MAKE OF THIS WHAT YOU WILL:

The Backpack That Screams For You

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Even the most devoted New Yorker will have to admit that city life can be eaxperating at times. There are any number of people who will, at some point, make you want to let loose and tell them off in the loudest, most aggressive way possible, but decorum (and, not incidentally, the fear of some violent retribution) generally keep most of us from expressing our occasional frustrations. This week we got wind of an accessory that can silently make your point for you, or even just express all your inner angst with one, creepy turn of your back.

The folks at the avant-garde Lower East Side boutique ØDD tell us that the Kofta Screaming Backpack designed by Konstantin Kofta is made by hand in Ukraine from molded lambskin with sterling silver hardware, and available exclusively through the store for a mere $957. (For anyone not feeling confident enough to express their true feelings, there is another style which literally gives you a spine for $1,255.) That may seem like a steep price to pay just to scream at the immediate world, but imagine the relief you'll feel by getting all those bottled up emotions off your chest... or your back.

ØDD 164 Ludlow Street between Stanto & East Houston Streets, Lower East Side
3bed


SHOE LUST:

Leffot + Nick Wooster
Present Some Shoes To Save Up For

LeffotXWooster

Get a load of these!

We first caught a glimpse of the boots on Park & Bond's Tumblr a few days ago, and were hoping that they would be selling them on line, (so maybe we could rack up enough Gilt invitation credits to buy them) but our most admired men's shoe store Leffot announced to day on its website, that these shoes and boots from famed English cobbler Alfred Sargent will be made exclusively for themselves in collaboration with menswear idol Nick Wooster (seen reflected in the mirror above). The shop is now taking reserve orders for these camouflage patterned suede shortwing brogues and cap-toe boots with triple soles which will be available this Fall priced at $695 for the shoes and $750 for the boots —so... low to mid price range for Leffot typical offerings, and high to totally out of the question for most of the rest of us. Sigh...
The shoes and boots were created by Wooster for his special Project Wooster section of the recent Project trade show in Las Vegas which features camouflage as a theme. We can never get enough of that, so consider us fully obsessed. We are guessing that if you want a pair of these for your own feet, you had better order ASAP.

Nick Wooster + Leffot: Project Wooster (Leffot Official Site)
Here’s your first look at Nick Wooster’s upcoming collaboration with Leffot and Alfred Sargent (Park & Bond Tumblr)


NEW IN STORE:

MUJI Skincare Hits The U.S.

 

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Generally, Fashion Week is all about any number of publicity minded entities fighting for attention, so there is something refreshing about the fact that, this week, Japanese retail chain MUJI has quietly launched its skincare line in all four of its U.S. stores which just happen to be in New York City (as well as in the online store).

 

The well-priced line which includes an organic collection of lotions, moisturizers and toners as well as one for sensitive skin is thoughtfully packaged in both regular and travel sizes, typifyng the chain's philosophy of useful and practical design.

The Shophound is starting to think of Muji as an old fashioned variety store filled with modest but frequently perfect items, often coming to the rescue when we are exhausted looking for the perfect thing from desk items to storage and shelves. It is always worth a browse in one of their shops if you haven't been in there in a while, even if it's just to pick up a few of their great pens and notepads.

Muji Skincare (Muji.us)


WINTER SOLUTION:

Muji Introduces Your iGlove

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It feels like we have been ignoring our other favorite Japanese retail chain lately, so let us correct that by presenting a new item that perfectly fulfills Muji's mission of providing practical, useful products. This Saturday, the company will launch the Touchscreen Glove for men and women which will allow wearers to operate their iPhones, iPads, iPod Touches and any other touchscreen devices in cold weather without removing their hand-coverings. The gloves have connective material interwoven through the thumb and forefinger tips in eight different colors, so now you will be able to check Facebook or Twitter while you are waiting for a bus or train during what is sure to be another brutal winter. Just think, now you can have toasty fingers as you walk and text all over the city while the sidewalks are covered in snow and ice. Imagine the entertaining wipeouts they will facilitate. OK, so use with caution...

Muji's Touchscreen Glove will be available in stores this Saturday October 29th and are available online right now.


ELECTRONICS ADVICE:

Decide.com Will Tell You
When To Buy That Computer

Decide
Buying a car is not that complicated. The model years end always end at a certain time and you always know when to buy if you want the latest thing. If you want the best price and don't care if you have last year's car, you can buy at the end of the model year. Simple.

Computers, smartphones, tablets and other electronics, however are not quite as easy to figure out. The products evolve so quickly that even retailers aren't always quite sure when new models will be announced. Unless you want to spend your time constantly tracking techblogs, you can't always tell if something is coming out in a month's time that will render your new laptop obsolete.

