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International Playground's Orchard Street Pop-Up

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If a pop-up shop has a Santa in NASA gear hanging in the window, you should probably check it out. That's what we learned last night when we wandered into International Playground's flash store at 186 Orchard Street, where Astronaut Santa actually turns out to be merely one awesome design element of a really promising boutique.

International Playground is a group that represents designers at trade shows. They contracted Nathan Thomas, winner of Top Design's second season, to lend some holiday spirit to the big, raw space at the corner of Orchard and Stanton. In addition to Santa, he dreamed up a menorah composed of hot-pink hat-shop dummies, each with a candle sticking out of its skull. There's also a ramp of pink and silver mini-trees that contains shelves for shoes and jewelry, and of course a big Christmas tree crowned with a blue tinsel Star of David as the shop's centerpiece.

And the clothes! International Playground's roster includes Brooklynites, Scandinavians, and Brooklynites who were born in Scandinavia, which means everything is very sexy and gritty and well-designed. They carry a small selection of Surface to Air's peep-toe four-buckle boots for $400—that news alone should probably help you picture the overall aesthetic. We were charmed by the blue faux bois tops and subtly glittery black-and-gold skirts, but the absolute stand-out pieces are the cage corsets and dress, designed by an architect friend of the Playground's under the name Chromat. If you're looking for a way to channel French Vogue's 2010 calendar at holiday parties without suffering either nipple frostbite or an arrest for indecent exposure, then you should snap one up as a layering piece at $150 to $190 ($390 for the dress, which is custom-made and fembot-vampy.)

The shop also carries Claw Money's sunglasses, lovely black-and-clear glass jewelry, and a smattering of other accessories. (Those Surface to Air clompers are the only shoes.) It will remain open through December 22nd, with a very special formal holiday benefit party on Saturday, December 19th. All proceeds from that go to AIDS meals-on-wheels charity God's Love We Deliver, so do stop by—RSVP is
· International Playground [Official Site]
· Surface to Air Buckle Sandal [La Garconne]
· 2010 Vogue Paris Calendar Is Out, All Flashing Lights and Trio of Top Models [Fashionologie]

Surface To Air

27 Mercer Street, New York, NY 10013 212-256-0340 Visit Website

186 Orchard St, New York, NY