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Weekend Spree

Apple closed its 24-hour Fifth Avenue store yesterday evening and this morning for a mysterious commercial shoot, confirming that there are a host of updated products on the way soon. Oh just show us the new iPhone already! (AppleInsider)
Robert Lee Morris is collaborating with the Olsen Twins, who will eventually convince you to take them seriously through sheer perseverance. (WWD)
• Makeup designers will design flip flops for charity next month at Saks. (Fashionista)
• MUJI attracts swarms of customers in the afternoon (RACKED)
• Has Sex in the City encouraged women to dress inappropriately at work? (Wall Street Journal)
• Oh, and speaking of that movie, is it not the most cross-promoted film ever? (The Cut)
• NoHo's historic district has been expanded. (Villager)
• Sophia Kokosalaki is launching a collection of Black denim at insanely high prices. Recession? What recession? (Fashion Week Daily)

UNIQLO Designer Redux:
Alexander Wang &
Loden Dager Debut

Those Japanese retail chains are keeping us busy this morning.
After we absorbed our daily fill of MUJI, we hightailed it down to UNIQLO to catch the unveiling of the latest Designers Invitation Project collections from young American designers, Alexander Wang and Loden Dager. Lodendager There was a modest but enthusiastic line ouside, but hooray for private press previews which allowed us to shop in peace with juice and breakfast hors d'ouevres and the opportunity to meet one of Loden Dager's designers, the charming Paul Marlow, he of the dramatic moustache. Mr. Marlow told us that the Loden Dager team met the UNIQLO folks though Alice Roi, one of last year's participants. He seemed very happy with the way their capsule line turned out, which included slightly shrunken cotton jackets with matching slim trousers or shorts. Madras shirts and thermal polo shirts all had sleek details that distinguished them from more standard UNIQLO fare.Uniqlolodendager As in the past, these clothes are cut on the small and slender side, so while those shorts were a welcome alternative to baggy cargoes, they are very slim, and the great casual jacket is not for the bulky of shoulder.
We heard that Alexander Wang had been there earlier, but, hey, we can only make it to one store at a time! His architectural crepe dresses looked easy to wear, and women were scooping up armloads to take to the dressing rooms. Luckily, it looked like there would still be plenty left after the preview for the general public, though Wang's cult following should make fast work of the available stock over the weekend. Don't dawdle, though if they are out of your size, you can console yourself with the abundance of regular UNIQLO  merchandise on sale all over the store.
Alexander Wang and Loden Dager for UNIQLO 546 Broadway, SoHo
Let The Preview Hype Begin: UNIQLO's Wang and Loden Dager Photos Released

Big MUJI Is Here


The first phase of MUJI's American retail strategy is now complete as the Japanese retailer's flagship store finally opens today at noon. Here's what we learned at this morning's Press Preview:

  • The store is much bigger and more dramatic that its debut SoHo unit on Broadway. It appears to have a similar mix of products as the downtown store, but lots more of them.
  • There's still hardly any furniture. Boo hoo for us, but the MoMA store still seems to have that department covered until even more MUJI arrives on these shores.
  • The store looks terrific in Renzo Piano's New York Times Building which perfectly reflects MUJI's utilitarian, minimalist aesthetic. The possible drawback? The jury is still out on how effective the location will be on West 40th Street near Port Authority Bus Terminal. It's being called MUJI Times Square, although, thankfully, it's just a few steps away from the tourist mayhem that is Times Square today. It's really more like MUJI Garment District, and we wonder if it is a strong enough destination to draw its target customers into a neighborhood they otherwise would never venture towards.

Lucky for us, the big new store is convenient to The Shophound's Hell's Kitchen headqarters.Mujihousewares While it seems like the store has basically the same merchandise as SoHo, a closer look shows ever so many more product variations, meaning that there are about twice as many of those irresistible polypropylene  organizational boxes and drawers we like to imagine will transform our office into a sleek model of Japanese efficiency. There are more binders and writing insruments and more durable recycled paper everything. Every category is expanded so there's more MUJI to love for everyone who loves it. Will its unadorned, logo-free, un-souvenir-like items mean anything to the tourists? Lets hope so for their sake, although we don't relish the store being packed with slow walking, slack-jawed wanderers from far away.
For your edification, here's the contents of the Press gift bag:

  1. Small hanging drying rack with clips
  2. Chronotebook (available free to first 500 store visitors)
  3. Miniature washing board (we're not exactly sure what to do with this, but it's Muji, so it's cute.)
  4. Clear plastic Ballpoint pen

MUJI Times Square, 620 Eighth Avenue at 40th Street opens at 12 PM today

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:
It Could Have All Been So Different

29critic03_650Poor Catherine Malandrino.
She came so close to a nice, happy review from Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson in today's Thursday Styles. Now she will be known, at least for the next week, as the store with the idiotic salesperson.

I was not in love with the sales assistant, a young woman whose talents ranged from invisibility to impatience. I asked about a certain white double-breasted jacket.
“That’s a Catherine Malandrino piece,” she snapped.
I almost said, “No, absolutely not: it’s a Catherine Malandrino piece,” but bit my lip and concentrated on shoes, which were stuck into bookshelves with an array of goopy ’70s blown glassware.

She sure sounds helpful. Imagine finding a Catherine Malandrino piece in the Catherine Malandrino store. Then there's this,

In my dressing room I heard a conversation the sales assistant was having with a Frenchwoman and her tween daughter.
“Could this dress be ready in four days?” the mother asked. “She needs to wear it in Brazil next week.”
“I don’t know,” the assistant whined with a finality that quashed all hope that she might find out.