Decide.com has arrived to make all those decisions easier. The High Low reports that the recently launched site is designed to tell you if you should buy that camera now, wait for a the price to go down or sit tight for the estimated arrival of an updated model. The folks at Decide dispense all this advice using complicated algorithms that track release and pricing histories for thousands of electronics models that we couldn't begin to explain further. What we do understand is that the site will tell you, for example, to wait until later this month to buy a MacBook Air when a new model is expected, but if you want to spring for a MacBook Pro, you should get it now because prices aren't changing, and a new version isn't expected for at least six months.

For the moment, the site only covers TVs, computers and cameras, but as it develops, we are told it will be adding phones and tablets, and any other electronic devices that will infiltrate our lives before we know what has happened. It's inevitable that machines will take over our lives, but at least you'll have surrendered yours to the latest, most updated one.

Finally! A Site That Tells You When To Buy New Electronics (The High Low)


HOLIDAY POP-UP:

COOL HUNTING X GAP
Will Be Your Favorite Gift Shop

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Is there anythign more frustrating than shopping for gifts and being faced with the same old crap everywhere you turn? A few months ago, the folks at the GAP began addressing this problem by approaching Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten of Cool Hunting to fill their Fifth Avenue Concept Shop with Holiday Gifts. The pair quickly got to work squeezing about six months of work into four weeks and wound up with a collection of items that perfectly encapsulates their website's endless quest for the unusual, the intriguing and the just plain cool.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-3 Rubin, Orensten and their editorial team's assortment ranges from brands you'll recognize like OXO, Moscot and Jonathan Adler, who made special limited edition merchandise for the shop, to obscure artisans and even friends and family. Special focus was given to local sources, and there are an abundance of items under $100, and quite a few under $50.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-05 Orensten walked us through the store last week as the finishing touches were being applied just before their opening party. There are tons of items to browse from the practical and utilitarian like Jawbone's hot new Jambone speaker in an exclusive Cool Hunting green to specially commissioned flights of fancy like working skateboards completely covered in kimono fabrics by Tokyo's Zillion ($650-$750). There are toiletries, jewelry, accessories, food items, home items, toys for kids and even some for pets. Is it a random assortment? In a sense, but as in any good store, the merchandise is tied together with its collective appeal and Cool Hunting's dedication to innovative design, artisan craftsmanship, social and environmental consciousness.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-2 Of course, they didn't just ship a bunch of stuff to the Gap and stack them on the shelves. ByKenyan was engaged to transform the white space of the shop into something of a general store with reclaimed wood from upstate barns, wall paintings by Evolving Image and an Ian Hundley quilt based on a map of the city ($2,500). Even the elaborate chandeliers are available for purchase.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-04 There are too may items to recount, but our personal favorites included a limited edition Cool Hunting collaboration with the newly rejuvenated Swiss watchmaker Marvin, a charming avocado salt & pepper shaker for $40 from Daina Platais Ceramics, Tech Gloves from Freehands ($18-$80) with thumb and index fingers that peel back so you can use your iPhone without removing them, a Special Edition Marker Set ($500) from artist Tom Sachs and Krink, a build-it-yourself Bamboo Bike Studio Kit for $496, a limited edition Mast Brothers chocolate bar ($10), a special edition wool cycling cap from Outlier ($90) and so much more.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-01 In addition, Gap and Cool Hunting will be hosting a series of events throughout the season to spotlight special designers and products. The schedule of events will be available on Gap's Facebook Fan Page. The Cool Hunting shop will be open every day (except Christmas) through Sunday, January 2nd, but we are guessing that much of the limited edition merchandise will be sold out well before then, so don't dawdle. So far this is one of our favorite things to hit Gap's Concept Space in quite some time. Maybe if we are very, very good it will become a regular seasonal event.

GAP X Cool Hunting Holiday Pop-Up Shop through January 2nd, 2011, 680 Fifth Avenue between 53rd & 54th Streets, Midtown
Cool Hunting (Official Site)

After the jump, a few more of our favorite items:

Continue reading "HOLIDAY POP-UP:

COOL HUNTING X GAP
Will Be Your Favorite Gift Shop
" »


Grahame Fowler Has The Next Shirt

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A couple of years ago it was stripes.

Every guy in the city seemed to be sporting a multicolored, striped shirt. At times it looked like someone had raided an awning shop, and then came the plaids. The city has turned into Lumberjack Town, with all manner of checks and tartans invading our wardrobes from flannels to ginghams to madras. So what's next?

