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Some shops take your breath away: they represent a theatre of spectacular design engineered by some of the best talent in the world. Not only do they make me want to buy everything in sight, but settle in and live the fantasy 24-7.

Newport Beach clothing store A'maree's is housed in a 1961 building by modernist architects Thornton Ladd and John Kelsey. And there is yacht parking, natch.

A lot of retail spaces are windowless boxes that incite a bit of claustrophobia, but the windows are the star feature of this store.

You can even catch glimpses of porpoises and fish through portholes in the poured concrete floor.

The giant strand of pearls dripping from the ceiling in Chanel's store on avenue Montaigne in Paris is a stroke of genius by luxury brand architect of choice, Peter Marino.

Lit by rock crystal chandeliers of an entirely unexpected sort, the homage to Coco continues with gold tweed on the walls, for a genuine jewel-box feel.

The queen of pared-down boho style, Isabel Marant, has a very different interpretation of French chic. Here a humble everyday object, the aluminum pie plate, is cast as a larger than life sculpture in the windows of Marant's Tokyo store.

Sometimes it's not about a spare, light-filled space: the Shakespeare & Company bookstore in Paris feels like a portal to another world that's cosy and eclectic.

In fact it doesn't seem like a place of business at all, just a secret hideaway.

The Milan store by Dutch fashion duo Viktor & Rolf displays the pair's typical flair for the absurd, from a fireplace on the ceiling to chandeliers hung from the floor.

The topsy-turvy effect continues throughout the whole store (sadly closed in 2008) with a herringbone parquet ceiling and upside-down neoclassic archways turned into benches for funhouse appeal.

I love how the hive-like windows of this Prada store, by stellar Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron, facets the Tokyo sky. The architects also drew on a stylized organic shape for the 'bird's nest' Olympic stadium they designed for Beijing in 2008.

Prada in the desert is the perfect marriage of art and commerce. This permanent sculpture by Elmgreen & Dragset in Marfa, Texas, was installed in 1985 and is intended to never be repaired so it will slowly degrade into the landscape like a fading photograph. Things took a nasty turn when vandals broke into the faux store three days after it was completed and stole the handbags and shoes, then graffitied the exterior, but it still represents my ideal environment — luxury amidst natural beauty.

For more, read about Lynda Reeves' top shops.

Photo credits:
1-3. Farfetch
4. Made by McKinlay blog, photography by Peter Marino
5. Design Apothecary blog
6. Designboom
7. Flavorwire
8. Mirage Bookmark
9-10. Khaleejesque blog
11. Condé Nast Traveler, photography by Alex Fradkin
12. Architecture Project blog

Author: 

Wendy Jacob

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