Today was a wonderful day for the food world, and we're surprised that more consumer packaged food (CPG) brands didn't take note. Chanel surprised everyone with an enormous chic supermarket set that had critics fascinated with "a conjunction of high and low". 
 
For years, the grocery, food, and CPG industries have taken inspiration from the fashion world, using similar graphics, colors, and campaigns – especially in the artisan, specialty, and luxury markets. But slowly, the tides have been turning as the world has become increasingly fixated on eating, rating, and photographing meals. 
 
This beautifully merchandised stage in Paris was a tipping point for food culture and a statement for modern life, complete with plastic red shopping carts and generous mounds of fresh produce as a backdrop for luxury goods. No detail was overlooked. Each packaged item was labeled with custom Chanel product names and cohesive artwork that referenced the brands founder, Coco Chanel, and her legacy. It was essentially a more sumptuous and gorgeous version of Picard or Trader Joe's. 
 
 
 
We've been reporting on the fusion of these industries for some time and are thrilled to see Chanel's interpretation. And, while we can't give out all our secrets to trend predictability, we often report on trends in  Food+Fashion. To do that, we spend countless hours reading, researching, viewing, traveling, and sampling relevant products, campaigns, and concepts, which gives our clients a tremendous competitive advantage and the ability to significantly target their customers better.
 
Hungry for themes, products, and behaviors from outside your field of vision from a trusted resource? Look no further.  
 
 
Cosmetics Heathrow
 
Why would a cosmetics brand open a freestanding store at London Heathrow when the same products are sold – steps away – at Harrods? 
 
New research confirms our captive venue reporting with robust statistics. According to FashionUnited and Verdict, the global airport retail market will grow 72.9% to $52.9 billion by 2019.
 
And, Generation Research reports that the duty-free and travel retail sales of perfumes, luxury goods and cosmetics increased by 28% between 2008 and 2011 and are predicted to grow another 25% in the next two years.
 
Those statistics, coupled with the world's busiest international terminals and direct to consumer margins, make this little empty Estée Lauder outlet financially enticing.
 
Spotted last year while connecting through Heathrow, our take on the merchandising is less than favorable. If only store and visual design would have taken a cue from the beauty concierge in Hawaii – and forgo the electric blue, modular displays, and faux-refrigeration "best seller" fixtures for a luxurious setting that encouraged pampering and solace. 
 
 
 
Shed Healdsburg
 
Healdsburg Shed
 
There’s a new breed of independent retail developing. Complexes, campuses, and marketplaces offering convenience for kindred spirits. An all-in-one indie mall of sorts.
 
Shed, in Healdsburg, CA is one of two concepts launched with this type of modern market flair in Sonoma County. Visiting the two-story café-meets-grocery, retail, deli, bar, workshop, larder, grange is like stepping into the pages of Kinfolk magazine. Including verbs such as Cook, Farm, Eat, and Make to identify individual sections. 
 
Shed Healdsburg
 
Signage aside, the spaces are superbly merchandised with all the vital necessities for any culinary-centric gathering. From farming essentials to packaged foods, the enthusiasm for quality and local products resonates.
 
Shed Fermentation Bar
 
The fermentation bar – with shrub beverages, local wines, and kombuchas  is the most talked about differentiator, but certainly not the whole story. The ingredient-driven menu, open kitchen, and wood oven are cornerstones of seasonal dining. The communal seating, both in the café and upstairs grange, sets the appropriate stage for Sunday suppers and social events. 
 
Shed Healdsburg
 
Design and community are give even-weight throughout each department in the expansive space. By our best estimate, the build-out could have been in excess of ten million dollars. 
 
We're pretty tired of the words artisanship and reimagined, but Shed has both in spades. We hope that ventures like this inspire more traditional spaces to evolve by serving a lifestyle instead of a menu or assortment. 
 
Does your business need a strategy pick-me-up, merchandising makeover, or real-life research from an archive of thousands of themes? Gain a competitive advantage with our macro or micro personalized reporting now
 
merchandising by color
SuitSupply
 
Always a fan of great merchandising, we fell in love with the colorful tie bar wall display at the SuitSupply launch party in Seattle last week. The arrangement has a unique, almost pixelated, graphic quality that highlights a variety of hues while still remaining masculine. 
10 corso como
10 Corso Como
 
As far as concept stores go, 10 Corso Como in Milan has remained a key cultural influence on retail, style, and sophistication. 
 
In all honesty, we didn't expected to write about our most recent visit but something about the memory of that lazy late afternoon, sitting in the garden cafe, watching hipster Italians stroll by for La Passeggiata (the art of taking a walk in the evening) has kept the imagery and experience top of mind. 
 
10 corso como
 
Twenty years after opening in a location far from the big name designers on the Via Montenapoleone, the retail store, bookstore, cafe, and restaurant still captivate the imagination. Famous for collaborations that no one thought possible and infused with goods worthy of the fashion elite, the biggest statement here lies in the geometric layered patterns, sculpted forms, and exquisite visual showmanship.
 
Corso Como Cafe
 
It was refreshing to revisit 10 Corso Como. As much as we love minimalist store design and eccentric curated haberdashery, few spaces are actually, purposefully unique to the brand. You cannot pinpoint the references by explaining it as "part this and part that" simply because it still remains the first of it's kind across multiple industries. 
 
