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In July of this year, Harrods opened the doors of its new Toy Kingdom featuring the progressive design and an over-the-top fun factor. Commissioned and executed by Singapore- and London-based design firm Shed Design, the 26,000 square foot space has been described as a “retail theatre” and is organised to cater to parents who want to shop for toys based on play value rather than gender.

Using lighting and atmospheric music to transition from one space to the next, shoppers can wander from the Big Top: a fairground of circus acts and candy floss, with magicians and jugglers on stage surrounded by fancy dress costumes, doll houses, rocking horses and soft toys to the Candy Store: a chocolate counter displaying a bizarre array of chocolate fancies and flavours, alongside Papa Bubble who makes flavoursome candy concoctions to order throughout the day. There's also an Enchanted Forest where fairies whisper from tree trunks and teepees on the forest floor house the latest collections from Sylvanian Families and Flutter Fairies, a Wonderland featuring a colourful ‘Grand Canyon’ of toys presided over by a giant dragon and the Odyssey: a sci-fi area dominated by a gigantic space rocket and an Area 51-inspired space and gadget zone.

 Creatures of the Wind

Peter Som


I am officially obsessed with something and that's never a good thing.

I came across Leica's X2 camera the other day and was floored by the beauty of its design.  While I'd  heard of the brand, I'd never really paid it too much attention, preferring to use more modern and 'technologically advanced' cameras instead.  While there are benefits to these, there is without a doubt something quaint and wonderful about the old-school styling of this camera and now Leica is broadening its appeal by expanding its à la carte programme to the X2, thereby allowing you to personalize and modify the camera to your specifications.

You start by choosing either a traditional black, silver or titanium clad, anodised finish for the body as a basis for personalisation and then add the preferred leather trim.  Ten different leather options are available including the particularly high-quality, organically tanned, smooth leather in cognac, the classic ostrich look embossed leather in black or chestnut, and a range of five different colours in premium cowhide, which has been specially treated to resist environmental influences.  Customers may also further personalise the camera with a custom engraving on the flash cover or the top plate of the camera.  This ensures that each Leica X2 à la carte camera is absolutely unique.

My obsession was further compounded when I realised Paul Smith has designed a limited run of 1,500 X2 cameras (pictured above).  Called the Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith, the camera combines British style with German design.  Smith's iconic stripes are recreated in the bright orange of the top plate, the British racing green of the leather trim and the fluorescent yellow of the base.  Smith has also highlighted the stylised light bulb engraved on the cover of the pop-up flash.  As well as the camera, the special limited edition features a range of accessories also designed by Paul Smith including a camera protector and a camera strap, both in taupe-coloured calfskin and a lens cleaning cloth inscribed with ‘Paul Smith for Leica'.

The Leica X2 à la carte programme will be available from the end of this month and order can be placed for the Leica X2 Edition Paul Smith

This is a sweet idea.  The Spaghetti Tower from Ototo not only stores your pasta in an adorable container with a rooster on top, but it also measures the ideal quantity for your meal via cylindrical openings of different diameters in the cap which dispense from one to four portions. 
Costello Tagliapetra

Nicholas K

Images: island*atelier, Imaxtree
On the right is a picture from Yohji Yamamoto's Spring 2013 runway presentation and on the left is a necklace which was bought locally at a weekly street market at least seven years ago.  Slightly different scale (and probably material), but uncannily similar.
I'm not a great big fan of camouflage, but I do like Rogue Territory's take on the pattern.  The Drake camouflage printed canvas work shirt and trousers (pictured after the jump) are exclusive to Need Supply Co.  The  handmade denim goods are designed with specific attention to detail: the shirt features a full button front closure, two front buttoned shirt pockets and a curved hem detail.
Wish I'd known about this hotel when we were in the area earlier this year as I definitely would have stopped by to have a look around.

Situated next to Graz's main railway station, the Daniel Graz was originally constructed in 1886 but completely rebuilt on site about 60 years later by architect Georg Lippert who was contracted to reconstruct the hotel following its destruction during World War II.  Lippert chose a style characteristic of the architecture of the 1950s and consequently the exterior of the hotel has a modern, kitsch feel to it.  Subsequent renovations have modernised and updated the interior and the hotel now offers an intimate feel with reasonably priced rooms and a smart, modern decor.
Helmut Lang


Jen Kao

Image: Alexandre Reignier
I love the juxtaposition of the raw wood and metal base of this as yet unnamed coffee table by Alexandre Reignier.
With florals, graphic prints and saturated colours, the Spring 2013 lookbook from Clover Canyon's L.A.-based designer Rozae Nichols channels Vegas era Elvis to a T. The collection which is called "On The Road", features a cannabis disco ball prints, muscle cars and atmospheric shots of the dusty desert. 
Dwell and AHAlife have done the hard graft for us with this curated collaboration.  With the aim of bringing extraordinary design to its audience, Dwell has effectively opened its pages and is allowing its readers to purchase the items which are often featured on its pages.  New items will be offered on a weekly basis with items tied to stories covered in the magazine.  With design being fairly homogenous these days, Dwell and AHAlife are not breaking any new ground; there is a certain degree of familiarity to the items offered with several, like the Flux chair pictured below, already having been featured on this blog.

