retail concepts

The art of fashion in the Instagram age



Khaite store SoHo

There’s definitely a synergy between a certain type of upscale American designer and stores that think they’re art galleries. We’ve seen it from The Row, we saw it (briefly) from Raf-era Calvin Klein, and now it’s the turn of Khaite, whose first store opened last week in SoHo.

Think minimalist concrete walls, even minimalist-er merchandising (a lone dress on a rail), contemporary art touches and a general air of austere intimidation. Reader, I love it. (more…)



Net-a-Porter embraces repairs



Net-a-Porter repairs

Well, this is good news.

Following from my post a couple of weeks ago, Net-a-Porter* is embracing the repair revolution with a new aftercare service. It’s joining forces with The Seam to offer repair and alteration services for clothing and aftercare for handbags, footwear and jewellery bought through the UK site. (Mr Porter and The Outnet customers can enjoy the services this spring.) (more…)



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…)