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Barneys Warehouse Sale Adds Two Days

Call it a Hurricane dividend if you want. Because they had to shut down over the weekend like everyone else due to Hurricane/Tropical Storm/General Wreaker of Havoc Irene, Barneys has seen fit to extend the Warehouse Sale for two extra days until Wednesday, September 7th.

Hey, we said it was too short, didn't we? We'll be checking back soon for a mid-sale report to see if extra discounts have been activated, so stay tuned.

Barneys Warehouse Sale Extended (Racked)


There Is A Line Outside Ladurée On Madison Avenue Right Now
Why We Didn't Get
Any Macarons Today

We have already said many times that macarons are the new cupcakes, and if that's so, then Ladurée, the French Fabricant de Douceurs, would apparently be the new Magnolia Bakery. With its opening delayed by one day due to that hurricane, it appears that there were plenty of New Yorkers who were more than ready to invest time in being the first ones to shell out for $3 macarons. What more can we say? Obviously, we didn't go in because at some point, likely in the near future, we know that there will no longer be a line, and we will be able to waltz in for a decadent treat without so much tedious waiting (also our newish Yuketen bluchers were giving The Shophound vicious blisters, but that is really beside the point). Also, the macarons a few blocks up the street at La Maison du Chocolate are so very delicious that we can't imagine how Laurée could be all that much better. To put it simply, like cupcakes, there are so many tasty macarons around in Manhattan these days that there is no reason to wait outside on the sidewalk in a line to buy them.

Now, if they were giving them away for free...

Ladurée 864 Madison Avenue Between 70th & 71st Streets, Upper East Side


UNIQLO Sets October Opening Dates

As usual, UNIQLO news comes at us in a big info-dump. Opening dates have been announced for the chains twin flagships. The immense Fifth Avenue store will open its doors on Friday October 14th, and the slightly less immense 34th Street store will bow a week later in the 21st. That gives the chain a good six weeks or so to ramp up excitement for the two stores. 

The company also released renderings of the Fifth Avenue store which, like the SoHo location, has been designed by architectural firm Wonderwall. Expect an abundance of LED screens, custom mannequins, a three story escalator and a special shop for the final season of +J which will bow in SoHo in just over a week on September 7th (and hopefully whatever Undercover comes up in their collaboration with the chain for future seasons).

Let the official countdown begin.

Uniqlo to Open Two Largest Stores (WWD)


UNIQLO Finds An East Side Spot

Upper East Siders must be miffed that their covetable zip codes haven't been graced with UNIQLO pop-up stores when the West Side got two of them, but before a raging East Side-West Side feud breaks out, the Japanese chain has found a space on Third Avenue for another temporary store. The Post reports that a 2,000 square foot store at 1142 Third Ave. between 66th and 67th Streets has been leased to Uniqlo for six months. That's a little bit longer time frame than the three pop-ups currently operating in Manhattan (the third is in the Flatiron District) mainly to promote the two immense flagship stores opening this Fall. Might Uniqlo be looking to test out a smaller format for a permanent location?

It's worth noting that most of the chain's stores in Asia are much smaller units comparable to a typical Gap or American Apparel location in size. A year or so before the global flagship we know SoHo store opened, Uniqlo launched its first U.S. stores with a pair of smaller branches that opened in New Jersey malls. They didn't immediately catch fire with suburban shoppers unfamiliar with the brand. When Uniqlo realized that the large flagships promoted the brand far more effectively outside of Asia, the smaller branches were swiftly closed and the expansion strategy was changed. Now that the brand awareness has been raised, is the chain revisiting the kind of smaller stores that it will require to fully reach its international goals? We may find out more clues when the East Side store opens. if it has a broader assortment that the current pop-ups' heavily edited selection of down jackets, jeans, tees and flannel shirts, then we may be looking at the next phase of Uniqlo's international rollout.

Of course, this is just speculation, and the super-cautious chain might just be testing out the neighborhood for another big store —so stay tuned so we can all keep speculating.

Polo a player on E. 59th second item (NYPost)


John Bartlett Departs

Don't let us mislead you. John Bartlett the designer is still very much among us, but he has closed the West Village boutique that bears his name.

The Shophound wasn't aware that Bartlett has thrown in the retail towel earlier this month until yesterday when we took a leisurely wander through the Village to discover the windows of his boutique covered over not to protect it from hurricane winds, but in butcher's paper indicating that the store had been shuttered permanently. On the door, there was a letter from the designer explaining that while he will continue selling through his website and designing the John Bartlett/Consensus and John Bartlett/Statements collections for The Bon-Ton Stores Inc., he has decided to devote more of his time to animal protection and advocacy causes, particularly the Tiny Tim Rescue Fund.