Liu Jo windows
Color craft is part of a merchandiser’s ability. Certain product stories are enhanced by color and arrangements are well thought out so as to minimize confusion. For example, it is well known that certain shades of blue and green, in combination with black, should be presented in a customer-friendly arrangement that allow each color to be distinguishable from the other – reducing mix-ups, accidental purchases, and ultimately returns.
 
merchandising by color
 
In contrast – literally – to this school of thought are the window displays at Liu Jo. Spotted in Rome, this still life photographic arrangement in pale pink is a trend in both color and form. Possibly inspired by the work of Carl Kleiner and Evelina Bratell’s work on the  Ikea baking cookbook  Hembakat är Bäst (Homemade Is Best), Things Organized Neatly’s clever Tumblr feed, and Swedish installation photographer, Helga Steppan’s See Through series, the simplistic display is visually refreshing in comparison to the others near the Via del Corso.
 

We love the retailer’s take on combining lifestyle objects with one important statement piece. This standout presentation is an example of marketing, brand, and creative collaboration that is relevant to multiple trends in food, fashion, and consumer packaged goods.   

 
Marketers and merchandisers know a thing or two about foot-traffic.
 
At GlobalShop – the largest annual visual merchandising trade show and conference for the retail design industry – vendors line the isles with new innovations and technologies in floor projections, decals, and digital signage.
 
Designers give us cues all the time. For instance, in retail the quality of the flooring material is a pretty good indication of the merchandise quality and department pricing. And at the Pike Place Market, 45,000 name tiles reference the local investments that the community made in 1986. Plus we’re all aware of functional cues, such as those along the isles of airplanes, where white lights lead to red lights to denote an exit.
 
zion
 
As a tool for creating an experiential environment, we’re always open to new ideas, so here’s a simple treatment  we found while out on the road – literally – that we thought worth sharing: the red roads at Zion National Park. Not only do those red roads make every photo pop, but they help create balance with nature, while  also being completely functional.
 
Thinking about incorporating unique treatments to complement your concept? Don’t limit your thinking to just call-to-action floor decals. Or give us a call to help you develop ideas that align with your strategy while differentiating your brand from the pack.
 
Wine kiosk
Airport Kiosks
 
Hello from The Mile High City.
 
It seems like forever since we flew through Denver International Airport on our way to New York or Chicago for a Tradeshow and in all honesty we were not looking forward to the experience of making our way through the expansive space. Fortunately, like most captive venues across the country, it's been updated to include battery charging stations at all gates, a mini-spa, and a variety of shopping/dining options. 
 
With limited premium services, it's only logical that we focus on the retail component — specifically the smaller shopping venues. Throughout the massive 33,457 acre airport, the kiosk design is consistent and they're spaced apart from each other so that the customer isn't bombarded with a mass of linear concepts. This mini bottle shop, a stones throw of Vino Volo wine bar, was a great example of how to maximize space while educating customers.
 
We love how the far side of the kiosk which faces the gates in terminal C was primarily merchandised with Sparkling and Champagne as a grab-and-go impulse purchase for flyers who have just landed. Positioning the concept before the security checkpoint also allows frequent flyers an opportunity to present a celebratory gift to give to friends or family without the hassle of checked luggage.
Trendy Hipster Incanto
 
Proving that food, relationships, and narratives are intertwined, we spotted the "Trendy hipster” at Incanto in San Francisco. 
 
Chef Chris Cosentino and co-owner Mark Pastore understand the power of telling stories with food. And this dish of rotelli, ramp pesto, potato, pinenuts & pecorino is a proclamation about culture, behaviors, and networks.
 
With two simple words, nearly every customer will place a history and set of feelings about the context without even reading the description. It's purposefully provocative.
 
We'd love to see "Tattooed Chef" on the summer menu.   
bespoke menswear San Francisco
Al's Attire SF
 
As we walked up Vallejo Street in North Beach toward Caffe Trieste, our coffee hunt took a turn when we set sights on Al's Attire, kitty-corner from our destination.  Street appeal is more than good windows, clear signage, or a familiar logo — it's about a feeling and tone that draws us into a space, because there's something undeniably unique and/or compelling.  
 
Situated on the corner with floor to ceiling windows, the nearly 4000 square foot San Francisco store has a fish bowl quality. Part retail space and workshop, vintage-inspired off-the-rack apparel and accessories serve as inspiration for custom hand-crafted men's and women's hats, shirts, ties, dresses, coats, and shoes. 
 
Al's Attire
 
It would be easy to mistake the merchandise as vintage until you start to read the hundreds of personalized shoe and garment labels of previous and current clients on display above a sewing machine. 
 
As fans of all things bespoke, custom, and personalized, it's hard to find fault in the stores merchandising and easy to understand why retailers such as All Saints use similar props to portray a heritage theme. But Al's Attire is the real deal. Shoe lasts, fabric bolts, and leather swatches are all displayed among hat blocks and cutting tables as part of the working atelier. The assortment strikes a balance between need and want — merchandise and display.  
 
Al's Attire
 
All of the handsome clothing and genuine merchandising would just be art without the stellar customer service, craftsmanship, and attention to detail. During our visit, Al Ribaya and his team worked together to inform clients on materials, findings, and trim that would best fit the desired look, while still meeting their strict construction standards. At the shoe fitting pictured above, Rene took a combination of measurements and photos, along with drawings to ensure that every detail and input was accounted for during a nearly 60 minute shoe consultation. To say that Al is meticulous is an understatement.  
 
A quick search of the internet (the Al's Attire website is coming soon) proves that we're not the only customers enamored with the attention to detail. The list of clients and collaborations range from international musicians to thespians  — event planners to a San Francisco based American jeans manufacturer. In chatting with Al, it's obvious that each customer and order, regardless of the magnitude, receives the same care. 
 
As mass market retailers continue to offer a less than authentic representation of craftsmanship, it seems to us that businesses like Al's Attire appear more differentiated by simply staying the course and being true to their brand vision. We think that the growth opportunities in menswear, combined with the uptick consumers desire for an genuine narrative, make true craftsmanship like that at Al's Attire shine.