Store Windows
 
Aloha from Hawaii — where many luxury brands have integrated Chinese elements and well wishes into their displays along Waikiki's premiere shopping center to mark the Year of the Snake, according to the Chinese zodiac.
 
The Chinese New Year has inspired many luxury brands to incorporate snake shapes into their latest collections, including jewelry, watches and vehicles, according to report by CRI. Last year, the Year of the Dragon in China, Rolls-Royce Motor Cars Ltd launched a dragon edition of the Rolls-Royce Phantom. The limited-edition cars were sold out within two months.
 
The East has undoubtedly become the new West in the luxury market and it's only a matter of time before other brands follow suit. Economists, politicians and sociologists have been commenting on this shift, especially considering our world has been dominated by Western civilization for 500 years.
 
China is the most populous country with 1.3 billion people, while Tokyo has become the largest city with over 36 million people. Megacities, with more than 10 million citizens, will continue their expansion and it is predicted that by 2025, 21 of the world’s 37 megacities will be located in Asia.
 
Feeling inspired to make the connection between business goals and luxury trends?
 
{Source: CRI, Forbes}
The Parker
Adler Parker Palm Springs
 
Designer Jonathan Adler, known for his groovy home-wear collection and interior design work at The Parker in Palm Springs, has inked a licensing deal with Li & Fung's LF USA to expand its fashion accessories business into handbags, totes, hats, small leather goods, belts and scarves, according to Women's Wear Daily.

Expect to see Adler's quirky patterns, smart craftsmanship, and cheeky color palettes storm the fashion world with a 300-piece fall collection priced from $48 to $450.The robust range will launch during August Market Week and will be sold in company-owned stores, online, and at retailers for Spring 2013.

“It’s amazing to go from being a production potter to expanding into a zillion different categories,” Adler told WWD. He also revealed that jewelry will be available from Fall 2013.

We agree. Alder is to home what Kate Spade was to handbags. And the opportunites are endless.
 
{source: WWD}
 
Make-your-own customizable necklaces are emerging as strong holiday trend at various retailers including Anthropology (above), Urban Outfitters, and Madewell. 
 
From a simple dog tag to personalized charms, mainstream retailers are hoping to tap into sentimental consumerism with private label products. The range of influences include decorative pendants with letters, numbers, animal figures, astrological symbols, religious references, and natural stones on fine chains.
 
These eclectic trinket themes and charmed arrangements denote a personalized talisman and "found" aesthetic with merchandising reminiscent of keepsake curio cabinets.
 
The DNA of this trend includes designers such as Jennifer Fisher, Solange Azagury-Partridge, Kimberly Baker, and Jennifer Zeuner, as well as branded jewelry from Tiffany & Co., Juicy Couture, Marc Jacobs, Dogeared, and Pandora.
 
By 2015 the world will have 33 mega-cities with populations of over 10 million and more than 500 cities with populations of over 1 million.
 
More important, by 2025, 10 cities in China are projected to have populations over 10 million.
 
At that rate, we foresee a lot of mega-shopping!
 
Chinese mainland tourists spent more on shopping in 2010 than any other population according to the first Chinese Luxury Traveler White Paper, released last month by the Hurun Report in association with the International Luxury Travel Market Asia revealed mainland tourists consumed 17% percent of the global shopping market, a 91% percent increase from 2009. China was followed by Russia (16%), Japan and the United States (5 % each) and Indonesia (4%).
 
Watches and jewelry lead the list of favorite products purchased by Chinese followed by garments and fashion accessories. It's clear that high-spending tourism is big business but it's unclear for how long.
 
"Even greater partnerships and opportunity between top tier global brands and China local companies will ensue," said Betsy Hentz, a business development consultant with more than 20 years experience in global apparel manufacturing. "The China customer is a key focus of brand growth strategy including the speed of new product innovation, product manufacturing processes and service models."
 
China, the world's second-largest luxury goods market, is planning on making those goods more accessible by slashing import duties on opulent items to encourage wealthy local shoppers to buy more pricey cosmetics, watches and liquor, reported Channel News Asia. The high import duties, 50% for cosmetics and 30% for high-end watches, drive many Chinese consumers to shop for luxury goods in Hong Kong, London and Paris- a trend that several Chinese ministries want to change.
 
Currently prices of 20 luxury brand products are 45% higher than those in Hong Kong, 51% higher than U.S. prices, and 72% higher than French prices, a study by China's commerce ministry showed.
 
As luxury brands face gloomy prospects in North America and Europe, China is poised to be the key player in consumer spending.
 
These days, it seems everyone is curating: a new concept, an artisan cocktail, a farm-to-table dinner. And while we love the evolving originality of ideas, the reality is that a lot has been done, popped up, and copied. As trendspotters and trained marketers, we disregard buzzwords and 'best of' lists because good style, fresh merchandising, and an unique perspective will always catch our eye.
 
