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Holiday Pop-Up Alert:

Under Armour Replaces eBay
At 3 West 57th

This Saturday, the spot next to Bergdorf's that was occupied by eBay with much fanfare last week will be ceded to sports performance apparel brand Under Armour for the rest of the Holiday Season where they will presumably have merchandise that you can actually buy and take home with you. At some point this space, which hasn't had a solid, ongoing tenant since it was a bank back in the '90s, will one day have a permanent occupant, but for now, it seems to be an ideal pop-up location for any number of companies and brands.
Under Armour will use the spot to showcase its complete line of activewear for adults and children including such items as Eco Waffle T’s, and Catalyst T’s made from recycled water bottles as well as to exclusively display uniforms for the USA Olympic Freestyle Ski and Bobsled Teams which the company sponsors. The store will remain open through mid-January giving everyone plenty of time to outfit themselves for their New Year's Resolutions.
Under Armour Pop-Up Store, opening December 5th thru mid-January 3 West 57th Street at 5th Avenue

Collaboration Alert:

It's Zac Posen For Target In 2010

ZacPosen1As collaboration fans breathlessly await the launch of Rodarte for Target's Go International program, the mass retailer has announced Zac Posen as the designer on deck for the nest installment.
Many might wonder if the popular, precocious Posen might already be too well established for the program meant for lesser known, up-and-coming designers. After all, he is already famous enough to have appeared as himself on TV shows like "Ugly Betty", and unlike, Thakoon and Proenza Schouler, for example, everybody pretty much knows how to pronounce his name by now. However, his young designer bona fides were enough for Target, so you can now mark your calendars for April 25th when his line will be released for a month or so of selling. So far, there's no other word on the collection or what sorts of things it will include, as Target is, characteristically, keeping a lid on things.
Posen has been paring down his own company's staff lately perhaps in preparation for a big Spring. Aside form the Target project, the designer will also be introducing a more casual, less expensive label called Z Spoke which will launch exclusively at Saks Fifth Avenue.
If all goes well, the two lines should cleverly promote each other at the same time.
Zac Posen to Design for Target (WWD)

Vendredi Noir

So it turns out that Black Friday is one of the few phrases that doesn't especially sound better in French.
It's not our favorite day.
We're basically ignoring it, despite a barrage of emails pushing Black Friday promotions from nearly every possible source, most of which we have never heard of, and, honestly, do not really care that much about.
You know we love a good sale, but after a bumper crop of special events and sample sales this fall, the thought of more voracious crowds is not especially appealing. From a retailing point of view, we have never been fans of pinning all your hopes for the season on one arbitrary day. It's the kind of thing that can easily suck all the pleasure our of shopping, and often does.
So we're taking a four day weekend —a vacationette, so to speak.
If you are feeling particularly masochistic, know that pretty much every big-box chain store will be offering specials. Saks is opening early. Macy's and Lord & Taylor are opening earlier. Malls will be uncomfortably crammed with people. The luxury stores like Bergdorf's and Barneys are much more low key, and should be on their first markdowns by now, as should be the Madison Avenue boutiques.
We will be having a nice rest so we can be back bright and fresh next week.
Should you be tempted, New York magazine has an extensive guide to specials around the city HERE.
Happy Shopping.
We'll be catching up on movies.
New York Magazine Black Friday Shopping Guide (The Cut)

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

Pricey Pre-Owned Edition

ArticleLargeThis week's Critical Shopper column pulls Cintra Wilson off the designer boutique circuit and sends her into the world of vintage, although, it must be said, she winds up in the world of SoHo vintage shops, which is not exactly a huge leap.
In fact, it is safe to say that Chelsea Girl and Laurel Canyon, the pair of stores graced with her visits, sell old clothes for many times their original purchase prices. "The most popular rack is a collection of never-before-worn, Diane Von Furstenberg deadstock from 1976: wraparound career dresses ($225) that look very right-this-second with their orange palm tree and New Wave Dalmatian prints," she writes, and yet, we are pretty sure that in 1976, a DVF wrap dress retailed for around $100 at the most.
Of course, this is vintage as collectible, which is nothing new to New York shoppers, and these stores are not to be compared with rummaging through Beacon's Closet.
La Cintra shines this week when she places the merchandise she encounters in in context, real or, better, imaginary:

Ms. Casas had me try on a “stunning crochet vest with Victorian silhouette, $275.” It was a Korean-made, acrylic macramé cardigan from the early ’70s that looked like something Better Homes and Gardens would feature as an autumn sofa decoration. On the body, however, it was slim, fitted and had a remarkably shaped bustle, a design diamond plucked from the detritus of the past.

