16 January 2006

Guerilla store!

I first heard about this from a guy of questionable sexual orientation in one of my Icelandic classes, but he had been taken there by someone else, and had no idea where it was. Then, on our way back from LHR in December, I got the address from the in-flight magazine. While it kind of eliminated some of the guerilla aspect to find it in the Icelandair magazine, I figured it was still worth a look.

Plus, the idea is cool- Comme des Garcons is opening these stores
all over the world in cities that aren’t usually top international designer attractions (so New York, Paris, and London are out of luck). They set them up in an area that is not typically a fashion shopper destination, where they are only open for a year or so. Advertising seems to be mostly word-of-mouth, little articles, and People In The Know.

I am not a high-fashion kinda girl for the most part, but the idea was interesting enough that I clipped the address from the magazine, but forgot about it in the frenzy of fireworks and eating that is the Christmas-New year period here. On Saturday though, as we headed to IKEA for yet another bookshelf-buying trip, I saw someone taking Polaroids outside a building that has a fish-newspaper and formerly had a gym in it. It’s in the area where the infamous ÚTSALA ÚTSALA was (described by a fellow ice-blogger here) and one of the two-week fireworks shops. Store located!

J did a turn around the block so we could park, then we hurdled over the snowdrifts and found a sign in the window directing us around the building and through the shipyard. A baby carriage parked in the snow indicated the correct door of the several unmarked entrances, and we walked in to find the kind of retail space that New York City loves to create- gritty, spare, and grafitti-laden. The clothes were laid out on shipping palletes and hung on pipe racks, and the décor was distinctly dug-from-the-attic-and-garage with saggy mid-century chairs and some kind of wooden tool-organizing box with a few artfully arranged tools of the trade (gloves, paintbrushes, and scrapers) tucked among the cubbyholes.

The clothes were of a similar aesthetic, the grandma’s sofa upholstery jacket, the “I’m too cool for linings” wool trousers (comfy for all-day wear, I’m sure), and Björktastic dresses full of unfinished seams, elastic toggles, and puffy asymmetrical hems. None of these clothes are built for bodies like mine, so I won’t be buying anything, but it was still an interesting trip and worth the look, if only to say “I been there”!

Ship sighting: the entrance for this place was through the shipyard where Magni is, and where Víkingur is still undergoing a paint job. The road to the store went right below the hull and past the building where the machinery for pulling the ships out of the water is housed. Now that I know there is a “legitimate” reason to be back there, I’m going to have to go again when I have my camera and take pictures of the operation.


Angel said...

I love the pictures!!!

Sounds like you had fun checking out that store... how goes life in the Land?

No snow here in NC- in fact its been in the 60s, which is freakish winter weather, even in the South.

ECS said...

J disagreed with me saying I am not a fashion person so I felt the need to clarify. I love me some fancy shoes, and thanks to a grrreat sister-in-law with the same shoe size and generous amounts of hand-me-downs, I have quite a few. However, a $2000 dress that has been sewn inside-out from a feedsack (ok, not exactly what they had at the store, but definitely the concept they were going for) is not my idea of worthy spending. If the biggest justification for the price is "well, it IS comme des garcons" then I am not buying.