The label’s first collection, designed by young Dutch designers, including Denmark-born Claes Iversen, launched with a flashy catwalk show at the Arnhem Fashion Biennale in 2007. The label is part of Stichting Mode Met een Missie (Fashion with a mission foundation) which, in turn, was founded in 2005 to help women with problems caused by addiction, homelessness or psychiatric issues. In “teach-them-to-fish” spirit, the women are taught to make the Ami-e-toi label’s clothing and so gain a profession, and self respect.
In Mentjens’s luxurious store design, Art Deco meets boudoir and is juxtaposed with red-velvet sofas, oak parquet flooring, marble, busts on mirror-top tables, and cameos on the wall. Two massive mirrored walls ensure that the fashions and the fashionistas are visible in endless repetition. The idea “Nothing is quite as it seems” is part of the design concept, echoing the contrast between have-it-all fashionistas and the women who make the fashions. - Tuija Seipell
Japan is a hot-bed of out-of-the-box creativity and retail design is one of the areas in which it excels. The latest store with more is the new Patrick Cox boutique in Tokyo's Aoyama district, a mecca for fashion.
Local architect Chikara Ohno designed the store using only three elements - the colour white, the circle shape and lighting - to great effect. Forming a canopy, huge, cylindrical pendants hang from the ceiling resembling imposing sculptures that also illuminate the products perched just below on cylindrical counters, lit from their bases.
Ohno's design demonstrates the power of simplicity. By working with a few key elements and playing around with proportion he has achieved a dramatic space that also stays true to its function - which is of course to cast the merchandise in the best possible light - pardon the pun - so we are compelled to buy it. - Lisa Evans
Established by the Berneda family in 1939, Barcelona’s own sports shoe house Munich continues to stay on top of things. In the 1970s, Munich made tracks with the Made in Barcelona footwear line and the X logo.
The Munich flagship store was designed by Ignasi Llauradó and Eric Dufourd of dear design, a design and architectural firm the two established in Barcelona in 2005.
Dark-glass surfaces, mirrors, metal trees and cage-like boxes hanging from the ceiling (from which the shoes have “escaped”), all carry a carefree, experimental and impermanent air. The angular and clunky space with its hard edges and seemingly moving parts is clearly an attempt to say that the septuagenarian brand is nowhere near slowing down. - Tuija Seipell
Lovely shoes and bags will literally be on pins and needles this Saturday, when the Kymyka shoes and bags boutique opens in Maastricht, the Netherlands. The beautiful store, established by Chantal Hermans and Jurgo Mouthaan, begins its life with an impressive line-up of brands, including Dolce & Cabbana, Etro, Stella McCartney, Dsquared, YSL, Giuseppe Zanotti, Luciano Padovan and Theory. Jimmy Choo will join the list soon, as will other brands.
Hermans and Muthaan chose well when they picked the industrious Maurice Mentjens to design their store. His work has been rewarded at many design competitions, including the Dutch Design Awards in 2005, 2006 and 2007.
His design for the Stash bag shop won not just the Dutch Design Award in the Retail Category but also the German Design Award. Maurice Mentjens Design is engaged in a vast variety of project ranging from interior, exhibit, retail and hospitality design to product and furniture design. - Tuija Seipell
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