Before you go diving into the treacherous waters of the paisley pool, have a look into Grahame Fowler's West Village shop. That's where we saw the spiffy dotted shirts pictured above in superfine pinwale corduroy. If you think polka dots are too bold, then picture them under one of Fowler's velvety moleskin jackets, and consider yourself ahead of the game.

You don't have to tell us twice to visit Fowler. Innocuously tucked away between Greenwich and Seventh Avenues, the nearly year-old store remains full of Fowler's appealing, exclusive menswear with some vintage finds mixed in. It's well worth a detour from the beaten path especially if you have tired of the Bleecker Street Mall.

Grahame Fowler Original 138 West 10th Street between Greenwich & Seventh Avenues, West Village

Previously:
New Additions: Grahame Fowler Launches A Cozy West Village Emporium


PLANNING AHEAD:

L.L.Bean Signature's
One Day Flash Fall Preview

BeanbootsLet us just say that there is no way The Shophound could have gotten through the last miserable winter without our L.L.Bean boots. Forget about those rubber wellies people trudge around in, nothing has ever kept our toes drier or toastier than than a pair like these. As it prepares to launch its premium L.L.Bean Signature Fall range designed by Alex Carleton next month, the legendary Maine outfitters are teasing fans with a one-day-only preview featuring a special edition version with an unusual black full-grain Chromexcel leather upper instead of the classic tan. At $149, they are a worthy investment for anyone who lives in an area prone to giant pools of slush like our fair city. They will be available to order today July 22nd only through THIS LINK  for men and THIS LINK for women. Last season's preview shoe, a handsewn ranger moc, sold out almost instantly, so act fast.

L.L.Bean Signature Black Bean Boots available only on July 22nd for MEN and WOMEN


A Classic Returns:

Picardie Glasses Reappear In Stores
As Bistros And Cafés Restock

Picardie Is it weird to get too attached to a drinking glass?
Well, we have been known to obsess over lesser things, for sure.
A few years ago, brasseries, design aficionados and lovers of arcane French stuff were beside themselves when the famous glass company Duralex ceased production of its famous Picardie tumblers (and everything else they made) due to financial troubles.
Designed in the 1920s and made of durable tempered glass by the 30s, they are suitable for hot and cold beverages. The curvy, stackable tumblers are nearly unbreakable, and when the do shatter, it's in a million pieces, avoiding the danger of jagged edges. Practical, comfortable to hold and pretty, they are the perfect glasses, and were considered a classic example of 20th Century design.
Part of their appeal has also been their low price, but in spite of their democratic charm, Picardie glasses had been staples at upscale stores like Crate & Barrel, Williams-Sonoma and The Conran Shop (but also at Target.com) for years, until recently.
The Shophound managed to score a boxfull in different sizes when C&B closed out of them, figuring that they would eventually be collectors' items, while while anyone trying to replace their stock was forced to turn to eBay, expensive internet resources like Replacements.com, or make do with clumsy, chunky "substitute" styles.
No longer!
Last weekend we spied a whole shelving unit full of the glasses in various sizes at Bowery Kitchen Supply in the Chelsea Market and promptly grabbed some of the largest 17 oz. coolers for a whopping $4.50 each. "We just started carrying these", we were told by a clerk, unaware that there was a colony of drinkware fans pining for their return. Still made in France, they were exactly as we had remembered them right down to the stamp on the bottom.
At Design Within Reach's Tools For Living store in SoHo, two sizes are now available in sets of six for $25, and the sales staff told us that they can't keep them in stock, and a new American company, Duralex USA, has been set up to handle distribution.
Our kitchen shelves can rest easy now, knowing that our little link to the cafés of Paris has been restored.


Today In Bookbags:

The Strand Loves Its Customers

Strandbag_2We love The Strand Bookstore possibly because it is one of the few remaining independent bookstores in the city. Jut because it is losing its Fulton Street Annex, don't think they are struggling. Despite the convenience of the giant behemoth book chains, The Strand has its own charm, even when the air conditioning is working at half power (which is generally always).
Adding to its extensive line of that New Yorker staple, the canvas tote, The Strand has recruited graphic novelist and loyal customer Adrian Tomine to design a smart new bag featuring the profiles of what the artist sees as the store's typical customers.
At a mere $10.95 it sure beats the price of a lot of other designer collaborations we can think of. Hopefully, this will be the first in a series of many such items.
Tote Bag: Adrian Tomine (The Strand via RACKED)
Previously: Moving On: Strand Annex Set To Close This Summer