Just before the Holiday shopping season last year, Greek Jewelry designer Ileana Makri opened an intriguing retail store on Patriarhou Ioakim Street in Athens’s posh fashion district of Kolonaki.
She hired Greek architect Stelios Kois to envision an environment for not just her own jewelry but also for fashionable creations of other designers. The Makri is not new to retail, as her first entry, Mageia, also in Athens, opened in 1987. Mageia was also the setting for the launch of her precious jewelry line in 1996. Steeped in symbols, nature, mystique and multicultural lore, her pieces featured snakes, evil eyes, insects and other nature-inspired themes created in gold, diamonds, rubies, sapphires and other precious materials. Barneys New York noticed, and from there on, Makri has been part of the jewelry scene, and not just in the up-market fine jewelry segment but also in costume jewelry .
Celebrities and stars, from Jennifer Lopez and Faith Hill to Uma Thurman, Heidi Klum and Rita Wilson, have walked the red carpets of the world wearing Makri’s pieces.
As one would expect, Kois and project manager Antriana Voutsina with team members Nikos Patsiaouras, Marielina Stavrou, Konstantinos Karanasos and Alexandros Economou, used Makri’s work and philosophy as inspiration for the new Athens store.
The quality of light, geometric patterns, exquisite workmanship and intricate detailing are all essential in Ileana Makri’s work in which she transforms “memories to jewelry”, as Kois expressed it in a brief.
In the “peculiar forest” that Kois’s team created, our eyes are drawn to the strong, angular lines of the glass-and-metal trees on which jewelry and other items are displayed. The trees allow 360-degree viewing of the items inside the branch-boxes. We like the scarcity and strength of materials: metal, glass, wood and stone that gives the items on display a minimalist backdrop.
However, our favourite aspect of the store is the exterior. The window opening that appears like a big picture frame, was divided into three segments: Two windows framed with black stone protrude from the façade and, in between them, a narrow door made of black-stained oak leads into the store.
The narrower of the windows is for exhibiting the latest collections. It also frames a display tree and shows off our other favourite feature: the narrow, stone-clad staircase that leads to the jeweller’s workshop. - Tuija Seipell.
Hunter Boots is making waves again. The Edinburgh, Scotland-based historic icon has opened its first-ever flagship store at 83 Regent Street in London with a celebration featuring a troupe of Singing-In-The-Rain dancers arriving in a red double-decker wearing head-to-toe Hunter Original collection.
The store design is a funky combo of urban shopping heaven and agricultural themes that echo farm life and barns – all thought up by the design team at Checkland Kindleysides.
Established in 1856 and known for its dutiful supply of millions of trench boots for the British troops in both World Wars, Hunter has been making a steady move from boots only to a full-fledged clothing brand.
When Hunter hired Alasdhair Willis (aka Mr. Stella McCartney & co-founder of Wallpaper with Tyler Brûlé ) as their design director two years ago, everybody paid attention and started expecting big things. And they have not been disappointed.
The expanded repertoire and the new flagship are just the beginning, however. Willis is going to launch yet another new line in 2015. Hunter Field will be a more technical outdoor collection, for “the guy and girl who wants to look amazing in the wilds of the great outdoors,” as Willis has been quoted describing it.
The flagship, with its barnyard ambiance enhanced with a two-storey high LED screen showing fashion shows and campaigns, will not be the only retail expansion either. According to Checkland Kindleysides, it will form the foundation of future retail and shop-in-shop opportunities. - Tuija Seipell.
Toronto’s funky, ever-evolving King West Village has just gained another interesting entrepreneurial tenant at the brand-new, 12-storey condo and townhouse project, Fashion House, at 556 King Street West.
The newcomer is Her Majesty’s Pleasure, a flexible concept by husband and wife, Jeff Armstrong and Sara Kardan. The sunny space functions as a hair, nail and beauty salon, a coffee and tea bar (during the day), a cocktail bar (at night), a shop, and even an event space, all tied together by a tightly controlled palette of colors (mainly black, white and wood) and materials.
The designer of Her Majesty’s Pleasure, John Tong of +Tongtong has created, among other notable spaces, also the re-incarnation of the interior of Toronto’s famed Queen Street West hotel, The Drake, dating back to 1890. - Tuija Seipell.
Like its namesake, the Paris-Nice express train of the 1950s, Le Mistral gift shop in Tokyo is precise and orderly.
With its navy blue base colour and strict visual rules reminiscent of a dapper railway uniform, the interior is an effective vessel to display the tightly (strictly) edited selection of gift items from around the world.
