Lost amid yesterday's news of Men's Vogue's dramatic downsizing was the fact that Condé Nast's Fashion Week extravaganza Fashion Rocks is going "on hiatus" for 2009.
Shocking? Not really.
The Shophound knows that the supplement and it's flashy variety show were quite the profit center they may have appeared to be. Basically they never made a dime when all was said and done. The profits generated from the annual supplement to every Condé Nast title were sunk into the glitzy TV Special, so the magazines themselves saw little benefit from all their efforts selling ads. Ultimately it was the pet project of one certain executives and not always seen by the various individual titles' publishers as such a great thing.
Will it return in 2010? That depends on the economy and how well the magazines perform, but we're betting that it will never reappear unless it can be expected to turn a real profit, or unless Condé Nast decides to start publishing a Rolling Stone type music magazine.
Condé Nast Cans ‘Fashion Rocks’ (The Cut)
Lost amid yesterday's news of Men's Vogue's dramatic downsizing was the fact that Condé Nast's Fashion Week extravaganza Fashion Rocks is going "on hiatus" for 2009.
These are grim days for retailers who are looking at the upcoming Holiday season with the lowest of expectations, so it's encouraging to see a Major Store who understands the need for excitement to keep customers interested. With that in mind, Saks Fifth Avenue threw an exclusive cocktail bash last night to celebrate a newly expanded Escada boutique on the second floor. Someone has some faith in the future, because Saks has set aside a sizable chunk of prime real estate to display the German luxury label's offerings. Once snickered at as "Garanimals for rich grown ups", Escada has come a long way from its glitzy '80s heyday, and the line has taken on a younger and much more sophisticated image in recent years thanks to creative director Damiano Biella who was last night's guest of honor.
Saks used miles of muslin pipe and drape to create a sprawling tented lounge on the selling floor that was presided over by none other than celebrated nightlife diva Amy Sacco and DJ Donna D'Cruz who won our hearts by simply sporting headphones paved in glittery crystals. Cleared of merchandise, the second floor at Saks makes a pretty good nightclub. This was already well above par for your average department store launch party, but the centerpiece of the evening was a mini-concert by Duffy, whose monster hit, "Mercy" must be seared into everyone's brain by now. Having appeared on "Saturday Night Live" a couple of weeks ago, Duffy is quite a bit more accomplished and famous than we would expect from anyone performing at such an event, which made it all the more exciting. Apparently the pixieish Welsh singer has had a happy relationship with Escada since she started performing (which she admitted on stage was only about a year ago). We did the rounds of the party and dutifully photographed the models showing off the latest in Escada after which we planted ourselves in front of the stage to get a good view and waited for the coconut shrimp trays to come around. At about 9:30, Duffy casually took the stage with a stripped down combo to perform a selection from her album, Rockferry. Often compared to Amy Winehouse, Duffy has the invaluable added ability to show up relatively sober and perform her songs in their entirety, with full enunciation and coherence. She's even cuter in person than on TV and we got to be thisclose as she performed her updated version of classic, British blue-eyed soul like a pint-sized Dusty Springfield for the new century. You would have to have been made of stone not to be charmed by her, and we were already fans, so we were in hogs' heaven for about 25 minutes. Sadly, photos were strictly forbidden during the performance, and our proximity to burly security guards precluded even a subtle attempt at pirating a picture.
If there was any expense pared away, it might have been the gift bags, which consisted of a Duffy CD and and a discount card for $100 off an Escada purchase over $500 through the weekend.Of course we already had the CD, but it's nice to have an official hard copy instead of the version that magically made its way to our hard drive from the vast and mysterious interwebs.
So thanks to Saks for one of the better launch parties we have experienced and the chance to see a rising star up close, which more than made up for the lack of swag.
After the jump, more pictures.
Today's Critical Shopper column in the Thursday Styles demonstrates what happens when the shopper, in this case, Mike Albo, has little or no affinity with the shopped. Today Mike arrives at Tod's, the luxury leather goods boutique on Madison Avenue, and the only way he can really connect with the label is through his dreams of its fur and cashmere swathed celebrity spokesmodel, Gwyneth Paltrow.