A glamtastic black wool Givenchy dress had strips of white rhinestones outlining diamond-shape cutouts at the bust and rib cage, and must have been worn by Nancy Sinatra around the baccarat table ($750).

Of course, you might not want to think too hard about where those clothes came from. That early Calvin Klein coat priced at $950 seems like a good deal for a Calvin coat that might go for a couple of thousand today, even if it only originally cost maybe $300.
Critical Shopper: The Reunion Tour, for Clothes Only By Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Laurel Canyon 63 Thompson Street at Broome Street
Chelsea Girl 186 Spring Street at Thompson Street, SoHo

The Window Watcher:

Bergdorf Goodman Remains
The Window Champ

It's sort of like watching Roger Federer win Wimbeldon again. It's not necessarily a given, but it's never a surprise to see Bergdorf Goodman roll out the most accomplished Holiday windows. Titled "A Compendium of Curiosities", they are once again, dazzling and sumptuous, inspired this year by Lewis Carroll and including some not especially literal adaptations of scenes from the "Alice In Wonderland" books.
As usual, the windows bear extended viewing, and while children will stand in crowds to gaze at the storybook windows at Saks (which we haven't seen yet) it's not unusual to see clumps of grown adults standing thunderstruck in front of these displays, drinking in the incredibly detailed dioramas before them. Of particular interest were the figures of varying sizes all dressed in miniaturized Alexander McQueen outfits, for example. We must say that this makes it extremely hard to photograph these windows (it took two trips!), and while you may have seen some pictures already, we made sure our shots were as free and clear of reflection as possible.
Though the windows are gorgeous, Bergdorf's is not above falling back on some of its favorite tricks like the "view from above" used in the card game scene. The glittering mirrored corner window, "Reflected Reveries and Meticulous Metronomes", which has proved to be a particular favorite for the picture taking public, reminds us that every year, there is always one window, a grand finale of sorts, all in white or silver or some combination of the two. Let's just call it "working their signature looks". Nobody's complaining when everything is this beautifully executed.

Continue reading "The Window Watcher:

Bergdorf Goodman Remains
The Window Champ
" »

The Window Watcher:

Barneys Returns To Holiday Humor

After last few years' well-meaning but ultimately not particularly festive "Green" and "Hippie" themes, Barneys has thankfully rediscovered the funny for its Holiday windows this year —and it's about time!
The 35th anniversary of "Saturday Night Live" has given the store more than enough material for four big windows, and we can't help but celebrate anyone who would highlight The Coneheads, Father Guido Sarducci, King Tut and our all-time favorite, Roseanne Roseannadanna. Yeah we're old school when it comes to SNL, but there are plenty of familiar characters plucked from throughout the years including Will Ferrell's Janet Reno, Wayne & Garth, Mango, Mary Catherine Gallagher and the maddeningly non-gender specific "Pat", all rendered in the store's signature papier-mâché.

Madison Avenue Additions:

Burberry Launches
A Midtown Double Header

Today at 9 AM Burberry will double its retail presence in New York with not one but two shiny new stores on the ground floor of its newly christened American headquarters on Madison Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets.
You would think that two well placed boutiques in Manhattan would be enough for an international luxury brand like Burberry, but a pair of 1,500 square foot shops open and available in the building that houses its home base (coupled, no doubt, with favorably slumping retail rents in the neighborhood) proved too appealing of an opportunity to pass up. While neither shop is a flagship, each one will showcase a facet of the brand. One is devoted solely to the most popular and commercial Burberry London label, but it's the other that may attract more interest. It will feature Burberry Brit, a younger sportier label (once known in Europe as "Thomas Burberry") that has been mostly unavailable at retail in the U.S. until now, and possibly serve as a beachhead for a more expansive rollout of the collection.
We haven't been inside yet, but for the first few days, we are counting on there being lots of anxious Burberry executives on hand —mainly because their offices are right upstairs. At the very least, everyone should be on their best behavior.
Burberry Brit & Burberry London 444 Madison Avenue between 49th and 50th Streets, Midtown

Today In Switcheroos:

