R.sole, a new retail concept in St. Louis, specializes in high-end special-edition sneakers and custom-made shoes. The dark, rectangular 1,972-sq.-ft. retail space blends a gallery-inspired configuration with a hip, urban-nightclub aesthetic. Niche wall display units are backlit by color-changing LED lights to enhance and highlight the special attributes of each shoe. The front windows are covered in translucent vinyl with geometric cutouts that allow passers-by glimpses of the interior. R.sole was designed by Tobin + Partners, New York City. Ö Architect and designer Peter Marino used building materials developed specially for Chanel in the renovation of the brandís 9,200-sq.-ft. Chicago flagship. New accents include large picture windows on Michigan Avenue. Ö Aveda opened its second Japanese flagship, in Osaka. The salon and shop reflect the companyís green ethic. Among the featured materials are reclaimed and recycled woods, and natural linoleum flooring. Soil and natural straw mud are used as wall in-fill. Ö The holiday selling season brought with it the usual flurry of store openings in Manhattan. Here are a few noteworthy ones: The new 10,000-sq.-ft. Ann Taylor Loft flagship, in Times Square, is twice the size of a typical Loft unit and a lot flashier as well. A wavy, 90-ft.-long sign with 30,000 lights marks the facade. The interior features various nods to Broadway, including a fitting-room area designed to recall the backstage of a theater. Exposed-brick walls, duct work and a 24-ft.-high ceiling provide an urban feel. Ö White House/Black Marketís first-ever Manhattan store is accented with crystal chandeliers, dressing rooms with silk curtains and a fireplace. In addition to being larger, the 3,550-sq.-ft. unit has a more elegant upscale feel than typical White House stores. Ö The new Paul Smith flagship is made up of five connected rooms, each with its own style and flavor. A boudoir-inspired room is home to the eclectic British designerís womenís wear line.
Karen Meskey-Wilson, previously VP and director, store design.
Ahold U.S. to Accept Bids on Foodservice Unit
Columbia, Md., Royal Ahold is expected to start accepting bids on its U.S. foodservice division, which has been plagued by financial woes in recent years, in early 2007. Among the companies expected to show an interest in the division are Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and Clayton, Dubilier & Rice.
Nine West Opens International Flagships
New York, Nine West Group, a division of Jones Apparel Group, opened flagship locations this December in Tokyo, Moscow and Vietnam as part of a global expansion initiative that began in early 2006. The new stores marked the debut of the company’s updated store format, which is designed to strengthen the brand’s fashion presence in footwear, accessories and handbags.