And we like to share.  So here is a small selection of boutiques from our whirl-wind trip to Los Angeles that did not include malls, Manolos or mediocrity.
 
Mohawk General Store
First things first- Mohawk General Store is more than just another 'well-curated' lifestyle store. Kevin and Bo Carney have a designed an atmosphere that feels less like a shop and more like a friend’s apartment. The expansive selection of home, clothing, jewelry and accessories- from a wide range of brands- play like an a prized record collection that you will stay up all night to hear. It's easy enough to choose cool things- but another entirely to build a sense of space.
 
mohawk general store
 
Mid-Century furnishings by Ellen LeComte of Amsterdam Modern provide a backdrop, and often merchandising fixture, for an intermix of mens, womens and home objects from brands like A.P.C, Comme Des Garçons, Rachel Comey and Clare Vivier. From raw denim to a vintage Czech Military Tote, each item has a story highlighting the designer, materials or details. Our purchases included the delicate Silk Arc on Cord bracelet by Kristen Elspeth.
 
Mohawk
 
A lot of thought and care has gone into making the space more than just another store. From purposeful merchandising to inviting and knowledgeable staff, this Silver Lake gem is the polar opposite to the "stack it high, watch it fly" philosophy driving much of LA's shopping culture.
 
 
Vivier and Bentley
The union of local designers, Vivier and Bentley effortlessly captures the complexities of low-high style that makes simplicity chic. Occupying the front part of a shared studio centered around a handpainted 'rug', the boutique showcases Claire Vivier's elegant leather handbags and Kathryn Bentley's roughly refined Dream Collective high-end costume jewelry along with artwork and mobiles from friends and neighbors. Creativity oozes from the backroom, making the space feel like a community art project gone terribly and extraordinarily right.
 
 
Mixed surfaces and materials, from butter-soft leather to angular metal, create visual contrast and make every detail feel like a lost treasure.
 
 
The collaboration feels earthy and intimate, with Ms. Bently offering us a quarter to extend our meter as we selected an antique African and beaded brass necklace from her collection. Gracious too.
 
 
Iko Iko
Prior to our visit to LA, there was one store that was recommended to us time and time again: Iko Iko. Fortunately, we popped by to experience version 1.0 before they relocate in August to West Hollywood. We love the eclectic range of things made by hand, items made within a tradition, and products that read curious and surprising.
 
 
Crafts, curiosities, and clothing lie adjacent to Japanese utilitarian objects and vintage art books. There's an underlying restraint to each product and visual presentation within the store.
 
 
Above, a selection of jewelry from Hannah Keefe hangs above handcrafted furniture and housewares.
 
 
We love the attention to detail owners Kristin Dickson and Shin Okuda bring to everything- from seemingly effortless yet methodical merchandising to poetic descriptions of the supremely talented designs and/or products.
 
There's a silver lining to every wrought overexposed retail cloud and clearly these stores shine brighter than most. Anyone can 'pick out some cool stuff' (see also curate), but it's the assembly of various parts that make a store/concept/idea visionary.

{image: Vogue.uk}
 
In December 2010, Vogue UK took monthly horoscopes to the next level with a whole issue dedicated to the celestial. Keeping with the "Stars" theme, the issue included everything from star motif fashion (very on trend this spring) to predictions of up-and-coming designers that "will be soaring into fashion stratosphere". And the style predictions by astrology sign left us tempted to bring this trend into greater light.

Without a second guess, a daily horoscope feature is welcome in any publication. For years, many have looked to astrology for personal (love) or professional (new job) advice and the fashion community has cashed in on this cultural fascination to create both high-end and mass-market, products that depict star signs.

 
{Photo: Ruffian - Fall/Winter 2010 Runway}

Beginnings of the trend in fashion and culture:
  • Jewelry with motifs and meanings of ancient mythology have come alive through wings, animals and reptiles that hark back to medieval Gothic and Greco-Roman times: serpents, shields, dragons and astrological symbols.
 
{photo: Jennifer Fisher Jewelry - image via thezhush.blogspot.com}
 
  • The release of Planetary Apothecary: An Astrological Approach to Health and Wellness by Stephanie Gailing in March 2009 marked a shifting point in culture. The book was featured on DailyCandy and bridged a New Age art with nutrition.
 

 
  • Window decals with astrological signs were featured at the Missoni store in SoHo (NYC) in September 2010.
  • Following F/W 2010's melting glacier, Karl Lagerfeld created a five-story gold lion to guard the Chanel runway, a reference to Mademoiselle Chanel’s astrological sign, Leo.
  • Astrological printed motifs on the F/W 2010 Ruffian catwalk.