Images: Stephen Sullivan

Following on from her Topshop collaboration earlier this year, Mary Katranzou - lover of digital photo prints and pattern with a capital 'P' - has collaborated with Current/Elliott creative director Serge Azria on a series of denim pieces which translate her designs into more casual, everyday wear at a lower price point.  The currency-inspired line includes denim pieces, skirts and dresses all of which will go on sale mid-February 2013.
Image: Westward Leaning
Opening Ceremony and the recently launched San Francisco-based eyewear company Westward Leaning have teamed up to create a line of one-of-a-kind sunglasses which perfectly encapsulate the Opening Ceremony brand.  The line called Color Revolution, features futuristic-looking clear frames with ultra-bright neon lenses in orange, pink and blue.
The French division of Japanese fashion chain Uniqlo has teamed up with Paris-based design collective Andrea Crews to create a limited-edition line of customised cashmere sweaters just in time for the holidays. The 10-piece collection features seasonal motifs like mountains, snowmen and Christmas trees and will go on sale at Paris concept store Colette from November 5.  Along with this promotion, Uniqlo will also offer shoppers at its Paris Opera store the opportunity to have cashmere items which have been purchased in-store customised with Andrea Crews designed patches or embroidery.
Image: Pernod
This striking collaboration was unveiled, funnily enough not in Paris, but at the start of this year's Mercedes Benz Fashion Week in New York.  Gildas Loaëc and Masaya Kukori, co-founders of clothing and record label Maison Kitsuné and Pernod, one of the most well-known producers of absinthe, have teamed up for the first-ever capsule clothing collection based on a spirit and the concurrent release of a limited edition bottle.  The designers have devised a whimsical and unique print featuring the signature Kitsuné fox mascot prancing among highly saturated florals which appears both on the bottle as well as Maison Kitsuné's clothing.
Image: Three Dots
I know I feature a lot of collaborations here and as I've come across so many recently, I thought it would be interesting to dedicate one week to featuring several new collaborations I've come across but not gotten around to writing about yet. 

First off the starting block is this co-branded capsule collection from Minnie Mortimer and California-based Three Dots who make some of the softest and most comfortable casual and maternity wear.  This 10-piece collection includes a maxi dress, a shirt dress and bandage dress in Mortimer’s signature stripes, as well as ink blots and abstract prints.  The collaboration will be available in select stores and online from January 2013.
Image: Tim Webber
I love it when design is fun and whimsical but also practical like this: the Beach Ball chair designed by Tim Webber.  

Webber's original idea was to experiment with inflatable structures and he also had a desire to explore and repurpose common objects.  Here he takes eighteen beach balls and has bound them in a steel frame which holds the balls securely in place and forms a supportive frame.  The balls are positioned in such a way that when seated the body only makes contact with the inflatable objects and not the steel supports, creating unusual and tactile sensations. In addition to the Beach Ball chair,  a Beach Ball sofa is also available.
Alexander Wang

Vera Wang

I came across these stunning shoes from Sophia Webster during fashion week and was immediately drawn to the playfulness of the heels.  Webster who is an alumnus of London’s Cordwainers College and the Royal College of Art, will be launching her eponymous label in stores for pre-spring 2013.  Using materials such as raffia, multicolored python skin and vinyl embedded with sequins, Webster’s collection spotlights delicate shoe shapes that she describes as “fun and sexy but wearable”. The 60-piece collection will include feminine high heels, flat sandals and some platform looks.

Webster currently works as a design assistant to Nicholas Kirkwood, who supports the new line with his business partner, Christopher Suarez, as a separate collection.

Concept Korea

Hérve Léger
Image: Studio Klass
Non là is a ceramic table clock designed by Marco Maturo and Alessio Roscini, the designers behind Studio Klass.  While the conical shape of the piece is inspired by the well-known Vietnamese straw hat called the Nón ló, the shape also has a functional aspect: when the clock is placed on a table, the base of the cone is weighted and facilitates reading the time.  The clock is being manufactured by Italian manufacturers Diamantini & Domeniconi, who boast a broad portfolio of unconventional clocks and housewares.  Non là, their latest project, debuted at Maison & Objet last month.
Image: Net-a-Porter
While I can't see many people tramping through muddy fields in them, this take on the original tall Wellington boot from Hunter is perfect for city life and may just help you survive all the inclement weather which should be heading our way any day now.  The update on the heritage label's classic rubber boot gives it a fashion-forward makeover, transforming it with a stunning pearlescent finish which changes colours from purple to green depending on the light. 

I came across a few interesting places while I was in the Caribbean earlier this year and one such spot was the The Orange Street Grocer which is located in the fishing village of Speightstown in the north of Barbados.  I literally stumbled across the restaurant while I was on a 12-hour tour of the island but was more than happy to break the trip and to relax and revive there.
Tommy Hilfiger

Alexander Wang