The conventional definition of "shop" never stood much chance against the mighty, multi-faceted concept store. Colette in Paris always nails it, as does Merci, and one mustn't forget 10 Corso Como, the Milanese emporium owned by former Italian Vogue editor Carla Sozzani.

In such spaces there are always loosely themed areas, an attention to the arts and a celebration of great fashion labels. A good one may even be chaotic, but never messy. It'll have its own character, and be in constant flux. And it gets extra points if it delivers with good drink and food options, too.

The latest local reincarnation of the concept store is The Shelter, which opens today. Sitting next to Workshop at Number 78 Mackelvie St, Ponsonby, the space is the vision of fashion designer Vicki Taylor and her husband Mark. Having long nursed the ambition to align like-minded creatives in one shared retail complex, the pair are set to cater to the discerning shopper and, hopefully, with time, become part of the suburb's cultural imprint.

The stripped industrial space was realised with the help of Pennant & Triumph Architects, and will accommodate a cafe, a section devoted to Tokyo Bikes, homewares by The Foxes Den and, essentially, international fashion and accessories from Martin Margiela, Denmark label Barbara / Gongini and Arielle De Pinto. These will sit alongside Vicki's label, Taylor Boutique, as well as an array of pieces from Jimmy D's Children of Vision boutique - Bernhard Willhelm, Jimmy D and Otsu.

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We hope that this new venture has plenty of energy to burn, Ponsonby locals are forever in need of quality retail entertainment.


• 78 Mackelvie St, Ponsonby, (09) 951 0271, theshelter.co.nz


- VIVA