CHAIN REACTION: Armand and Martine Hadida are kicking off celebrations of the 30th anniversary of their Paris chain of L’Eclaireur boutiques in typically conceptual style by collaborating not with a designer but an artist on in-store events. For six weeks starting Oct. 14, photojournalist turned artist Gilles Ouaki will stage three exhibitions at various L’Eclaireur locations. “Redrum” at 7 Rue Hérold will feature his photographs of crime scenes against a soundtrack of gunshots; “RedRed” at 10 Rue Hérold will showcase his collection of red objects, and “Self-portraits” at 10 rue Boissy d’Anglas will consist of photos and sculptures of guns. Shoppers need not walk away completely baffled, however: Ouaki has also created a limited edition of 30 Leica X1 digital cameras for sale in the stores.
USA MOMENT: Tokyo’s Omotesando shopping district is about to get a double dose of Americana style. Both Michael Kors and Polo Ralph Lauren’s Rugby are preparing to open new stores in the area. Kors, which has a Japan presence through a network of department stores and specialty retailers, is preparing to open a freestanding unit along Omotesando Avenue. The Rugby store, which will be the brand’s first outpost outside the United States, is expected to open this fall. It will occupy a slice of the existing Ralph Lauren flagship with an entrance along “Cat Street,” known for its young trendsetters and edgy boutiques.
ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG: BBlessing, the influential men’s store at 181 Orchard Street in New York, is closing after four years. Despite lots of good press, the store, which has lamps bolted to the ceiling and an upside-down table for a clothes rack, succumbed. “The shop has been pretty slow for the past year,” said Nicholas Kratochvil, manager and designer of the BBlessing collection. “Other shops are closing in the neighborhood and there’s a lot of stalled construction.” Kratochvil said he counted nine closed storefronts on Orchard Street. Besides the signature collection, BBlessing sells hand-stitched Rag & Bone jeans and Raf Simons shoes. Collaborations include Rogan and Black Sheep and Prodigal Son’s Derrick Cruz. News of BBlessing’s demise came in an e-mail announcing that the store’s last day is Saturday. A closing sale will run until then. Kratochvil said everything must go, including fixtures and furniture. “People are rooting for us to start again,” Kratochvil said. “We’ve been talking to possible new investors, but there are no plans at this point to do the collection or open a store this year.”
FOR THE RECORD: Model-turned-photographer Helena Christensen may not hold the record for the world’s longest legs, but she hopes to make it into the Guinness annals by unveiling a catwalk of unprecedented dimensions in her native Denmark. Christensen will kick off a fashion show on Aug. 14 featuring 220 models on what organizers are dubbing The World’s Greatest Catwalk, a mile-long runway to be erected in the center of the Danish capital as part of Copenhagen Fashion Week. The event is being organized by the Copenhagen Fashion Council and four trade fairs, and will feature clothes from more than 500 Scandinavian brands. To date, the record for the longest catwalk was set by Pattaya International Fashion Week in Thailand last April, with a runway measuring precisely 5,231 feet and 11.3 inches, according to Guinness World Records — some 50 feet less than the planned new record.
ANIMAL, VEGETABLE, MINERAL: CoutureLab.com, which sells handmade, one-off and limited edition items sourced from around the globe, is showcasing a host of goodies from the Bangkok-based luxury brand Lotus Arts de Vivre at its London pop-up shop on Davies Street. There are hand-painted Balinese handbags, red Chinese lacquer tables in the shape of baby elephants, bowls made from silver and 300-year-old teak tree roots and fine jewelry glittering with diamonds and real scarab wings. The brand, founded by German-born Rolf von Bueren and his Thai wife Helen, currently sells a selection of its wares at stores including Bergdorf Goodman, Fred Segal Rocks in Santa Monica and Four Seasons hotels in the Far East. The Lotus Arts de Vivre items will be on show at the pop-up shop until the end of July.
WORTH IT: Awakening from its slumber, the House of Worth, which presented its second comeback couture collection earlier this month in Paris and simultaneously presented its spring prêt-à-porter collection in Milan, will launch its heritage edition Je Reviens perfume at Harrods in August. The first edition of the scent was released in 1932. Next year, the house also plans to relaunch its lingerie line, which was stopped in 2007, as well as a bespoke accessories collection spanning jewelry, gloves and bags. Worth is owned by Dilesh Mehta, chief executive officer of perfume manufacturer and distributor Shaneel Enterprises and SA Designer Parfums.
LONG LIVE LUXURY: A third of U.K. luxury goods firms are expecting sales this year to rise at least 10 percent, according to a new report by Walpole, the nonprofit organization that represents British luxury brands, and the London-based Ledbury Research. The U.K. Luxury Benchmark study is the first of its kind and is based on a survey of more than 60 senior executives across the fashion, jewelry, watch, hotel and automotive sectors. “The results show the financial crisis was a huge shock to the system, forcing companies to revisit the fundamental values of their brand. They also show that these companies are bullish about the future,” said Guy Salter, deputy chairman of Walpole, which commissioned the report. The findings reveal that sales last year were much better than expected, with 38 percent of companies posting growth. Overseas markets account for at least one-third of annual sales for most British luxury brands, while tourism generates more than 25 percent of sales for about a quarter of those surveyed.
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