Holt Renfrew Vancouver
 
Luxury shopping will soon become more elite in Vancouver, British Columbia when Holt Renfrew adds an invitation-only 'Apartment' shopping concept – with its own rooftop terrace and party area to host private fittings – as part of a 40,000 square foot expansion of the flagship downtown department store. Customers can reserve private accommodations with guests to view all of the clothes in your size on models. 
 
"People of Vancouver have great style and great fashion sense and this [kind of luxury] isn't new to them," according to company president Mark Derbyshire. "Our customers come in and say they were shopping in Selfridges or Harrods or Printemps or Lane Crawford and they want their hometown shop, us, to reflect that."
 
In addition to the 'Apartment' concept, the bigger store will include a branded menswear department with a separate entrance. The footwear, leather goods, jewelry sections will also have expanded footprints to boost upscale offerings. Construction is scheduled to be complete by the end of 2016. 
 
 
Jef Aerosol Corsica
 
We love this stencil graffiti artwork by Jef Aérosol outside a gallery in Corsica. Jean-François Perroy, a contemporary to Banksy, has been creating urban art in France under the pseudonym Jef Aérosol since 1982.
 
Unlike traditional graffiti, the piece helps to market the business while directly relateing to the architecture and environment. 
 
View more of his work, which extends across Europe, Asia, South America, and the United States – on Instagram.
 
We love this eloquent and authentic approach to setting expectations.
 
 
“Hello
You are entering a place where we take as much time as we need.
We love our ingredients and prepare them with love, so if you are in hurry, if time is tight,
please continue on your way and come back tomorrow.
Thank you”
 
This forewarning at a delicious and charming restaurant on the southern tip of Corsica is a testament to how food and service has evolved for even the time strapped vacationer.
 
When The Slow Food Movement started in Rome over a McDonalds franchise in the 80’s, the manifesto condemned “fast life”. Since then, the concept and network of members includes people in over 150 countries who share values similar to those expressed on this sign found in a seaside tourist town of less than 3,000 people.  
 
Language and culture can be a barrier in developing brand messaging, but we have to give credit to this entrepreneur – who cooks out of her cliff-side home – for clearly identifying her potential client base and employing tactics that resonate with her desire for quality without alienating diners. 
Experiential Retail
 
Display fixtures are the handshake to your product introduction – providing a proper greeting and establishing a positive interaction.
 
This copper and glass unit for oil and vinegar at a shop in the Haga neighborhood of Gothenburg, Sweden is both stunning and customer friendly. The sturdiness of the metal offsets the fragility of the glass to balance tension between the various liquids for sale. And the self-serve aspect is a useful way to harness customer's interactive motivations without being labor intensive for employees. 
 
As we look at the future of merchandising, the trend toward experiential retail is undoubtedly the most relevant. Spaces need to be accommodating and able to withstand continual use, while appearing visually appealing. Product placement needs to benefit from un-merchandising and behavioral analysis across scenarios that test many options. 
 
In a retail environment that's increasingly integrating technology, it's refreshing to see the Simplexity of design as an alternate solution and differentiation to Augmented Reality scenarios.  
 
3x1
 
Welcome to denim heaven. 
 
From a merchandising perspective, there's something magical about 3x1 in NYC. The 460 different fabrics waiting to be transformed into the perfect bespoke jean are as mesmerizing as the loft, jewel-box space with retail and production under one roof.
 
3x1 workshop
 
It's everything we love about an immersive retail experience: white-coated seamstresses and tailors measuring and sewing some the most innovative jeans combinations in the city. 
 
Founded by Scott Morrison of Paper Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn fame, the brand name isn’t as mysterious as it may seem. 3x1 is a fast answer to the twill weaving construction for all denim. The brand oozes authenticity and Simplexity.
 
 
In addition to selvedge, the brand offers raw and rare chambray materials in limited-edition, custom made or bespoke tiers ranging from $295-$1,200+ depending on the level of customization. Everything from stitching color and trim hardware to fit and styling are open to interpretation. 
Rivsalt Sweden
 
Leave it to Scandinavian design to craft an interactive approach to flavoring with Rivsalt.  
 
Seen on the streets of Gothenburg, Sweden, this elfin Japanese stainless steel grater might seem gimmicky without the gemstone shaped Himalayan rock salt and natural white oak stand.  
 
We can’t wait until this striking example of Simplexity makes its way overseas. 
 
Rivsalt
{bottom images: rivsalt.com}
IKB Trendscaping
 
Yven Klein Blue is our latest obsession.
 
Named after the French artist who retained the brilliance of a pure blue pigment suspended in linseed oil in the 1957 exhibition ‘Proposte Monochrome, Epoca Blu’, this lapis lazuli shade – also known as International Klein Blue (IKB) – conveys the purity of Madonna’s robes and richness of discovery.
 
Saturated and homogenously stained, Klein’s vibrant “Pop Art” creation feels very relevant in the absence of daylight as the nights begin to shorten and the promise of spring is near.
Trends Shaping Consumerism
 
The short holiday selling season was make-it-or-break-it for many retailers, and it certainly amplified the fever pitch of promotion. That, in turn, has amplifyied the demand for accelerated, quicker than normal services. So in 2015, you can bet that this go-go pace will not be exclusive to just the holiday season.
 
Creating a Diamond Lane will be the HOV of shopping services, as retailers look for opportunities to simplify transactions and, at the same time, expedite the checkout process for time-starved customers. This new segmentation strategy benefits the needs of either the quick or the leisurely shopper by giving both parties the service they want.
 
Brands seeking to maintain loyalty and increase their average ticket sale will consider creating a Diamond-Lane as the ultimate customer service experience. Implementing a Diamond Lane will also help to lure online and mobile customers into brick-and-mortar locations, without the risk of showrooming or expedited shipping, and will give the impression of VIP status.
 
We love how this trend anticipates the needs of multiple customers’ profiles without delving into income or socioeconomic status. Time is a luxury and no longer an indicator for how much or how little one might spend. 
cosmic trends
 
In honor of the weekly social media posting trend and hashtag game, Throwback Thursday, we’re getting nostalgic about the Sagrada Família in Barcelona, Spain. The cosmic neutral palate, hypnotic shapes of the decorated ceiling, and ornate pillars built to resemble trees of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpiece still captivate the imagination. 
Marine Area 7, (c) In Your Head, LLC
 
Fans of Jim Henkens’ photography (A Boat, a Whale & a Walrus: Menus and Stories by Renee Erickson and Grow Cook Eat: A Food Lover’s Guide to Vegetable Gardening by Willi Galloway) are sure to love his newest venture: a retail shop called Marine Area 7 in Seattle.
 
Marine Area 7
 
Together with his wife, Jennifer Henkens, the new store is "dedicated to the art of imperfection in the kitchen", while being both beautiful and charming. This genuine and candid mantra plays out in hearty fixtures and tested offerings – both new and vintage – that reflect a reinterpretation of the status quo and it’s must-have-colors of enamel cookware.
 
 
Throughout the space, there’s an unspoken durability in merchandise offerings that balance masculinity with reality. Many products, from cast iron skillets made in Portland to knives made using vintage carbon steel blanks from Sabatier, have been thoughtfully sourced out of a passion for finding the exact tools and objects for use, rather something that might look shiny and new on the countertop.
 
 
We love that imperfections at Marine Area 7 have nothing to do with poor quality or flaws, but rather a license to develop a beautiful patina, season a pan, and reuse the best of what our kitchens or homes have to offer. Being a perfect cook or hostess is a hard promise to live up to, and we love how this store lays the groundwork for striking and straightforward livability. 

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