Pradasphere
Pradashpere
{photo: Prada}
 
Welcome to the Pradasphere. Harrods in London has unveiled the highly-anticipated exhibition dedicated to “A cosmos of its own composed of heavenly bodies set in a complex orbit. A universe of contradictions and endless elaborations, noble causes and base temptations where idealism meets vanity, intelligence meets passion, fashion meets fiction.”
 
Complete with a popup for purchasing specially reissued designs, the space celebrates Prada’s history and it’s most iconic designs within glass cases and within each of Harrods’ 40 window displays through May 29th.
 
 
Within the digital screening room, patrons are tempted by the aesthetic journey, cultural influences, and craftsmanship that’s “a wholehearted endorsement of the stylistic iconoclast". The Pradasphere champions the work of friends of the brand, such as directors Wes Anderson and Ridley Scott and Rem Koolhaas’s firm OMA, which has collaborated with Prada for more than a decade. View more photos from the exhibition, here
 
We love how the collaboration leverages technology, customer loyalty, and brand heritage within an experimental museum while maintaining a physical boutique aura. 
 
 
 
Remember our post – last March – about the handcrafted canvas and leather goods by Black Anchor Workshop out of Tacoma, Washington? It's time to back their Kickstarter Campaign by Stephen Jones!
 
Click here for more details. 
 
 
 
 
wearables
 
It's fairly easy to dismiss the term "wearables" as technology lingo, but personal accessories with embedded sensors that support wellness strategies – such as Nike’s FuelBand, Fitbit Flex™ and Apple’s rumored iWatch – are a trend that will soon see market adoption. 
 
Last week Credit Suisse issued a report on the rise of the wearable technology market, which the company believes will have "a significant and pervasive impact on the economy", and will reach $30-$50bn by 2016-18, according to Business of Fashion.
 
At that rate of growth, it seems logical that engineers would want to collaborate with a major brand, such as Tiffany & Co., or a luxury group, such as LVMH, to evolve the sports-centric styles into fashionable arm candy. 
 
UPDATE - May 29, 2013: Apple's Tim Cook drops hints about wearables. Read more details from the All Things Digital conference here
UPDATE - July 2, 2013: Apple seeks Japan iWatch Trademark via WSJ
 
 
Karl Lagerfeld Amsterdam
CULTURE
 
 
  • An animated history of Typography {via Brian Martin at Creative Circle}
  • Money is valued differently depending on how it's earned. {via Scientific American}
 
 
FOOD
  • Subscription service Try The World offers a taste of a different city’s culture each month. {via Springwise}
  • One of the original immersive dining restaurants in New York, Monkey Town, returns to the Chelsea area of the city this summer.
  • Culinary trends from the National Restaurant Show. {via Nation's Restaurant News}
 
 
FASHION
 
  • The Karl Lagerfeld Store in Amsterdam enables customers to make and share their own digital "look book." {via Springwise}
  • Some retail manufactures reveal where and how a garment is made. {via CNBC}
 
RETAIL
 
arm party
Cruciani
 
If street style snaps are an indication of bracelet trends, the adoption of Cruciani C Bracelets should have hit critical mass when Man Repeller's Leandra Medine coined the term “Arm Party”.
 
Cruciani C Bracelets from the renowned heritage Italian lace making house were an immediate hit among the fashion elite. The traditional needle-made macramé lace jewelry was introduced in 2011 and has been captured via Jak & Jil and The Sartorialist,
 
Last summer, Colette in Paris became one of the first eCommerce stores to carry the range with the following description: “After enchanting Milan they are now taking over the world. Delicate and elegant, they are jewels of needlework. In lace, with a large choice of colors, they also are lucky charms. True objects of desire!"
 
We recommend updating your lineup immediately with an assortment.
 
Purchase yours online here
(And no, we don't get a cut as that would be against our editorial policy.)
 
Black Anchor Workshop
Black Anchor Workshop
 
This is the newest rugged canvas bag to hit the menswear market. And, we loved the design so much that we purchased one of the first prototypes this past weekend.
 
Black Anchor Workshop is a new venture by Stephen Jones of Tacoma, Washington. We were lucky enough to shop the collection of handcrafted accessories, cases, and bags – made from leather or a combination of leather and canvas – at Feather & Oar. The retail store just happens to be located above Stephen's workshop, and there's nothing like hearing about a concept first-hand to understand a designers inspiration.
 
Black Anchor Workshop Tote
 
This 19 oz. canvas tote with leather and copper rivet attached straps has a built-in interior keychain and two large exterior pockets that each fit a wine bottle. The vegetable tan leather undergoes a four day dying, waxing, and oiling process and is hand cut, dyed, sewn & riveted in his workspace below Feather & Oar. The natural canvas, seen above in navy, will eventually be available in three hand-dyed colors. Read more about his creative approach and desire to connect with reality, separate from the world of creativity that has gone digital here.
 
The brand may be less than a month old but, we've got a good feeling that retailers will quickly take note and come knocking. Hello NYC, LA, Seattle: We're talking to you.
 
 
UPDATE 3.20.13: According to the Black Anchor Workshop facebook page, the brand will be launching a Kickstarter campaign in the near future. Check out the teaser fundraising video here
 
Feather and Oar
Feather & Oak
 
On our visit to Tacoma to catch another glimpse of the FlowerHouse installation, we discovered another gem born from the Spaceworks Tacoma project: the better-used menswear mercantile, Feather & Oar. 
 
