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23.02.2018 Wellness : Beauty : Hospitality

Womenswear brand Aries launches mens’ collection, Tsutaya’s relaxation retail space and butter sales are on the rise.

1. Artist explores darker side of self-care

The Salon installation by Juno Calypso, London The Salon installation by Juno Calypso, London
The Salon installation by Juno Calypso, London The Salon installation by Juno Calypso, London
The Salon animation still by Juno Calypso, London The Salon animation still by Juno Calypso, London
The Salon animation still by Geriko, London The Salon animation still by Geriko, London

London – Artist Juno Calypso’s The Salon is a commentary on our current obsession with self-improvement, beauty rituals and wellness.

Located in Galeria Melissa, the Covent Garden flagship store of Brazilian footwear brand Melissa, The Salon is dystopian installation that questions the cult of beauty. Visitors to the installation enter the basement of Galeria Melissa to find a room saturated in a sinister red light, with mannequins set up in various positions as if they were patients at a sinister spa. Calypso created a spa-like scent of honey mixed with disinfectant as well as a bespoke soundtrack. ‘I’m really interested in how people use self-improvement, and the ways it can go wrong,’ the artist told Wallpaper. ‘It’s a bit like really bad science fiction.’

The installation aims to question the darker side of the self-care industry and explores similar sentiments to Bompas & Parr’s Spa of Unconcious Desires, which was on show at the Mondrian Hotel during London Design Week 2017.

2. Aries plays with gender norms

Aries menswear for Mr Porter, London Aries menswear for Mr Porter, London
Aries menswear for Mr Porter, London Aries menswear for Mr Porter, London
Aries menswear for Mr Porter, London Aries menswear for Mr Porter, London

London – Cult streetwear brand Aries has always played with gender tropes. Initially starting as a womenswear line that was inspired by men’s streetwear, the brand recently launched a men’s collection and will be on sale in menswear showrooms and online at Mr Porter.

With so much of Aries’ existing clothing verging on gender-neutral anyway, the decision to market specifically for men was more to meet a consumer demand than a need to distinguish between the sexes.

‘I always loved menswear on women and to distinguish between the two nowadays seems archaic,’ explains Aries creative director Sofia Prantera. ‘There is an obvious size issue, so we increased the size offering to meet the demand that was clearly there.’

Aries is part of a movement in streetwear not only create to clothing for women, but to address whether streetwear needs to be gendered at all.

3. Coinbase launches digital currency platform

US – The digital currency exchange has launched Coinbase Commerce as a competitor to Paypal, making it easier to buy items online with cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase Commerce allows merchants ‘to accept multiple cryptocurrencies directly into a user-controlled wallet, according to a blog post on Medium. Similar to the way that merchants can offer Paypal as an alternative form of payment to credit cards in online transactions, they will now be able to integrate Coinbase directly into the checkout process. This means consumers can choose to pay with a variety of cryptocurrencies including Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin.

Coinbase Commerce has already been integrated into multichannel commerce site Shopify, signalling further movement towards the mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies.

Coinbase Commerce Coinbase Commerce

4. Retailer opens a space for relaxation

Book Apartment by Tsutaya, Tokyo Book Apartment by Tsutaya, Tokyo
Book Apartment by Tsutaya, Tokyo Book Apartment by Tsutaya, Tokyo
Book Apartment by Tsutaya, Tokyo Book Apartment by Tsutaya, Tokyo

Tokyo – Bookstore and video rental chain Tsutaya has opened a 24-hour space dedicated to relaxation activities, from reading to napping.

The six-floor Book Apartment features a variety of spaces for customers to while away the hours. Beyond the usual café-cum-retail space that has become mainstream in retail in recent years, the Book Apartment also has private relaxation booths, nap rooms, a powder room, showers and a co-working space with computers and iPads available to work from for a fee that starts hourly. There is also a sake bar in the basement.

The sheer breadth of amenities blurs the lines between retail and hospitality, and gives customers an in-between space to find respite between the office and the home. For more on the rise of Downtime On Demand spaces, see our microtrend.

5. Premium butter is the toast of the town

With consumer concern over natural fat abating over recent years, the butter market has grown. While it is expanding globally both in volume and in sales, the commodity’s revenue growth is outpacing volume sold as consumers choose to spend more for better quality butter. For instance, despite the fact that Arla-own brand Lurpak’s sales volumes declined 2.7% in 2017, revenue was up 8.3%, according to Bloomberg.

The return of butter comes at a time when consumers are rejecting fad diets and tiring of the varying wars over nutritional claims.

6. Thought-starter: Will autonomous cars solve our congestion problem?

Paul Priestman, the chairman of transport design agency PriestmanGoode, outlines his concerns about the potential applications of autonomous vehicles.

Today during the rush hour people rush to work in their vehicles and rush home from work and park them. With autonomous vehicles, the dream is that you get dropped off from work and then your vehicle goes and does something else, such as pick up your washing. But this is problematic – you're just going to end up with cities full of traffic jams of cars with nobody in them.

As soon as you get driverless cars, [there could be a] ‘dodge the traffic warden app’, where your car could just hang around on a street corner, and just before the traffic warden is about to issue a ticket, it'll nip off.

Autonomous vehicles will appear on the streets quite quickly, but whether they make anything more efficient is another matter.

Read the full Viewpoint on the caveats of autonomous cars here.

Concept AV by Ustwo Concept AV by Ustwo