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Who says retail is dying? In the last month alone, we saw many store openings with merchandise ranging from cult beauty products and hard-to-find streetwear to denim jeans galore and iconic luxury labels. Here’s where we went!

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By Liza Ilarde

One Is Not Enough
Multi-brand shopping used to be the domain of online stores, allowing you to pick and choose what you need/want from one site without ever having to click elsewhere. Now this concept has trickled outside the world wide web and into your neighborhood mall! A unique one we got to visit is Freyja (pronounced frey-yah, the Nordic goddess of beauty) in Glorietta 2, a beauty hub which carries top sellers like Aveda, Benefit, and Peter Thomas Roth; cult favorites like Gerard Cosmetics, Jeffree Star Cosmetics, and Kora Organics; and K-beauty brands like Moonshot, Huxley, and Make P:rem—and that’s just what I can name off the top of my head because there are so many others! But Freyja is much more than just your typical beauty resource for makeup, skin care, hair care, and fragrance; it’s a community for beauty enthusiasts, where you can gather together, discover new products, and create content (yup, lots of colorful Instagrammable corners here!). Aside from just shopping, customers are encouraged to sign up at freyja.com and join what the site calls “the big beauty conversation.” As a social channel, you can make your beauty profile, post looks you’ve created, join discussions with other members, interact with some of the brand founders (in fact, Gerard Cosmetics’ founder Jennifer Gerard was present at the store’s opening party), and even earn as a content creator! (For more info, follow @beautybyfreyja on Instagram.)

If fashion, specifically streetwear, is more your thing, then head to Akimbo at Uptown Mall. I admit I wasn’t familiar with most of the labels the store carries, and at the launch last week, I could see why: The store caters to people who like unique one-of-a-kind pieces, under-the-radar brands, and things that you won’t see on the girl or guy next door. Do the names Opening Ceremony, Wood Wood, MSGM, or X-Large sound familiar to you? The streamlined industrial feel of the interiors is the perfect backdrop to the shirts, jackets, and trousers hanging on the racks, as well as the funky shoes displayed on low shelves. Scattered throughout the store are seemingly understated artwork and decor, which you’ll be surprised are by the likes of Basquiat, Sorayama, and Banksy, icons of streetwear culture. I also spotted a few Be@rbrick characters. Definitely a place for the young (and young-at-heart) who are into individuality, inclusivity, and independent thinking. (For more info, follow @akimbo.ph on Instagram.)

Freyja's open-shelf displays encourage customers to try colors and feel textures

Freyja’s open-shelf displays encourage customers to try colors and feel textures

Lip products from Jeffree Star Cosmetics...

Lip products from Jeffree Star Cosmetics…

... and Peripera

… and Peripera

Akimbo's streetwear looks provided by MSGM...

Akimbo’s streetwear looks provided by MSGM…

...and Unravel Project

…and Unravel Project

Lap of Luxury
Store Specialists, Inc. has always been known as the purveyor of everything luxury and this year, as they celebrated their 30th anniversary, saw many launches of brands they carry.
Tory Burch recently opened its third and largest store in the Philippines at Power Plant Mall. The South Court on the ground floor was turned into a virtual “garden,” complete with faux green grass and walls painted with colorful flowers that were actually signature prints taken from the current ready-to-wear collection. And just to take away from the twee-ness of it all, DJ Jessica Milner was in the house pumping up the crowd. Present for the official opening was Tory Burch Asia president Michel Gonzalez, seen hobnobbing with a few of Manila’s prettiest faces, who were dressed in Tory Burch printed dresses. The store itself is in keeping with the global look of all Tory Burch stores. Starting with the distinct orange double doors, the interiors are cozy and meant to have a residential feel, like you’re visiting the home of a very stylish friend with impeccable taste. There is shiny brass detailing, which picks up from the fragrance and lipstick packaging.

On the other side of town, Boss at Greenbelt 5 underwent a renovation to comply with the brand’s new store concept. Now open as a flagship, the masculine yet unintimidating 110-square-meter store is bright with neutral colors and an easy-to-navigate layout. For inspiration on how to put together the suits, shirts, shoes, and accessories, there’s a prominent LED screen that plays the latest campaigns and runway shows. At the launch, a few good(-looking) men like Nico Bolzico and Martin Stockinger were dressed in the latest Boss pieces and joined SSI president Anton Huang and Hugo Boss managing director for Southeast Asia Steven Lam for a toast.

Denim Revival
American Eagle Outfitters is open again in Bonifacio Global City! This time, it has moved to a posh address, One Bonifacio High Street. There you’ll get the same casual wear you’ve come to know and love from AEO, and most especially their jeans. The brand’s identity is celebrating freedom of expression and this is communicated through its current campaign Give. Love. Jeans. I guess what they’re trying to say is be good to yourself and buy some jeans—choose from straight fit, slim straight, slim, or skinny fit. And today November 23, they have special treats awaiting the first 50 customers at select branches. There will be great deals and promos the whole day! Last month, AEO offered a unique Customize Your Ne(x)t Level Jeans promo, wherein after you buy a pair of jeans, you can change the back patch. There were 12 designs to choose from (six each for men and women), which were then sewn on right on the spot! Well, some people missed out on it, so after popular demand it’s back! Here’s the sked: Nov 23-25, Alabang Town Center; Nov 30-Dec 2, Greenbelt 3; Dec 7-9, Megamall. (For more info, follow @aeo_ph on Instagram.)

Tory Burch boutique in Power Plant Mall

Tory Burch boutique in Power Plant Mall

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The overall effect of the new Boss interiors is elegant yet light with wooden cabinets and comfortable seating areas

The overall effect of the new Boss interiors is elegant yet light with wooden cabinets and comfortable seating areas

AEO1

American Eagle Outfitters' dressing is all about casual basics that can be dressed up or down

American Eagle Outfitters’ dressing is all about casual basics that can be dressed up or down

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