Designed by Jumpei Matsushima of JP architects, the 61 square-meter (656 sq.ft.) shop is also thoroughly Japanese in its sparse colouring and its neat and exact (precise) division of space in ever-repeating rectangles.
By giving clear rules (in both meanings of the word), the plan allows daily changes to the displays without disturbing the balance and orderliness of the overall look.
Everything in the store, from furniture and fixtures to the actual merchandise, lines up with the grid that originates from the building’s structural frame. - Tuija Seipel.
Belgian twin brothers, Kristof and Stefan Boxy have dipped their culinary hands in several Michelin-star restaurants and catering businesses, and they’ve authored a cook book as well: Just Cooking.
We loved their food store/catering space, Boxy Fine Foods, in Ghent, but unfortunately it closed earlier this year. While we do not know the reason why it closed, we bet it wasn’t because of the interior design.
With the help of Frederich Hooft of Ghent, the Boxy brothers created an elegant, white, open space to display and sell gourmet foods.
The elaborate moldings on the ceilings, the sparkling chandeliers, the gilded mirrors and the wide floor boards speak of tradition, history and heritage, but not in a stuffy way. It feels fresh, new and modern with a few clever twists in the display set-ups.
From one angle at a doorway, a triple take on hanging items welcome the visitors: hams, chandeliers and hanging baskets with their mossy root balls.
The setting reminds us of a museum or an art gallery, which is partly the reason the whole enterprise appears opulent and luxurious and sets one up to expect high prices and superior quality. - Tuija Seipell.
See also Victor Churchill Butcher in Sydney
Those of us who are tired of throwawayism and of pointlessly amassing closetfuls of disposable footwear, are starting to pay serious attention to the kind of shoe quality that only true expertise and attention to detail can produce.
Voting with our wallets, we’d rather shop once a year and obtain something that is beautiful, durable and worth the high price, than keep throwing our money – and shoes – away season after season. Traditional men’s shoe makers Joseph Cheaney and others like them are thriving today because they give us what we want.
If you have been making fine men’s’ shoes since 1886 in Northamptonshire, the region known for high-quality English shoemaking, you have the history, traditions and expertise to claim top-price for your product today.
Capitalizing on the demand of high-quality, customized, hand-made men’s footwear Joseph Cheaney has turned its fortunes around in the past five years, since cousins Jonathan and William Church, fifth-generation shoemakers themselves, bought the brand.
The brand is thriving not just in London, where five stores have opened in five years, but also in China, Japan, continental Europe and Russia.
Although it is hip and contemporary, Joseph Cheaeny’s impressive new flagship fits perfectly on London’s Jermyn Street that dates back to 1664 and is known for British artistry and craftsmanship, especially for the finest men’s tailors, shirt makers and suppliers of leather goods.
The designers at Checkland & Kindleysides used history, tradition and craftsmanship as their guides for the store design, creating an environment that inspires exploration and helps patrons appreciate the skill and care that goes into making every pair by hand.
The front of the store highlights the factory and the process of making each pair. Many features of this area echo the factory in Northampton, including metal-framed screens, paneled ceiling and painted brick. In the center sit a 1:100 scale model of the Cheaney factory and a display of how genuine Cheaney shoes are made.
The second area of the store feels like a traditional boardroom with leather seating and the portraits of the founders looking down sternly from the walls.
Our favourite features are the white peg-board walls, the rows of wooden shoe lasts and the exquisite inky-blue colour on some of the walls.
Checkland & Kindleysides is a 30-year-old, London-based design studio with a retail client list that includes Wrangler, Dr.Martens, Levi’s, Timberland and Converse. - Tuija Seipell
Dutch design pair Rolf Snoeren and Viktor Horsting celebrate the 20th anniversary of their Viktor & Rolf brand by opening a massive Paris flagship store in the 1st arrondissement, at 370 Rue Saint-Honoré.
One expects nothing but spectacular from the brand that has been owned by Renzo Rosso’s group since 2008, with apparently deep pockets to support the label’s growth and expansion.
But we did not expect felt-padded walls or the omnipresent grey colour – a hue that now seems to be the new black of retail environments and is in fact getting a bit boring already.
The charcoal surroundings do show off the more colourful pieces, but there’s something quite depressing and aggressive about all that greyness.
The 7,000 square-foot (650 square-meter) multi-level emporium was designed by the Paris-based Pierre Beucler and Jean-Christophe Poggioli of Architecture & Associés.
The store houses much of the Viktor and Rolf collection including ladies’ wear, handbags, shoes, eyewear, and a selection of menswear and limited-edition pieces. - Tuija Seipell.
Here now and gone tomorrow. Summer is always too short which is why we love it so intensely and why we want to live it to the fullest.
