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Top of the shops: our fave new openings and objects of 2012

Posted at 12:30 pm, December 27, 2012 in Shopping & Style

Shopping editor Katie Dailey picks the year’s highlights, from a new Hawaiian beauty parlour to Paris’s answer to eBay

The crackers

Lee Broom crystal light bulb
The humble light bulb was given a glamorous makeover by award-winning designer Lee Broom. Using Cumbrian crystal, Broom applied the same cutting techniques used for fine glassware (and no doubt inspired by his previous Decanterlight Clearship design – a lampshade which looked like the top half of a decanter). Who knew something so humble could become a luxury design classic? A real light bulb moment from Broom. From £109.

New shops open in London all the time. But cheap, cool ones that aren’t part of a chain you’ve already seen on every high street in Britain? Hardly ever. Monki is our favourite Swedish export since Daim bars, and when its debut UK flagship opened on Carnaby Street in February, we were the first in line to load up on high-waisted jeans for £30, bonkers jewellery for £3-£5 and some very cool underwear and accessories which rarely hit the £50 mark.

Hula Nails
Treatment rooms and nail bars can be a little clinical for our taste. Not so the riotously decorated, gloriously Hawaiian get-up of Hula Nails – the kind of grooming parlour that would be the product of a union between Dita Von Teese and Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, should they decide to go into spas together. Fabulous chocolate waxes, pedicures administered on a plump velvet couch and beautifully turned out burlesque therapists all put the treat back into treatments, making it our new favourite stop-off for a bit of slap and polish.

Opening Ceremony
You wait all decade for an Opening Ceremony store to open in London, and then two arrive in the same summer. First was its Covent Garden pop-up, timed to coincide with the Olympics, and celebrating the event with a round-up of British brand collaborations. This was replaced by a fun permanent flagship in October – housing Humberto Leon’s and Carol Lim’s trademark edit of cool limited editions, exclusive designs and edgy collaborations with brands such as Keds and Vans, as well as the complete Chloë Sevigny designer collection. For every £1,200 Proenza Schouler bag,there’s a pocket-money buy like novelty Post-it notes or a cheeky umbrella, making it great browsing territory.

Vestiaire Collective
One Parisian brand after another – from APC to Zadig & Voltaire – arrived on London’s high streets in 2011 and 2012, but – merde! – they didn’t come cheap. Which is why we were delighted to discover cult French designer resale site Vestiaire Collective was launching in the UK in March. Now we can shop the chic seconds of our Gallic sisters and brothers, on an efficiently presented, well-illustrated site that works more like a vintage net-a-porter.com than an eBay for posh frocks. All products are rigorously quality-controlled and there’s a zero tolerance policy for designer fakes.

The Turkey

Anna Dello Russo x H&M
This year saw the best of collaborations (a terrifically wearable and keepable Marni collection; an adventurous, cerebral line from Maison Martin Margiela) and the worst of collaborations: Anna Dello Russo at H&M. While we admire the gutsy individual style of Japanese Vogue editor ADR, our senses were overwhelmed by her blindingly blingy range for H&M this autumn. Gaudy gold pieces included strappy platforms that looked like they’d tottered straight off a podium at Spearmint Rhino, grotesque snake bangles that wound sleazily up the arm and wagtastic clutch bags encrusted with faux turquoise. Designer collaborations are supposed to sprinkle a little class and exclusivity over the high street. This brought the tone right down.

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