We don't blame him. For a vaguely boho-ish downtowner, the rich, but fairly middle-of-the-road brand could only have so much appeal, especially when its signature item, the pebble-soled driving moccasin, is ill-suited for city use. Normally, this would be the point where the original Critical Shopper, Alex Kuczynski would veer off on a hopelessly irrelevant tangent about a childhood visit to an abattoir, or an imaginary flying cousin she once had, but, truly, we can't expect that sort of brain flatulence from everyone.
We know we're over Tod's, not that we would refuse if someone gave us something from there, but there are so many other extravagances that are higher on The Shophound's list. After all, those famous Gommino shoes would be destroyed after we walked around the city in them for a couple of weeks.They are soft, supple, expensive and, as driving shoes, actually made for that particular purpose, or padding around more forgiving suburban settings.
So Mike, we don't blame you for a lack of interest in the subject at hand. We only suggest that next time you are assigned a less than scintillating subject, find out what Alex was on, and drop a few before you visit the store. A little psychedelia could go a long way.
Critical Shopper: Luxury Italian Leather Goods at Tod’s by Mike Albo (NYTimes)
Tod's 650 Madison Avenue at 60th Street, Midtown
Men's Vogue, the high profile brand extension magazine has been euthanized by Condé Nast in a round of cost-cutting that is expected to touch all publications in the publisher's stable.
The Cut had speculated earlier today that "Mogue" was vulnerable, and DNR has just announced that the book's closure is official. Men's Vogue will remain as a bi-annual supplement to Mother Ship Vogue, although we aren't sure if this means it will appear on newsstands separately twice a year like its French counterpart, Vogue Hommes, or simply be polybagged with the February and August issues and sent to subscribers.
This is the second of Anna Wintour's Vogue brand extensions to be canceled, as Vogue Living was suspended earlier this year. All that is left of La Wintour's efforts to expand the brand in a similar manner to Vogue Italia, for example, is Teen Vogue, which still stands amid the disappearances of counterparts like CosmoGirl and Elle Girl.
This development will likely add fuel to the rumors that Wintour's days as Editor-In-Chief at Vogue are numbered, although we maintain that if she goes anywhere (and that's a big "if") she will be kicked upstairs to an Alexander Liberman-type "Editorial Director" position rather than simply be unceremoniously cut loose like her predecessors were.
Developed as a men's magazine for older, more sophisticated readers, it would seem that Men's Vogue was probably doomed from the start given this target readership. After all, no matter how aggressively masculine it attempted to appear (with lots of rugged gear and features on hunting and fishing that were definitely NOT GAY), we think that the fact that it was called Men's VOGUE was an insurmountable obstacle for American men. It was presumed that the magazine would draw major advertising from luxury watch and automakers among others, which it did... at first, but like most magazines, it has seen ad pages slip this year even as it increased it's publication frequency. Since its sibling publication GQ was successfully redesigned and repositioned away from this very particular, mature audience, creating a new magazine to serve it hardly seemed to make sense. Men's Vogue's buzz-free appearance was seen as an example of Anna Wintour's clout and influence, especially since still developing publications like Cargo and Vitals were "coincidentally" closed just before it made its début.
It turns out that Men's Vogue was slick, polished and dull as dishwater. It must say something that a magazine junkie like The Shophound routinely got increasingly cheaper subscription offers in the mail on a monthly basis, and couldn't be bothered to actually respond, even when it looked like they were almost ready to pay us to receive the magazine.
So we'd give you a kiss goodbye, Mogue, but we wouldn't want to upset your fragile sense of masculinity. We'd say we'll miss you, but we haven't been paying any attention to you for a while, so we'll just say rest in peace, and give our best to Cargo and Vitals.
