training area, a kitchenette and bathrooms with showers make this an ideal space for some serious learning.
Makeup Art Cosmetics (MAC) launched in 1984 when two Canadians, makeup artist and photographer Frank Toskan and beauty salon owner Frank Angelo, opened a single counter in the basement of the now-defunct Simpson's department store in Toronto. Staffed by professional make-up artists, determined to become the ultimate color authority in make-up, and blessed with an outrageous sense of drama and theatre, M.A.C gained huge popularity among professionals and consumers. The Estee Lauder Companies bought 51 per cent of M.A.C in 1995 and the rest of the shares in 1998. Sleek stores, a vast array of color options, and a sense of professionalism and artistry are still the hallmarks of M.A.C that now has more than 750 stores in 50 countries. By Tuija Seipell.
Sensory overload is unavoidable in Paris, and after a while you become a bit numb. But like a sorbet that clears your palate between courses, Jean-Charles de Castelbajac’s (JC/DC) store at 10 Rue Vauvilliers will work as a visual palate-refresher.
The store has an air of theatre without being theatrical, drama without being dramatic and history without being historical. A retro, semi-aggressive undertone, popped up by whimsy and surprise. Oh yes, they do sell fashion, too.
The store’s flair and ingenuity are not accidental. Cooperation between super-talents such as JC/DC and Christian Ghion is likely to produce something remarkable. In his 40-plus years in the business of high-impact eye candy, the Casablanca, Morocco-born Marquis de Castelbajac has enjoyed enormous successes designing fashion, movies, cars, sportswear and interiors. Celebrities from Elton John to Pope John Paul II have worn his creations and added to his fame.
The 49-year-old Christian Ghion is no less prolific or versatile. He is known as a designer of high-end furniture and accessories, exhibitions, and home, store and hotel interiors. His chicest furniture design is the 2002 Shadow chaise lounge for Cappellini. By Tuija Seipell
The stark XXS Shop for Mobile Gadgets opened earlier this year in Hamburg’s Innenstadt, at Spitalen Hof 8. It is a minimalist showroom by Hamburg-based Spine Architects for Etronixx-Trading GmbH. The store is void of practically everything else but white surfaces and the merchandise itself. Mobile gizmos appear almost suspended in air, as they rest in small slots within the white expanse of built-in cabinetry that encircles the entire space. It is an excellent example of forcing the customer - in a pleasant way - to focus on the products, not on the props.
Spine is a German-English partnership that started between Boris Bähre, J'orn Hadzik, Jan Löhrs and Neil Winstanley in 2001 when they won one of the prizes awarded in the international design competition for Rabin Square in Tel-Aviv, Israel. They are known for their work in several areas, from housing to public places to TV shows, private homes and shops. In September, Spine Architects opened an office in Menlo Park, San Francisco. By Tuija Seipell
The French take their perfume seriously, smelling fabulous is practically a national obsession. That's why this new fragrance boutique is right at home in Paris. Cult perfumier Frederic Mallee's perfume workshop makes the amateur shopper feel like a seasoned perfumier, with smelling tubes to 'taste' the fragrances. Visitors can observe Mallee at work and take home a bottle of his latest scent. by Lisa Evans