retail concepts

Shop the post: Chalet girls



Slim Aarons après-ski style 1960

This week as I marinate in the damp, wind-battered streets of NW10, I’ve been reading all about the French mountain resort of Megève. In particular, the ‘chaletwear’ store AAllard that specialises in après-ski wear and whose founder Armand Allard actually invented the ‘fuseau’, aka the tapered, tailored stirrup pant that begat the stretchy ski pant as an early garment to tuck into ski boots. (When local ski champ Émile Allais wore them for his triple medal win in the 1937 world skiing championships, a trend was born.) (more…)



A coffee vs commerce conundrum



Jannel Therese Blank Street

“Six pounds for a cup of tea and you don’t even get a china cup!” This complaint was quoted to me some 30 years ago by my friend G; his mum aghast at the price of a cuppa in some National Trust cafe or other. Yet it’s a refrain that auto-plays all too frequently in my head when I pass any number of overpriced chain coffee outlets. Especially in the last two years when the premiumisation of, well, everything has played out in the world’s fashionable metros.

At WatchHouse (below), a new-ish UK coffee chain, you do get a lovely ceramic cup. The chain is notable for its upscale Aesop-esque branding (its design team is headed by a former Aesop designer), superior snacks, well-mannered baristas and several-steps-up-from-Starbucks hospitality area. (more…)



On my radar: Abask, your new design destination



Abask interiors

Heads-up: there’s a fab new e-commerce platform getting a lot of attention right now.

As fashion and beauty online retail have become saturated, as well as an overall fatigue with trends in consuming, it makes sense that some are shifting interests to interiors, a somewhat slower pace of taste signalling – for now.

Abask is the brainchild of Matchesfashion co-founder Tom Chapman and former ecommerce director Nicolas Pickaerts. Its premise is room-themed edits of lovingly-crafted artisanal pieces – whether new, vintage or antique. I’m all about the Study, where desk-destined Murano glass paperweights sit alongside Carl Auböck brass knick-knacks and exquisite vintage fountain pens. (more…)



Coming soon: Lucas Ossendrijver for Theory



Theory Project by Lucas Ossendrijver

I used to love Lucas Ossendrijver menswear for Lanvin. Finally, he’s back with a new collection – and it includes an offering for women.

Theory Project is a joint effort between Theory and Lucas Ossendrijver, launching on September 7th. It’s inspired by city living and people watching and includes ‘pragmatic’ contemporary classics – hooded parkas, striped shirting, chunky loafers – with a big focus on sustainable fabrics such as recycled wools and nylons. I’ve spotted the perfect boxy blazer and cotton twill pant and have my eye on the striped band collar shirt and velvet sneakers.

The photography by David Sims is a great intro to what we can expect but you can get a proper preview at Theory here. (more…)