Men’s Vogue Shutters as Stand-Alone Title; Will Become Semi-Annual Supplement to Vogue(DNR)
Will ‘Mogue’ Cut Back to Two Issues Per Year? Or Fold Altogether? (The Cut)
Your guess is as good as ours as to why contemporary boutique Miguelina has suddenly shuttered its Bleecker Street boutique. Our friends at RACKED tell us that the store will be relocating East to Cooper Square in a few weeks, but we have to wonder if the East Village is really more conducive to business than the small but apparently quite lucrative Bleecker Street corridor?
Our other question is, Who bought out their lease? The store only opened a scant year and a half ago, so it's unlikely that they were facing a rent hike. Were they anticipating a downturn in business that would have made the current rent unmanageable, or did some other store with deeper pockets come along and make them an offer for the corner store that they couldn't refuse?
We have nothing against Cooper Square, but we are sure the rent will be lower, but Miguelina will be losing the high profile and prestige that comes along with Bleecker.
In addition, à propos of nothing, someone, (apparently not the folks at Miguelina) placed a mysterious and vulgar note directed at the actress and comedienne Amy Sedaris in the window of the vacated store.
What this note means for Sedaris (whom we adore), we have no idea, but it just adds to the strange mystery of the whole story.
Relocations: Miguelina Moves, Sedaris Enemy Takes Advantage of Empty Windows (RACKED)
Previously, Miguelina's Bleecker Bow
We only venture into Pearl River Mart every so often, but we are on a home improvement kick, and it can be a very good source for cheap tchotchkes and other useful things. ever since the Asian import emporium moved a few block uptown from Canal Street a few years ago, they have offered a somewhat sanitized version of the Chinatown shopping experience, and while some complain that it's not as much of a bargain as it used to be, it makes up for it in convenience.
Whilst perusing the lamps and folding screens, we saw a sign directing us to the new home department upstairs. We have always seen the entire store as a home department, but we figured a new section was worth a look. So we looked for the stairs... and looked ...and looked, and after about 10 minutes of searching around the perimeter of the store for some upstairs passageway, we discovered the elevator, stealthily tucked away under the mezzanine café. No wonder things were quiet upstairs.
The thing about Pearl River is that you can walk out with goods that reflect a lovely Asian simplicity, or you can haul away a load of Chinese restaurant kitsch. It's all about where your eye leads you, and upstairs is a mix of both elements with simple, elegant ceramics aside glitzy figurines.
Here is where you will find a larger selection of furniture (some of it much less of a Chinatown bargain) and various and sundry other bits of Chinoiserie. We fell in love with a woven bamboo room divider that instead of folding like the traditional screen, undulates like a Frank Gehry wall. Is it too dramatic for The Shophound headquarters? Maybe, but it looks a lot better that the messy shelves it would be hiding.
Pearl River Mart 477 Broadway between Grand & Broom Streets, SoHo
Time to pull out those Christy Turlington mannequins.
The Costume Institute at The Metropolitan Museum of Art has taken a crowd-pleasing turn in its choice of subjects lately (Superheroes anyone?), and next year's centerpiece promises to follow that pattern. Instead of focusing on clothes, next year's summer exhibition will be a tribute to those who show them off, the Models.
Some may forget that well before the Supermodel Era of the '80s and '90s there were still a few models at any given moment who transcended their medium and became celebrities in their own right like Twiggy, Veruschka (pictured right), Cheryl Tiegs and Iman.
"The Model as Muse: Embodying Fashion," will run from May 6th through October 9th and will feature 70 looks as well as an abundance of photography and probably more video than any exhibit at the Met has ever used (If they leave out George Michael's video for Freedom '90, they lose all credibility).
Harold Koda, curator in charge of The Costume Institute tells WWD, "In every period, high fashion is presented and made desirable by a handful of models who capture in their beauty the ideals of the day. ...There are certain images in every era which tend to fix an aesthetic ideal in the popular imagination. In its own time, it has the possibility of motivating a trend, but after that, it becomes our idea of that period, like Dovima and the elephant, or the famous [Richard] Avedon photograph of Suzy Parker in Chanel."
Turlington was such an iconic presence during her heyday (which seems to have no end) that the Costume Institute exclusively commissioned a set of the aforementioned mannequins based on her face. Expect to see those featured prominently in the show.
