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A Word From The Owner:

DNA 2050 Responds

Recently we reported that NoHo boutique DNA 2050 had quietly exited the scene, and naturally assumed that it was a result of the general economic conditions that have closed so man shops in the past year or so.
In response we heard directly from the owner, Iraklis Karabassis of the Washington, DC based IK Retail Group who wished to clarify the reasons for the store's closure. IK runs a burgeoning mini-empire of shops and restaurants around the country including boutiques for Max Mara and Piazza Sempione as well as restaurants like Washington power lunch standby Café Milano. Mr. Karabassis wanted to make it clear that the DNA 2050 retail concept was in fact doing just fine, but that it had evolved into a higher priced format than the area around Broadway and 8th Street was able to support, which is, frankly, not difficult to believe at all. In fact, we suspected that the store might be too pricey for the neighborhood when it first opened. He assures us that the Chicago store is actually doing well and the one that closed was a temporary location. A new unit will be opening later this year at the Arches in Long Island that will reflect the new, revamped concept.
Our thanks to Mr. Karabassis for the clarifications. Excerpts from his communication can be found after the jump.
Departures: A Quiet Exit For DNA 2050
DNA2050 Gets Boutique-y in NoHo

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DNA 2050 Responds" »

Designer Expansion:

Burberry Heading West?

Get ready for trenchcoats and Nova checks to hit the West Side. Though unconfirmed by the brand, WWD says that Burberry is has taken 3,000 square feet at 160 Columbus Avenue between 67th and 68th Streets on the Upper West Side. While Columbus Avenue has started to attract more fashion boutiques recently, this would be the first international luxury brand to set up shop in this part of Manhattan since the heyday of Charivari in the 1980's (Do we count Hugo Boss at Columbus Circle? Maybe...). The paper cites strong business at the Time Warner Center please-don't-call-it-a-mall at Columbus Circle as well as favorable rents and demographics as an impetus for the new shop. Formerly a Rockport store, it will be in close proximity to UGG, Lululemon, Reiss London and recently opened Apple, Zara and Brooks Brothers units.
We can't imagine it wouldn't do well with a combination of local business, Lincoln Center bound tourists. ABC TV Studios and upscale gym rats at the Reebok Sports Club upstairs to draw business from.
Burberry Said Heading to Upper West Side (WWD)

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

Seems Like Old Times Edition

25critic-1-popup This week, Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson returns to the Thursday Styles having been bewitched by an early 1970s portrait of Miles Davis, and begins her column in a way that initially seems almost —dare we say it?— Kuczynski-esque!
Aw, good times.
Mr. Davis is onstage, wearing a lace-up suede Robin Hood shirt and enormous square Jackie O sunglasses. He is scowling, apparently taking a momentary break between lung blasts, and holding his trumpet straight up.
The overall effect is uncanny — the glasses, shirt and trumpet valves coalesce to the point that they literally appear to have grown out of him — like harmonious, delicate organic appendages of Miles Davis, that royal alien-insect-flower-sorcerer, who just happened to drop into a human existence while on his way to somewhere more important.
Despite her apparently hallucinogenic mood, it turns out that La Cintra is not actually plumbing the batshit crazy depths of a certain Critical Shopper of yore, but eventually manages to connect Davis's prescient individuality with designer Maria Cornejo's inventive clothing designs at her West Village boutique. In fact, she snaps right back to form when faced with a less than obliging salesperson,
I immediately excused her curtness because I detected that she was suffering from an advanced physical condition.
“You’re with child,” I observed.
She had no choice but to accept my diagnosis, the vast ball causing her to squirm uncomfortably in her chair.
Trifle with the Critical Shopper and risk being shamed for your peculiar state of fertility.
Critical Shopper | Zero + Maria Cornejo: Maria Cornejo Plays All the Angles by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Zero + Maria Cornejo 807 Greenwich Street at Jane Street, West Village

Today In Tie-Ins:

UNIQLO Meets Disney
For Tim Burton's New Alice


If you can't wait until next Friday to see Tim Burton's new 3-D take on Disney's Alice In Wonderland (and we're not sure we can), UNIQLO has joined forces with the studio to launch an exclusive UT printed T-shirt collection inspired by the new movie that will be launched this Monday, March 1st. The collection, ranging in price from $10.50 - $29.50, includes printed t-shirts, vests, leggings, tunics, a tote bag and a stole. The styles above go for $15.50 each featuring designs based on the film. At the very least, you can think of them as collectors' items for the Burton-obsessed, and they will only be available at UNIQLO stores.
UNIQLO Official Site

Breaking Safety Alert:

Smoke & Fire Empty Macy's

An electrical fire in a subbasement at Macy's Herald Square has forced the evacuation of the store, the world's largest, as they like to remind us, which is a lot of evacuation.
The fire never reached customer areas, although reports claim that the store's power was reportedly cut in order to facilitate investigation, and the situation was said to be under control by 1:15 PM.
Those old department store buildings are brimming with charm and heritage, but sometimes they are not in the best of condition behind the selling area walls.
Macy's Evacuated After Fire Breaks Out in Basement (NBC New York)

Giving Retailers A Bad Name:

State's Attorney General
Goes After More Than Counterfeiters
On Canal Street

And you thought it was just those shady stores selling fake designer handbags that the State Attorney General Andrew Cuomo was hammering.
David Cohen, owner of seven boutiques in lower Manhattan, was arrested yesterday and charged with 19 counts of “falsifying business records” in the first degree and 19 counts of “offering a false instrument for filing,” for allegedly failing to pay his employees proper legal wages, falsifying tax and business records and “trying to impede the attorney general’s investigation", WWD reports. Both charges are Class "E" felonies carrying prison terms of up to four years in prison for each count, (which would amount to about 76 years).
His stores include Mystique boutiques at 547 Broadway, 324 Fifth Avenue and 412 Broadway; Madness at 315 Canal Street; Exstaza, at 491 Broadway, and Amsterdam boutiques at 454 Broadway and 365-367 Canal Street. If you thought they looked sleazy to you when you walked by, then give yourself a gold star.
You were right!
According to the Attorney General's office, employees were not paid proper overtime wages and damages of $1.5 million will also be sought. By allegedly misrepresenting his correct payroll, he deprived the Unemployment Insurance Fund and increased the burden on other employers. Essentially, Cuomo appears to be throwing the book at this guy, partly, one might guess, to set an example and warning to other employers in New York who may not be as scrupulous in their business practices and tax reporting as they should be. Of course, that is not to say that Mr. Cohen may not deserve every alleged charge.
It's nice to know that Cuomo is protecting exploited store employees as well as multinational luxury brands, although if this keeps up it looks like Canal Street may wind up full of nothing but empty storefronts.
New York Boutique Owner Arrested (WWD)

Neighborhood Watch:

Can Opening Ceremony Tranform
Its Dreary Midtown Location?

