Monday, February 9, 2009

The bidness of street fashion: Paris and London

Since I've last been to these cities (London in '07, Paris in '05), Europe's kinda been taken over by the diffuse concept of street style. It has brought along an obsession with quote-unquote accessible design, uniqueness, and an energy that a department store would be hard pressed to replicate, so I was very curious to see how high street (or in Paris, les grands magasins) has adapted. Unsurprisingly, they have uniformly picked up a STREET FASHION department.

The French iterations (called V.O.--version originale) at Galeries Lafayette and Au Printemps are, sadly, totally flat and listless--a bunch of cheap clothes in a basement accomp'ed by a Rihanna soundtrack. But with SPIRIT, Selfridge's on Oxford Street has executed something quite right. On its own ground floor wing, the department has a mix of high and low that feels intentional and cool (e.g. selected pieces like a Ted Baker bomber jacket, newish Brit designers like AllSaints, a small TopShop collection) with supreme random touches like a tattoo station and a wall of headbands. The result is something a little oontz-oontz that has at least taken stock of this newer, younger understanding of fashion. Way to stick it to the!

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