SoHo Finally Gets A GAP

It seems hard to believe that with all of its chain stores over the years, SoHo has gone without its own GAP store despite having multiple American Apparels, Club Monacos and G-Stars. With all the attention we paid to the smothering service at the newly consolidated Banana Republic flagship, it might have been easy to miss that the abandoned Banana men's store had been swiftly converted to a Gap 1969 jeans concept location.
This particular branch is based on a pop-up store that was opened in August in Los Angeles to promote the chain's newly refreshed 1969 denim collections, and jeans are the focal point of the store, featuring every possible permutation of the chain's core product. Though there is stiff competition from UNIQLO up the street, we are impressed with Gap's new denim program, especially considering that the "premium" collection tops out at about $88 for selvedge styles and stands up well to much more expensive designer brands. To keep the emphasis on jeans, the rest of the offerings have been pared back with an emphasis on basics and a few choice specialty items like a leather zip hoodie at nearly $400. As easy as it is to complain about the proliferation of chain stores in Manhattan, we'll continue to praise Patrick Robinson credit for restyling the Gap back to life.
Considering that the next closest location was a long hike away up on Astor Place, it was a no-brainer to turn the space left behind by its sibling on Spring Street into a Gap. After Banana's furnishings had been cleared, Gap's store designers cleverly whitewashed the existing space, added new light wood shelves and installed a dramatic glass wall at the back of the store that serves as a window to a vast denim stockroom. Voilà! It's a Gap. While we think speed was the main priority here, we have to give the massive chain credit for "recycling" the store rather than gutting it and unnecessarily installing a new interior.
And by the way, unlike its sibling up the street, the Gap's service is appropriately friendly but not overwhelming, so feel free to walk in without being greeted to excess.
Gap 1969 552 Broadway at Spring Street, SoHo
Renovations Unveiled: Banana Republic Will Welcome You To Death

Weekend Events:

Fashion For Action Goes Public
& The Pop-Up Flea Returns

It was nice to see a cluster of mannequins once again in the old home of Barneys Womens' Store on 17th Street. The Rubin Museum of Art (which, by the way is worth a visit anytime for its beautiful Himalayan collection) became a rollicking cocktail lounge last night for the benefit preview of Housing Works' Fashion for Action benefit which, aside from lots of cocktails and food, included silent auctions from the likes of Ralph Lauren, Donna Karan, Gucci, Chado-Ralph Rucci and many others. Thanks to Gilt Groupe for including The Shophound as their VIP guest for the event.
Eventually, revelers drifted across the street to the Housing Works Chelsea Thrift Shop for a preview of the sample sale which kicks into high gear today as it opens to the public. through Sunday. For those of you who find thrift shopping a little bit musty (and we know you are out there) rest assured that Fashion For Action offers almost entirely new unworn goods donated by nearly every designer and retailer you can think of with with many items in full size ranges and everything priced at around wholesale levels or below. There were abundant racks from Diane von Furstenberg, John Varvatos, Michael Kors, Gilt and many more. We saw a shelves full of Oliver Peoples sunglasses and Constança Basto heels, and if you have enough clothes, there was an entire section of fragrances including some newly launched scents. As always, proceeds benefit Housing Works which brings community-based HIV/AIDS treatment and prevention programs to neighborhoods throughout the city including housing and other vital services.
If that sounds like too much commotion for you, The Pop-Up Flea is returning to NoLita starting today at 3 PM. The weekend-long shop brings together an assortment of goods specially curated by Randy Goldberg and Michael Williams of the website A Continuous Lean. It's not a sale, but more like one-stop shopping for guys with very specific tastes that might include labels like Billykirk, Rogues Gallery and Burkman Bros. to name a few. You don't have to wear your Red Wing boots, but it couldn't hurt. Rumor has it that drinking will be involved. You need more encouragement?
Housing Works Fashion For Action Public Sample Sale through Sunday at the Chelsea Thrift Shop 143 West 17th Street
The Pop-Up Flea through Sunday at 201 Mulberry Street, NolitaPOPUPFLIER1

Holiday Window Watcher:

Bergdorf Men's Gets
Fantastically Foxy

The Shophound has barely begun our holiday window surveys this year, but we have found an early favorite in Bergdorf Goodman's Men's store which has filled its windows with the figures from the current animated film adaptation of Roald Dahl's "Fantastic Mr. Fox".
Sure, it's a corporately sponsored display designed to promote a feature film, but it's done with charm and taste. How are we to resist this beguiling vulpine family and their friends? What can we say? We have a weakness for Roald Dahl's children's books.
We haven't even seen the movie yet, but we are totally enchanted by the painstakingly created little figures that dot the men's store windows. The Big Windows at the Women's store across the street are still under wraps, and we expect them to be as lavish as always, but for a lighter touch, the little brother across the street gets a special prize from us.FMFBergdorfMens1