Our list of the best new shops of 2007. by Christina Panas
As international demand for high-end independent design increases, inventive flagships and smaller brand and concept boutiques are popping up in every corner of the globe. Here, the editors at Refinery29 have done the dirty work for you, paring down the list of the year's worldwide new indie outposts to the very best of 2007's opening season.
• New York—Honey In The Rough
With exposed brick walls and warm accents here and there, this alluring boutique showcases sweet frocks by high-end indie darlings like Samantha Pleet and Tsumori Chisato, as well as lingerie by London label Buttress and Snatch, jewelry from designer Iosselliani, and clean beauty products by SCO. Check out the 1940s-inspired make-up by Besame—application often courtesy of the proprietress, who was once a make-up artist—or stop by on any Saturday for a consultation with Rosie, the store's resident brow expert.
• New York—Project No. 8
Tucked away on a quiet block just south of Canal Street, this sophisticated boutique's modus operandi is celebrating the side project, in all its oft-concealed glory. Here, digressions and tangents are always at the forefront of the owners' penchants—a painter is one of the shop's most successful and long-running jewelry makers, for example—and are showcased alongside more obscure pieces from indie faves like Tsurukichi, Hope, and Kostas Murkudis.
• New York—3.1 Phillip Lim
This eponymous flagship store, with its spare, rough-around-the-edges aesthetic, serves as a prime setting for Lim's line of clean, elegant garb. Both the space itself and the clothing it houses play along boundaries between avant-garde and time-worn, hard shapes and a distinctly feminine sensibility, creating a delightful juxtaposition of playfulness and elegance that is emblematic of the brand.
This much-loved sneaker-and-streetwear institution re-opened early this summer after extensive renovations. The now-futuristic storefront is awash in bright lights and reflective surfaces, and houses the store's collection of exclusive kicks, each in its own mirrored cubby, designed for maximum ogling. The back of the shop, by contrast, is a low-lit, library-style boy's club displaying a collection of high-end men's clothing and accessories. The upper-level serves as a gallery of sorts, playing host to temporary pop-up stores from stand-out brands.
• Portland—Stand-Up Comedy
Deeming itself an "avant-general store," Portland's newest concept boutique hands-down is the city's best source for everything you never knew you needed: a custom distortion pedal for your guitar; books and leaflets from the Cosmic Wonder Free Press; or impossibly hip duds by Rachel Comey. Located off the beaten path—down a dark passageway in the backyard of a nondescript building—it's meant to be sought out, much like the wares the shop carries.
• Los Angeles—Opening Ceremony
The L.A. outpost of this beloved indie shopping mecca, much like its NYC predecessor, houses a vibrant smattering of under-the-radar designers, as well as the store's own eponymous line. While the West Coast location's racks are lined with the best labels the east has to offer, owner/designers Humberto Leon and Carol Lee assert that not only is the new store's clever styling an homage to their formative years in La Cienega (both are L.A. natives), but the current in-house collection was, in fact, inspired by the West Coast. East Coast, meet West Coast: let the rivalry commence. Again.
• New York—Den
A product of the curatorial duo behind much-lauded men's boutique Odin, Den's product installations are assembled with similar care, which makes all the difference: at a given moment, the space is dedicated to only one designer. One of New York's first long-running pop-up boutiques, Den offers both up-and-coming designers and shoppers a unique opportunity: for designers, a platform to strut their stuff without the distracting presence of competing labels; for shoppers, access to a complete experience of a single designer's point of view.
Den, 330 East 11th Street; 212-475-0079.
• Los Angeles—New High (M)art
Co-owners Miho Ikeda and T-RIK assert their 300 square foot Chinatown storefront is a "staging ground for a retail revolution."Operating on a calendar similar to that of an art gallery, LA's tiniest new shop will present a series of designer pop-up stores and guest buyer/curator mini-boutiques. Each installation provides an opportunity for a single sought-after designer, brand, or idea to be fully explored and merchandised in a four-to-six week period. Current exhibition: avant-nerd hometown label Grey Ant.
• Oslo—Secret Society
Catering to a crowd of discerning consumers obsessed with independent designer goods, the four founders of Oslo's Secret Society have hand-picked a small roster of international brands they hold to be the best in the business. With a list that includes Martin Margiela Ligne 6, Junya Watanabe for Comme des Garçons, Rick Owens Lillies, and Surface to Air, this sweet little shop is unlikely to stay a secret for long.
With their first freestanding shop, Heimstone's designers are bringing their collection of rock-meets-military frocks to a wider audience. The 750-square-foot shop in the Saint Germain des Près neighborhood has a spare and sophisticated mood, perfect for spotlighting the brand's covetable sweaters, belts, and jackets designed to complement their signature specialty: the perfect modern dress.
Bernadette Penkov's sharp tailoring and menswear-inspired looks have found a worthy home in the center of Berlin's Mitte district. Void of unnecessary ornament, the shop—much like the wares available there—embodies easy, understated elegance and is an ideal setting for the designers' quietly modern sartorial vibe.
The inventive collective behind Pulver finally has a place to call home. In addition to carrying the label's signature minimalist pieces, their Mitte shop also showcases the work of their fellow German up-and-comers—all displayed in appropriately sleek, pared-down surroundings.
• Los Angeles—Jenni Kayne
The bold, rambling construction of glass, bamboo, and cement housing Jenni Kayne's eponymous L.A. boutique is a picture-perfect reflection of this young Angeleno's image: clean, timeless, and utterly fresh. While the clothes seem to hang at the edges of the 5,000-square-foot bungalow, the space still manages to feel warm: rich displays and tables offer carefully chosen collections of lingerie, estate jewelry, vintage Cartier and Tiffany watches; and a side-room is stocked with a selection of shoes, fragrances, and other incidentals, effectively making this boutique one-stop shopping for a night on the town on either coast.
Jenni Kayne, 614 Almont Drive, West Hollywood.
• London—Frost French
Located in the quaint-cool Camden passage in Islington, cult label Frost French's first boutique has been a long time coming. Opening nearly a decade after the designers started the house, this London boutique provides ample space to stock and display the label's entire current collection—all 166 pieces of clothing, lingerie, and accessories—as well as select pieces from seasons past, allowing fans immediate access to the designers' larger vision.
• Berlin—Strange Fruit
It's no secret that Berlin is quickly becoming a fashion capital to rival the likes of London and Tokyo, and new mega-boutique Strange Fruit is a gleaming emblem of the city's obsession with high-end indie fashion. Spread over two floors, the massive shop stocks the crème de la crème of international up-and-coming designer duds for guys and girls, as well as jewelry, accessories, and thoughtfully-chosen objects d'art. Introducing Berliners to designers like Jonathan Saunders, Anne Valérie Hash, and Richard Nicoll, buyer-curator Dalia Roth has filled this sprawling minimalist space with merchandise as progressive as it is diverse.
Our list of the best new shops of 2007.