Previously a three-month retail popup as part of a joint initiative of the City of Tacoma and the Tacoma-Pierce County Chamber of Commerce designed to activate empty storefronts, the initiative makes no- and low-cost temporary space available to artists, fledgling creative entrepreneurs, organizations, and community groups by placing them in unused commercial properties. Similar projects have been successfully implemented in a variety of cities from London to Ohio as a response to the recession.
 
The new permanent Feather & Oar is a handsome space with a classic assortment of men's apparel and accessories ranging from designer to vintage. Beautifully merchandised with a haberdashery charm, the store is unequivocally tailored for both the fashion pro and novice alike with a timelessness aura. Unlike consignment stores or a vintage stall within an antique store, you won't find packed rounders of vastly different styles of clothing. In fact, the layout and assortment is so genuinely cared-for that you'd hardly guess you were in a used clothing store until you look at the prices.
 
Visual aesthetic aside, it's owners JD Elquist and Travis Pranger that bring life to the brand (the third partner, Drew Collier, was not in the store on our visit). While retail might be the name of the game, the experience is more like casual Sunday supper with fashion as the main course. The duo make an effort to introduce friends, neighbors, and customers to each other as they offer styling tips and suggestions befitting each client's own personal story.
 
As we pinpoint growth and opportunities in the menswear category, we're confident that non-digital concepts like Feather & Oar are an important part of the cultural experience giving every man a face-to-face opportunity to affordably express individual style.
 
purse baskets
Sasabune
 
Thank you Sushi Sasabune in Honolulu for finding an elegant solution
to a handbag problem.
 
We've long been fans of hooks located underneath a sushi bar for hanging a coat or purse, but found these black plastic woven baskets, located discreetly under each chair, too wonderful not to share. It's a far more elegant and unassuming alternative to "purse chairs" found at fine dining establishments in Los Angeles and New York City.
 
 
Dearest Restaurateurs, you can get the same look (minus the brown carpet), in the storage department at Bed Bath and Beyond. Someone should have thought of this sooner.
 
T Magazine buzz
 
Change is relative.
 
After much anticipation, the new WSJ Magazine and the new T Magazine hit newsstands within a week of each other. One cover headline read “PURE ELEGANCE”, and the other “TRUE ELEGANCE”. Yes, both headlines were in all caps.
 
For those of you unfamiliar with the drama, Deborah Needleman was the editor in chief of the WSJ Magazine, but left to overhaul T magazine for The New York Times. WWD has stories about both here and here that are worth reading.
 
This isn’t a tribute or take down piece of either approach. Truthfully, we were very excited to compare and contrast how dueling editors would relaunch and redesign from the helm. There was an infographic in the works and plenty of quantitative research so as to carefully give an unbiased opinion based on facts. We counted the times that each editor used terms like change or simplicity (too many). But, in the end, the results and content was shockingly similar:
 
Kitten heels – Check. Supermodel profile – Indeed. Black and white statement pictorial – Done. Designer profiles – Without a doubt. Game changing rings from Balenciaga by Nicholas Ghesquière – Spot on. Feature on the son or daughter of a mega fashion portfolio founder (Pinault vs. Arnault) – Naturally.
 
According to our research, the biggest difference between the two came in the form of advertisements and photo editorials. While both produced excellent feature stories, T Magazine had 11% more ads as a portion of total pages, but had 21% less photo layouts. If that is an effective long term strategy or not, remains to be seen.

There's a strong message about branding, innovation, and execution however, that is relevant both inside and outside the media and fashion forum: when launching a product or service, don't simply subscribe to a formulaic approach based simply on what others are implementing. Create your own vision, differentiate, and find a true customer need. 
 
Secret Location
Secret Location
 
To name a concept store Secret Location would seem a little gimmicky unless you ventured into the 1/2 retail, 1/2 restaurant playful space in Vancouver, Canada. Separated by a minty green foyer, the fashion-meets-food 10,000 sq.ft. "shopstaurant" (yes- we made that up), complete with doormen at the entrance, is ultra-modern, luxuriously eclectic, and visually dramatic.
 
Secret Location Vancouver
 
North of the front doors, we discovered a beautiful assortment of women's apparel, accessories, shoes, books, music, and cameras/gadgets from brands such as Camilla Skovgaard, Marios Schwab, United Nude, Thierry Lasry, Rad Hourani, Tweety, Pantone, and artist Lauren Clay of Brooklyn NY. The fixturing is a combination of modern and traditional, with a hint of baroque. The space maintains a constant frequency with open spaces to allow the products to shine.

 
 
"Secret Location supports a diverse mix of fashion-forward international and Canadian designers. We do not acknowledge brands, but place emphasis on quality craftsmanship, design philosophy and creative ingenuity that stands behind each product. Determined to offer new, thought provoking and limited quantity pieces, Secret Location is and will continue to be an ever-evolving place of discovery."
 
 
To the south, the  bar + restaurant is the perfect spot to escape from tourists with a glass of rose. The setting, much like the shop, is modern and classic without feeling sterile or over-designed.
 
 
Secret Location Cafe
 
Located in the historic gastown area, the term Secret Location is definitely a play on words for the word-of-mouth crowd. The only secret may, or may not be in the ownership of the concept.