To celebrate the kick-off of summer in Sydney, Rotate Store by The Cool Hunter in-sydney is dedicating its first-ever theme to the love of summer.
Rotate by TCH – Summer Lovers - is located at 1 Martin Place in the city’s urban hub where culture and commerce, cafés and high-end fashion meet, mix and mingle. (opposite the Xmas tree)
TCH has curated a cool summery product selection that reflects a sunny, playful vibe. There are beach towels and swimwear from the local brand “We are Handsome” as well as many international brands, including Danward thongs from Italy, beach bats and swimwear from Brazil and Bangkok.
As the summer themed selection will be available until mid February only, the goods will be gone fast. Here now and gone tomorrow. Just like summer itself.
The great execution of The Cool Hunter’s first Rotate store is by the talented Natalie Longheon and Peter Pengly of event company The Artistry. This young firm over delivered in record time by designing, producing, executing and styling in less than 2 weeks. We can't wait to get them involved in our next rotate store.
TCH Summer Lovers Store is open Monday to Friday 10am to 6pm, Thursday 10am to 8pm, and Saturday 11am to 4pm. Closed on Sundays. You can also shop online but not everything is available from the online store.
A huge thanks goes to our marketing agency from Melbourne FLAUNT MARKETING who always get involved with much enthusiasm. Brands wanting to get involved in our next few Rotate projects contact Sharyn Lowe. [email protected] We'll be popping up in Melbourne next year as well.
When you visit Summer Lovers store, you could win a free 3 night stay for 2 to Qualia Resort on Hamilton Island (voted best hotel in the world). Simply take a picture at the store, share it on Instragram using the hashtags - #tchsummerlovers and #qualia and you’ll be in the running.
Images by Felix Forest
Rotate: Curated by The Cool Hunter – A completely new surprising shopping experience every 8 weeks. Always new, always different, always changing.
At TCH, we are always into something new. Just cannot help ourselves. A year ago, we launched the temporary two-week The Cool House in Melbourne & Sydney. More than 10,000 people attended and it was a huge success.
But rather than repeat ourselves this year, we wanted to evolve this cool concept. The result: Rotate by The Cool Hunter – a store that will stay in place for a year but the theme will change every eight weeks. New theme, new store, new everything every two months. Blink, and the shop has changed completely! Blink, and you’ve missed it! If you want it, you need to buy it now. It won’t be there next time.
Good bye to the same old boring sets of stores. Every mall, every airport, ever shopping street – the same stores, the same brands, same standard look-alike themes. Welcome Rotate by The Cool Hunter – the shop full of surprises, the concept that does not stand still.
The Rotate Concept:
These themed temporary pop-up stores will constantly evolve - and not just a changing window display or a few new products. The entire setup and product mix will change every 8 weeks.
There will be a new theme for each period e.g. Summer Lovers, The Art Hunter, Colour Your World, Winter Wonderland. But this won't be your regular, boring store either – Rotate will be fun, innovative, interactive and visually spectacular.
Products and brands will be carefully curated by The Cool Hunter Team and feature amazing local brands and unique international offerings.
Our first theme "Summer Lovers" launches in Sydney in 2 weeks - stay tuned for more info later this month.
We like this Run Colors sneaker store in Poznań (Poland), because it breaks some very tired and boring patterns that have become the norm in sneaker retail.
We’ve seen more than enough of massive images of sports heroes among cavernous, multi-storey stores that feel more like warehouses than shops created for humans to enjoy.
The stuffy “gentlemen’s club” milieu has also been done to death, and no matter how hip or edgy the art on the walls or the celebrity behind the clichéd ideas, stuffy is still only stuffy.
In addition, sports stores and sports brands have become so incredibly logo-happy that it seems impossible to find great, functional sporty footwear, clothing or accessories without appearing like an ad for a brand. Tone it down already, we say.
But this minimalist shop – the second one of the Warsaw-based Run Colors - looks refreshingly different in its bare-bones simplicity.
The slate-grey surfaces work beautifully as a background for the colourful footwear selection that in this store consists mainly of limited series of Nike, Adidas and New Balance sneakers.
Poznań-based mode:lina architekci team of founders, Paweł Garus and Jerzy Woźniak, and designers, Kinga Kin and Agnieszka Owsiany, took the Run Colors name literally and had some understated fun with it.
They imagined colors running and thought of shoelaces, and from there they devised the simple colorful ropes theme that runs throughout the 110 square meter (1184 square foot) store.
We love the antique furnishings, and the complete lack of signs, logos, tags or images. It also does not hurt that this store is in Poznań’s famed Stary Browar complex that is a former Hugger Brewery and dates back to 1844. - Tuija Seipell