If there’s one thing you should know about Paloma Wool, Barcelona’s Instagram-famous fashion label and art collective, it’s that it doesn’t have brick-and-mortar stores. Starting in 2014, the brand quickly cultivated an online following for its linen frocks and artist-inspired wool sweaters that were captured by professional photographers. So when its founder Paloma Lann, announced Paloma Wool’s inaugural pop-up shop and world tour, her 282,000 followers (me included) couldn’t contain our excitement. In July, the brand brought its elegantly curated newsfeed to life in New York with a pop-up that was more art installation, less clothing store. Displayed on the floor like a romantic picnic set, white linen blankets were topped with periwinkle bathing suits, peep-toe sandals, photography books, and woven baskets. Brightly-colored handbags dangled from the ceiling like fresh fruit and racks of silky pastel garments hung at the periphery of the store, leaving room for customers to congregate, and Instagram, in the middle. —Claire Butwinick, assistant editor
The Seattle Art Museum’s big push for its Victorian Radicals show (reviewed last month by GRAY’s senior editor, Rachel Gallaher) may be well-intentioned, but it overshadowed another exhibition taking place concurrently within its walls. In it, 47-year-old South African LGBTQ+ activist Zanele Muholi presents her ongoing self-portrait series, Somnyama Ngonyama, a Zulu phrase that translates to “Hail the Dark Lioness.” The photographs, taken in various countries between 2014 and 2017, each present a different female archetype and explore themes of race and representation through a fusion of classical portraiture, fashion photography, and motifs seen in ethnographic imagery. Look closely and you’ll notice the costume of each persona is formed by found materials that double as culturally-loaded symbols (scouring pads nod to domestic servitude, electrical cords suggest social brutality). It’s easy to stand in front of a single portrait and lose track of time taking in its details and deep colors. More than anything, I was struck by the Muholi’s defiant gaze, which practically dares you to look away. —Tiffany Jow, editorial director
Two of my favorite things in the world are running and ice cream (funny how they tend to balance each other out), so when I saw the recent release of the Melts Collection from Brooks Running, I was obsessed. I run at least twice a week, so it’s important for me to have a comfortable shoe, but of course I also want something that’s stylish! The limited-edition Melts Collection is comprised of shoes (the Ghost 12 and Ricochet LE) inspired by various flavors of ice cream (vanilla and rainbow sherbert for women, cookies-and-cream and popsicles for men). My flavor of choice? The rose gold Ricochet 12 with rainbow sprinkle soles… make it two scoops. —Rachel Gallaher, senior editor
I have a bit of a chair obsession, thanks in part to my former editor, and brilliant writer and friend Rob Brinkley, who has been known to harbor so many sculptural seats within his apartment that visitors have complained there was nowhere to actually sit. Thus far, my own chair collection (far inferior to Mr. Brinkley’s assemblage of Le Corbusiers and Mackintoshes), includes a hulking Kite chair by Karim Rashid, two 1930s-era, low-slung gentleman’s chairs, several Tolix Marais A Chairs by Xavier Pauchard, a quirky teak hand-shaped seat (a replica of Mexican artist Pedro Friedeberg’s stunner), and, in the near future (fingers crossed), a Wassily chair by Marcel Breuer. While I was researching Boston-based designer Amanda Pratt’s newest venture, a seaside concept home opening soon in Prouts Neck, Maine, called Salon at the Beach, I happened upon this knotty blue number by designer Evan Fay of Detroit collaborative design studio Aratani Fay. (The studio is one of the many designers showcased at Pratt’s showroom and gallery, Salon.) I was instantly smitten. Perhaps I’ve got a spot somewhere for it? —Lauren Mang, digital editor/special publications
I discovered Fringe the way I tend to discover most things nowadays: via Instagram’s Explore page. Social media-savvy people know this as a unique curation of posts from various accounts based on a user’s engagement, and that being said, Fringe is essentially my mood board. The space, in the heart of Seattle’s Pioneer Square neighborhood, features stark white walls and concrete floors, which serve as the perfect stage for the bevy of greenery and wares it hosts. From handmade jewelry to house plants to ceramics, the shop is a perfect place to grab a gift (you will walk out with at least one cute little plant for yourself). Fringe treated July as its soft opening, but plans to hit the ground running come in August. Stop by on Saturdays and Sundays between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m., but in the meantime, check out the shop’s Instagram feed! —Abby Beach, junior art director
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 July.