Moving into fall, we see this trend will evolving with astrological-inspired graphics and an array of charm bracelets for gift giving with half moons, shooting stars and ringed planets for the dreamy youth stargazer.
 
Photo: Dolce & Gabbana - Fall/Winter 2011 Runway via Style.com}
 
Once a low-cost daily pleasure, horoscopes and the belief in astrology is influencing more than just love-sick teens. Don't be surprised to see a tighter link between astrology and culture as consumers search for meaning during uncertain times.
 

{image: Colette.fr}

Designer Karl Lagerfeld has teamed up with Paris boutique Colette for a pop-up shop in a former garage. The store will be open from March 1 to 10, reported Women's Wear Daily.

It will sell graffiti-covered handbags, scooter helmets and CDs, alongside the spring collections of Chanel, Éres and a selection of young designers, as well as a Chanel collectible doll and bags customized by Chrome Hearts. There will also be a cupcake stand, nail bar and DJ in the industrial space at 336-340 Rue Saint-Honoré.

This collaboration is chock full of trendy goodness.

{source: WWD}

 

We love the Jesse Kamm & Elizabeth Yarborough popup installation at PulpLab in Seattle. Here are some photos of the event running March 21 - May 1, 2009.


Jesse Kamm: "La Pietra" Spring Collection
Designer and Los Angeles native Jesse Kamm creates all of the drawings for the textile designs in her Limited Edition collections. Kamm's trademark clothes include silk dresses, hand-printed tunics, and jackets--each handmade and signed by the designer. "Unique, simple, beautiful, loose, and vibrating with a story or tale of my journey," is how L.A.-based designer Jesse Kamm describes her own inspired collection of limited-edition clothing.

 

 
Yarborough Jewelry Limited Edition collection for Pulp Lab
(We scored the blue & white bangle)
Anticipating the warm seasons ahead, designer Elizabeth Yarborough's collection of bangles for Pulp Lab feature wonderful lightweight yarns, including a heavenly, silk, tape-like yarn, multi-colored poly-blends, a cotton yarn that calls to mind a picnic, and her trademark wool bangles that have been featured in New York Times' "T" Magazine and WWD. These one-of-a-kind bangles can be worn comfortably year-round (especially here in the Pacific Northwest). Handcrafted in the East Village by North Carolina native Elizabeth Yarborough.
 



 
{Editors note: PulpLab is a previous client of In Your Head. This post is not an endorsement.}

 
 
Slumdog Millionaire may have tipped the cultural trend scale at the Oscars but it has long been part of the "global" theme we have been following for some time now that includes fashion and food from Morocco, Africa, Korea and China.
 
Just in the past few days the song Jai Ho has hit #7 on iTunes top downloaded songs and the two 'real life' slum kids- Rubina Ali and Azhar Ismail, have been gifted with new family homes by the Indian government.
 
Blogger Perez Hilton, has been hot on the actors trail reporting that Slumdog Millionaire star and director headed to Millionaire game show & posting photos from Vogue India of lead actress Freida Pinto on the cover.
 

{photo: Melange}
 
 
For future fashion inspiration, we recommend checking out Bombay Electric, Melange, and Kamani in Mumbai before some not-so-subtle knockoffs appear on the runway and in your department store. We love the specific point of view on fashion from each designer/retailer. If you've never purchased Vogue India, we suggest you invest in a copy now.
 

 
It's no huge leap from fashion to food, at least for celebrity Top Chef host Padima.
 
Restaurants like Tamarinde and Bay Leaf are definite destinations when we're in NYC. Additionally, we often pop into Hampton Chutney Company for a delicious dosa in SoHo. One can not mention Indian food without a nod to Vij and Rangoli in Vancouver, Canada; the latter of which was featured in Anthony Bourdain's No Reservations.

{photo: Maya Kaimal}
 
Most American's do not know that food styles and ingredients vary regionally- much like Italy.
 
Nataraja Spices, available at Foodzie, are inspired by the cooking and dishes of South India. Those wanting a home-style packaged food should try Maya Kaimal, who's packaging and flavors were a high point at last years Fancy Food Show in San Diego.
 

That's your tutorial for the weekend! Stay tuned...

 
Getting updates from our friend Lita, who moved to Korea, has made our inbox happy. Every story about the culture, fashion and food is more interesting and outrageous than the last. Through her eyes, we're learning a lot.
 
The emerging artists from South Korea featured at MoMA are as innovative and interesting as those emails from thousands of miles away.
 

{photo: MoMA}
 
This tea mug from Luno Seo is a perfect example of design meeting function with a small indentation along the cup's rim to catch tea bags.
 

{photos: MoMA}
 
And it will come as no surprise to regular readers that jewelry made to look like pasta has caught our eye once again. Another example of food merging with fashion.