Marc Jacobs will be underwriting the show and will be the honorary chair for the Gala on May 4th along with Anna Wintour and Vogue, Justin Timberlake, and that ultimate model muse, Kate Moss. It practically goes without saying that this party will be a Supermodel extravaganza the likes of which nobody has seen since the mid '90s.
Where do we sign up?
The Costume Institute Looks at the Model as Muse (WWD)
And as an extra bonus:
That George Michael video featuring Linda, Cindy, Christy, Naomi at the peak of their fame courtesy of the newly launched MTV Music website
Oh, and here's "Too Funky" with Nadja and Tyra in a Thierry Mugler runway show featuring at least two outfits from the recent "Superheroes" exhibit.
Sometimes The Shophound gets so focused on new stores and openings, that we neglect our old favorites, who still remain pretty remarkable. New York has more than its share of unique emporiums, and high on the list is ABC Carpet & Home.
We hadn't stepped into ABC for a little while before yesterday, but we are suddenly in the market for a new rug. Though we only perused a few floors, we spent at least an hour on what was barely a cursory survey of our favorite sections. There is a lot there to see, even for a big New York flagship.
In many areas, the main floor in particular, ABC seems pieced together from a series of carefully chosen leased and licensed departments. Because of this, there is a regularly shifting lineup of vendors as new shops come in and underperforming sections are eliminated. The main floor continues to be a prime destination for gift shopping with a range of merchandise running from jewelry to books to tabletop items to paisley jacquard shawls and other Asian imports. Shopping the floor, we even spotted actress Keri Russell, with whom we are now officially obsessed after having seen "Waitress" about four times last month on cable. We can report that she looks just as pretty in jeans as she does in a Nina Ricci ballgown at the Oscars. And that's extremely pretty.
One of the things that lured us in was a new boutique for designer Gary Graham. ABC sells very little apparel, but Graham's inventively designed sportswear meshes perfectly with the sophisticated vintage/modern/embellished aesthetic in effect on the main floor. While Graham's line isn't cheap, it doesn't quite hit the stratospheric price levels of, Rick Owens, for example, to whom he can be favorable compared.
Even ABC's Holiday shop bears few traces of the typical green, red and gold, and the center of the floor was given over to a display of Native American or possibly Central American ethic costumes.
Now that it's going to be there longer than planned, the folks at Topshop have reclad the plywood covering their upcoming SoHo flagship. Kate Moss has been given a rest in favor of a collection of images chosen to remind us that the British retailer offers much more than the supermodel's exclusive line.
Now the only question seems to be, "Will they be able to open by March?"
• For those of you getting ready for a big Halloween Weekend, MAC Cosmetics has an exceptional guide for elaborate makeup. (MAC via Chic Report)
• A visit to Williamsburg's latest vintage store: Franny and Rooey. (RACKED)
• While they have only been marginally successful in patrolling their site for designer fakes, eBay has vowed to protect elephants and other endangered species by banning ivory from its site by January 1st. (Stylelist)
• Nice Collective puts their spin on the classic army boot making a fast comeback this season. (Cool Hunting)
• New sneaker label to learn: Feiyue (pronounced FAY-wee), the Sino-French manufacturer of functional athletic footwear coming to Odin, and shortly thereafter, everywhere else. (Material Interest)
• Tom Ford continues to bewilder us with his offerings. The latest: hairy Chewbacca foot après ski boots in a variety of furs from $4,470 to $9,240. (Luxist)
• French designers were reportedly nonplussed, (and even kind of pleased) by having their shows crashed by Sascha Baron Cohen's character Bruno for a new movie. (The Cut)
• The Sigerson Morrison team gets randomly questioned. (The Fashion Informer)
• For guys who are hopelessly insecure about their masculinity, Gear Head shampoo comes in a bottle that vaguely resembles Liquid Plumr. (Uncrate)
• Customers are salivating in anticipation of immense Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) sales this year. (Heard On The Runway)
• This Holiday season, all 3.1 Phillip Lim customers will walk away with an exclusive tote bag to keep and re-use. (Style File)