Shopping Is Life?

Although several mass retailers think a steady flow of Fergie hits is perfectly conducive to shopping, "concept stores" like Steven Alan and APC put
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Although several mass retailers think a steady flow of Fergie hits is perfectly conducive to shopping, "concept stores" like Steven Alan and APC put
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Although several mass retailers think a steady flow of Fergie hits is perfectly conducive to shopping, "concept stores" like Steven Alan and APC put enormous thought into seemingly trivial details like props and play lists. According to an article in this month's Vogue, "Bought for a Song," retailers and designers are increasingly convinced that a shop's "musical DNA" and sensorial aesthetic can increase sales -- which means that employees spend the majority of their in-store time programming the communal iPod and scouting cooky vintage posters for the walls. The theme-based influence can be seen everywhere, from the pink chandeliers and tea-party tabletops at the C.Ronson Soho flagship -- a modern-day Strawberry Shortcake wonderland -- to the loungy, jet-set atmosphere at Prada. At the indie-llectual Opening Ceremony, Chloe Sevigny previewed her upcoming spring line by setting up a mock shrine to all things '80s teenager - including Morrissey album covers and a copy of Judy Blume's seminal "Dear God, It's Me, Margaret" - while rock spawn Daisy Lowe took to the decks at UNIQLO's London launch, spinning tunes that neatly complemented the store's streamlined look (Chromeo, The Maccabees). The MisShapes are notorious for their in-store appearances, and they were even hired to "curate" the windows of Henri Bendel last season. And we can barely step into Paris's Collete boutique without being assaulted by drool-worthy merchandise like White Stripes flickers, Ryan McGinley prints, and special-edition Batman comics. While such stores are pretty thrilling - and yes, pretty lethal to our credit card statements - some people hate them for hyping unrealistic lifestyles and indirectly dictating how their clothing should be worn. Our take on it? Chloe Sevigny may get to decide where her cat glasses go at Opening Ceremony, but when we buy them, we get to wear them our way - regardless of the lifestyle she wants us to buy. --NATALIE GUEVARA