Springy platform Birkenstocks, a swank, on-demand wellness studio, and a six-piece womenswear collection featuring plenty of camp.
Sanctuary Studio The yoga fanatic in me finally found a place where the introvert in me can practice yoga in peace. Sanctuary, Seattle’s newest on-demand wellness studio, offers virtual content including yoga, sound baths, and guided meditations in private practice rooms you can book out by the hour using their app. A completely new take on wellness, Sanctuary might have finally cracked the code on using tech as a tool for finding presence in the real world. And, it doesn’t hurt that their studio is kitted out in swank, immersive décor with rich textures, dramatic lighting, and bold, saturated color. Walking into Sanctuary feels like being transported to your own private micro-retreat where nothing—and nobody—can distract.
—Lauren Gallow, executive editor
Birkenstock Arizona Birko-Flor Platform Sandals Behold: The popular German shoemaker unveiled its latest styles for spring and they’re… quite elevated. Birkenstock’s classic, cork-and-leather Arizona sandal—a ‘90s staple that made a huge comeback in 2012 when Céline’s Phoebe Philo featured it on a Paris runway (though some would argue it never really left)—has been morphed into a platform silhouette with a delightfully chunky EVA midsole. It instantly brought me back to my college days in the early aughts traipsing around campus (sometimes not successfully) in platform sneakers, sandals, boots, etc. The matte black version of these beauties is calling my name.
—Lauren Mang, digital editor
Yen Wong SUNNY SIDE UP! at London Fashion Week I have a strong bias toward London Fashion Week, and with good reason: Not only does the event showcase design powerhouses like Simone Rocha, Molly Goddard, and JW Anderson, but also up-and-coming designers fresh out of the city’s renowned fashion schools. This season, London’s Graduate Fashion Week program introduced Yen Wong, a Malaysian-Chinese fashion designer who recently received her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Brighton. Her six-piece womenswear collection, SUNNY SIDE UP! addressed the destructive standards of femininity and reflected a manic episode. Dressed like deranged 1950s housewives, models wore buttery yellow gingham dresses, hand-woven tweed suits, and exaggerated hourglass-shaped trench coats, paired with campy fish shoes and sunny-side-up egg glasses. (Yes, you read that correctly.)
—Claire Butwinick, assistant editor
Monica Castiglioni Showroom On my recent trip to Milan, I had the opportunity to visit the atelier of jeweler Monica Castiglioni, and lucky me, she was there! Tucked away in a northern central area of the city, the showroom feels more like walking into someone’s living room (during our stop-by, a friend of Monica’s dropped in and regaled us with praises of her work, a little friendly ribbing thrown in for good measure) than a traditional boutique. It’s warm and cozy, and the wooden cases and glass cloches display her sculpture and handcrafted jewelry—necklaces, rings, bracelets, and more against simple dove-gray backgrounds. Using a combination of bronze, semi-precious stones, and color, Castiglioni crafts her work with a sculptural eye—many of the pieces seem to take inspiration from biology. With nodes, curves, and arms, and—for lack of a more elegant word—blobs, the rings (of which, I want all) take on shapes that resemble microbes, fungi, and plants. I came home with a ring (as well as a couple of other pieces) that slightly resembles three pieces of orzo, and I am coveting any one of her chain necklaces. At the back of the shop, behind a curtain, is her workspace, which is a true cabinet of curiosities chock full of books, knick knacks, art, and prototypes. It’s a must-stop for any jewelry lover visiting Milan.
—Rachel Gallaher, deputy editor
The Best Things We Saw is a monthly roundup of places, spaces, and things that stopped GRAY staffers in their tracks. Herewith, our picks for the best of the best in February.