The not easily pleased Wilson liked the clothes and was amused enough by the store to toss off a few of her signature fanciful descriptions, but then it was all ruined by one stupid salesgirl. So close, Catherine. So Close.
Critical Shopper: Catherine Malandrino - Does the Global Village Come in Petite? by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Catherine Malandrino 652 Hudson Street at 13th Street, West Village

Sample Sale Report:
Atrium Empties Its Warehouse At Samples For (eco)mpassion

The thought of demim specialist Atrium emptying out their warehouse was too much to keep us away from Samples for (eco)mpassion this afternoon at the Great Jones Street storefront that Caravan briefly used for their downtown shop.
We are still not quite sure how this host of a revolving series of  sales is all that (eco)mpassionate. We are told that for every sales transaction, a tree is planted, offsetting the carbon footprint of operating the store. We're don't really know if that actually works, but it's a cute gimmick, and we're all for trees. They also sell Charity Water which raise money to provide clean drinking water in Africa, India, and South America.
As for the Atrium sale, It is a hit or miss mishmash, meaning that depending on your size and what's available, you could make out like a bandit or leave empty handed. Most things are marked down from 50 to 75% bearing the markdown tags they had when they hung in Atrium's stores. Labels were plucked from Atrium's roster of contemporary brands. Don't expect a bonanza of marked down jeans. Denim, unfortunately, is represented only by a spotty selection of men's and women's jeans that, while fairly well organized by size, weren't quite the latest looks we were hoping to see, reminding us of the subtle shifts that take place in the jeans market over a few seasons. It's definitely worth at least a quick visit if you are in NoHo and in the open-minded mood necessary for successful sale shopping.
Atrium Warehouse Sale at Samples for (eco)mpassion through June 8th  2 Great Jones Street between Broadway & Lafayette Street, NoHo

Hermès Picks Madison Avenue
For Its First Men's Store

Hermesnecktie_2 Hermès has announced that they will be opening their first store for men this fall right across the street from their Madison Avenue flagship on the corner of 62nd Street. The 6,000 square foot store will include an entire floor devoted custom and and made-to-measure services. According to DNR, 45% of Hermès' business comes form men's merchandise (the vast majority of which we are betting comes from neckties). The last time we checked, that spot was occupied by Luca Luca, but we will have to check again to see what is being displaced to make room for the luxury giant.
Hermes to Open Men’s Store (DNR)

Arbiters Of Style:
FIT Focuses On Fashion Authorities

Arbiter1While the Costume Institute is reveling in Superhero fantasy uptown at the Met, The Museum at FIT has taken a more down to Earth approach with Arbiters of Style: Women at the Forefront of Fashion, the exhibition it opened last week. Rather than spotlighting a particular designer or stylistic theme, the show pulls together items from FIT's extensive collection that came from women who influenced the course of fashion not only as designers, but also as editors, photographers, retail executives and even prominent muses.
It makes for a slightly less cohesive presentation, but in its favor, it may remind the public of s few prominent women from the past who would qualify today as what we call 'style icons'.
Is Gwen Stefani today's Irene Castle or Isabel Eberstadt? Will costume curators someday be looking at Tinsley Mortimer or Rachel Zoe as arbiters of taste? Only time will tell. It's hard to compare eras when the way fashion is now presented to the public has changed so much, but the show is an interesting reminder that the style images we consume ever more voraciously usually pass through several filters before they hit the street. It will tide us over nicely until the Fall when FIT unveils its Goth extravaganza.
Arbiters of Style: Women at the Forefront of Fashion, through November 8th at The Museum at FIT, Seventh Avenue at 27th Street, Chelsea

About Marc Jacobs' Big White Face

Yes, as you may have noticed, Marc Jacobs has festooned his Bleecker Street men's and women's 'Marc' stores with blown up images from the upcoming issue of Interview magazine that features himself on the cover.Mjbigwhiteface Naturally, this has led to countless column inches discussing the various merits of the designer's posing in Andy Warhol's wig and the audacity of putting giant pictures of himself in his store windows. Then, of course, they go on to the various twists and turns of his personal life, the coverage of which has become a nasty little cottage industry.
By now we should all have become accustomed to the fact that Jacobs has transformed his public image from that of a shy nerd to a flamboyant, tattooed party-boy. While he has flirted with overexposure (in every sense of the word) in the past couple of years, we can't really blame him for his new window displays, mainly because the images by Mikael Jansson are so oddly striking in a weird, creepy sort of way.Interviewcovershirt We initially thought the cover shot was a drawing. The display, however, is a lot of big, white face, and may scare small children, so drive those strollers along Bleecker with caution for the next month or so.
While we have not yet been able to get ahold of the new magazine (it should hit newsstands any day now) much of the photo shoot as well as the interview can be found online at Interview's website. We are happy to report that Jacobs appears mostly clothed from what we can tell, but sometimes in women's clothes. It's all androgynous and strange, but also arresting. For those who have followed the story, this issue of Interview marks the first issue fully helmed by the new creative team of Glenn O'Brien and Fabien Baron. We may have to get a subscription again.
To commemorate his coverboy status, Jacobs is offering a $29 t-shirt featuring the magazine's cover as well as a matching canvas tote both of whose proceeds will go to the Andy Warhol Museum in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.