Opening Ceremony converted the once seedy SoHo block where Crosby Street ends into a retail destination that now features a host of boutiques. Can they do the same thing to the dingy blocks between Greeley Square and the Flatiron Building? This little neighborhood on the edge of the Garment District has been home to cheap little shops and wholesalers, and not really anything much of note for decades, but that's all about to change now that chic New York's favorite store has opened its doors in its midst.
The new branch of the burgeoning chain with recent satellite locations in Los Angeles and Tokyo is by far its smallest at about one tenth the size of the original SoHo store. A full comparison would be unfair, but this Opening Ceremony is part clever microcosm of its downtown sibling and part hipster travel store featuring imported toothpastes and packaged snacks from many lands meant to make international travelers feel at home. While the store features a smattering of apparel including longtime OC favorite labels like Alexander Wang, N. Hoolywood and even a bit of Rodarte, there is also ample space given over to the retailer's growing roster of exclusive collaborations, currently including Timberland, Pendleton, Tumi and ice cream colored corduroys from Levi Strauss & Co. For forgetful packers, there are quality grooming supplies from Swissco and Vitry, as well as a Kiehl's display and an assortment of toiletries not so easily found at the corner drugstore. And just to be safe, there is prophylactic protection from Proper Attire and even a selection of upscale porn for those not too timid to march right up and proudly purchase a copy of BUTT magazine at the hotel store.
Hey, sometimes traveling can get lonely.
Of course, Opening Ceremony won't be singlehandedly responsible for the neighborhood's imminent metamorphosis. It is part of the newly opened Ace Hotel which also contains an even tinier uptown version of Project No. 8, the highly curated Lower East Side boutique, and next year, another similarly upscale hotel, the NoMad, is expected to be ready for guests. Is it hopeful thinking that a drab few blocks of midtown midtown south can be converted to a hipster haven with a few shops and a couple of hotels? Maybe, but it's happening, and a couple of storefronts between the two hotels have already been emptied and are awaiting new, presumably more fashionable tenants, and later this year, Eataly, the Italian artisanal food complex is expected to open just above 23rd Street featuring markets and six new restaurants with menus designed by Mario Batali.
This leaves us with the question of what exactly to call this little neighborhood? North Flatiron? How about NoFlati? Ideas anyone?
Opening Ceremony at Ace Hotel, 1190-1192 Broadway between 28th & 29th Streets

Collaboration Manqué:

Bloggers Overlook Sonia Rykiel's H&M Launch

RackedRykiel Call it poor timing on H&M's part, but most fashion bloggers were so preoccupied with Fashion Week, that they barely bothered to cover H&M's big Sonia Rykiel knitwear collaboration when it debuted on Saturday morning. Possibly they were unimpressed with the earlier lingerie component of the collaboration that came out a few months ago, or maybe releasing the merchandise on a Saturday was not a good idea, but the event was minimally covered online. WWD reports that there were lines outside most of the chain's stores worldwide for the launch, but there were few of the usual breathless reports from the Manhattan stores, and now bloggers are trying to catch up by reporting that  there's not much left at the handful of area locations that were graced with the collaboration. Some reports suggest that your best bet would be the main flagship at 51st Street and Fifth Avenue if you have been a slowpoke, but for the most part it appears that the Rykiel ship has mostly sailed.
Probably next time, the Swedish chain should avoid stacking these launches atop the Fall Collections if they want to guarantee the kind of blogger support around here that they can usually count on for these kinds of things.
Sonia Rykiel for H&M Line Draws Crowds (WWD)
The Weekend Leaves Little Left Of H&M's Sonia Rykiel Collab (Racked NY)
Sonia Rykiel Pour H&M (Madison Avenue Spy)

New York Fashion Week Day Infinity:

Wrapping It All Up

We know everyone is already thinking about London and Milan by now, but we wanted to mention a few shows we didn't get to note last week because, let's face it, we had important Olympics to watch!
We braved the slush and snow early on to get to BESPOKEN's charming menswear presentation in the westernmost part of West Chelsea which included the now obligatory short film. We always like it when models are just standing there waiting for us to shoot, and there were a few in this crew who weren't above a little bit of playful mugging, giving a humorous edge to the line of well-tailored, modernized classics.
GeorgemccrackenFW2010-2 Afterward, we trekked even further west to young designer GEORGE McCRACKEN's artsy presentation. We have noticed his meticulously constructed clothes in a few stores this past Fall, and we give him credit for attempting to find an interesting way to show his newest wares, but we will have to forgive him for a late-starting and excruciatingly slow format. It didn't help that it was dinnertime and some people might have barely eaten all day and possibly had to pee. On the plus side, the clothes looked beautiful and he served beer. Next season, keep it simple, please, George.
MccrackenFW2010-1 The next day, LODEN DAGER brought us to the Audi Forum on Park Avenue which, it turns out, is a pretty decent place for a small runway show, allowing for a nice sized bar and a rotating convertible automobile to examine while you are waiting for the show to start. This season Loden Dager moved further away from its earlier preppy incarnation to classics with a twist, literally, adding shawls wound around the models and trousers with wrapped waistbands. It was surprisingly directional, but not too much to alienate loyal friends and customers like actors Anthony Edwards and James LeGros who made low-key appearances.
While we missed some of their individual shows, the winners of the ECCO DOMANI FASHION FOUNDATION award were gathered for a group show in the big Tent. Group shows can be disjointed, especially when there are seven designers to cover, and to pull it all together, the producers hired an emcee, stylist and ambitious TV personality Robert Verdi who referred to himself in the third person and brought schtick. This was of questionable value, and since most of these designers had their own shows planned elsewhere on the schedule, we wonder if Ecco Domani might not have skipped the show and just given more money to the designers? White hot winners Joseph Altuzzara and Prabal Gurung have already emerged as standouts. Prova showed the pitfalls of showing jewelry in a runway show as it took a couple of looks for us to realize that it wasn't a label of crêpe de chine sack dresses. Salvor Projects, Siki Im and Organic by John Patrick all showed seven respectable, promising looks, but it was the flamboyant pair known as The Blonds who wowed the crowd with the showgirl outfits that have made them famous. Of course one model was out of her shoes before she was even halfway down the runway, and as always, we wondered if the pair would ever be able to (or interested in) adapting their glittery costumes into something that might actually be commercially viable. Our eyes kept drifting to the front row lineup (below) which featured an alluring lineup of Annalynne McCord, Kelly Rutherford, Molly Sims and Kate Walsh.
We were kind of surprised that PAMELLA ROLAND invited us back after we blasted her amateurish runway production last season, but nothing much has changed. Roland's considerable skills remain obscured by ill considered accessories and poor styling (really, side ponytails?). The lack of expertise was crystallized when the finale bride came to the end of the Salon tent's narrow, elevated runway with a long train that made it impossible for her to turn around with any amount of finesse. Though she gingerly redirected herself without major mishaps, it's too bad that showgoers will remember that moment instead of the series of red carpet stunners that immediately preceded her. Still, Roland can attract stars even in a dry season, including Mena Suvari, Shiri Appleby and the still gorgeous Brooke Shields. We wanted to hop over the runway and tell the elegant Alfre Woodard that we have been fans for decades, but then the show started.
Woodard reappeared later at DENNIS BASSO in the same outfit (a major fashion week gaffe) with her friends Pauletta (Mrs. Denzel) Washington and LaTanya (Mrs. Samuel L.) Jackson. Models Maggie Rizer and Carol Alt were also there swathed in mink by the designer along with the complete Vogue contingent including La Wintour and Andre Leon Talley in a giant mink coat. The real shocker, however, was that the show started with seats left empty in the front row! Despite this unheard of faux pas, Basso, with a bit of help from stylist Patti Wilson, outdid himself with lavishness, and a knockout finale gown that looked like satin, but revealed itself to be made of the lightest, supplest Russian broadtail.

This Week's Picks Online

It's a challenge to keep track of all the online flash sample sales, so we have introduced this handy dandy guide to what we think might be the most appealing sales this week. Please join and visit the sites (if you haven't already) to see their complete offerings. Most of them kick off sales at 11 AM except for the Gilt Groupe sites which begin at 12 noon on weekdays and Saturdays and 9 PM on Sunday evenings.
Happy clicking
Valentino Pret-a-Porter and Valentino Roma, Alessi, Tracy Reese, Cole Haan Shoes and Handbags, Tocca, Inhabit —join HERE
3.1 Phillip Lim, Adidas SLVR, Harrys of London, Orthodox, What Goes Around Comes Around, Puma Black Label—join HERE
Sperry Topsider, Plenty by Tracy Reese, Twinkle by Wenlan, Free People, Generra—join HERE
Kosta Boda, Orrefors, Giuseppe Zanotti Design, Calvin Klein Home, Miss Sixty—join HERE
BCBG Generation, Marc Bouwer Glamit!, Tommy Hilfiger—join HERE
Hillary Thomas , Bliss Studios, Stark Carpet, Ralph Lauren Furniture, & Textiles—join HERE