Crosby Street is as nice a Soho street — quiet, cobblestoned, relatively uncrowded by touristing mobs — as we've got anymore, and as of last week, it boasts a new shop: Derek Lam. The designer announced himself with a flashy party — Rihanna even swung by. Lam, who's been in business for six years, is among the first of his generation of designers (along with Phillip Lim) to open a stand-alone store — a bold statement, particularly right now. But the store itself is the big draw. With its wavy glass partitions, it represents a departure from the cookie-cutter way Soho shops have been looking for a little too long now.
If all the glass and movement seems fit for an installation, then it makes sense that the store was designed by SANAA, the Tokyo-based firm behind the New Museum on Bowery. The space consists of several large glass pods that resemble a very elegant terrarium. "We wanted the patron to experience the clothes in an open yet intimate way," explains Ryue Nishizawa, who is half of SANAA, as well as one of Lam's very first customers. The pods are flexible and move around to accommodate different collections and create variable flows through the space. So even if you're not shopping much these days, the shop warrants a design-buff drop by.