Bartlett has been increasing his involvement with animal causes steadily over the years, frequently using his store to host weekend adoption events with the North Shore Animal League. Though he showed (and wore) leather pants at his Fall 2010 show, by the time the collection hit his store, he had sworn off all animal products and announced that he would not stage another runway show until he could produce a fully vegan line that met his exacting standards. Bartlett created the Tiny Tim Rescue Fund in honor and memory of his own three legged adopted dog who became well known to customers as a part of the designer's logo as well as a frequent resident of the store. The fund supports rescue groups that pull animals from high-risk/high-kill shelters and provide medical care and fostering in order to find permanent homes for them. The fund receives sponsorship from Bon-Ton as well as 10% of all profits from merchandise sold on the John Bartlett website.

As for us, we'll miss John Bartlett's store. The designer has been a great friend to The Shophound since we walked into the store shortly after it opened to find him manning the register himself, as he often did on weekends. To his great credit, he has always followed his instincts in a way that makes his work uncommonly personal as well as commercially appealing, and we fully expect to keep hearing plenty from him in the future even without a store.

John Bartlett (Official Site)
John Bartlett/Consensus and John Bartlett/Statements available at The Bon-Ton Stores Inc.

After the jump, Bartlett's store closing letter in its entirety

Continue reading "CLOSING NOTICES:

John Bartlett Departs" »


Bottega Veneta, J.Mendel, ACNE, Mayle, Narciso Rodriguez, Gant by Michael Bastian, Rick Owens, Woolrich, Diesel Black Gold, Calvin Klein

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Happy clicking!

J.Mendel, ACNE Jeans & Accessories, Cara Couture, Mayle, Narciso Rodriguez, Pringle of Scotland, Free People, Sleek & Chic, Pink Tartan, Splendid, Goldhawk, Imitation —join HERE
Ben Sherman, Martin Greenfield, Park & Ronen, Canterbury of New Zealand, Fred Perry by Raf Simons, B.Scott, John Varvatos ★ USA Footwear, NSF, Gant by Michael Bastian/Gant Rugger, Mimobot, Belvest, Rick Owens/DRKSHDW, Buckler, Woolrich, Hyden Yoo —join HERE
Anichini, Blu Dot, Bahari Teak & Porcelain, Safavieh, Zojirushi, Jaipur Rugs, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, BergHOFF, Mich Aram Bar, Dransfield & Bedding, Magenta Tabletop, Cenedese Murano Glass, Gloster, Feizy Rugs, Pedoodles Shoes, Schoenhut, Thomas & Friends, Baby Aspen, Elegant Baby, So La Vita Jumpers for Girls, Whistle & Wink Bedding for Baby & Child, BASQ Skin Care for Expecting New Moms, Ses Petites Mains: Beautiful Girls' Apparel, Zoocchini Hooded Towels —join HERE
Lucky Brand, Aquatalia, Tweezerman, DKNY, La Fiorentina, Columbia Sportswear, French Sole, Bottega Veneta, Karen Zambos, Birkenstock, Vince, Herve Chapelier, Arche, Pilla Eyewear, Court of Versailles —join HERE
Spanx, NAOT, Clutch Cashmere, Etienne Aigner, Steve Madden, Theory, Lucas, Invicta, Simone Perele, Henry Ferrera, Heartloom —join HERE
Zambiati Linens, Hartmann, Peacock Alley, Simon & Schuster, Gingko Furniture, Stark Rugs, Sofia Cashmere, Lacefield Designs, Clayton Oxford Furniture, Zodax, Casa Bugatti —join HERE
Diesel Black Gold, Steve Madden, Donald J Pliner, Cuisinart, Buffalo Outerwear, Sorrelli, Vince, DecadesTwo.1, Jessica Simpson, Calvin Klein Collection, French Connection, Trafalgar, Kenneth Cole, Adrienne Vittadini, Danielle Stevens, Sensa —join HERE


Less Is Less
At The Barneys Warehouse Sale

Fall shopping can't really start until one final event from the previous season happens, The Barneys Warehouse Sale. It started yesterday, which is a little odd because if this had been any other year in the recent past, it would have started a week ago. As we mentioned earlier this Summer, the folks at Barneys have seen fit to trim one of its most popular events by a week. At the time, we were wondering how the sale would clear out so much merchandise in far less time, and now we know the answer. There isn't as much stuff to sell anymore, and we don't think that there will be too many more of these events.

First the good news, The men's and women's merchandise have migrated back to their respective natural habitats. All women's items are back on the main floor and men's is all in the basement where we spent most of our time. Returning to the original layout allowed us to note just how little merchandise was out on the first day. Where in the past there had been cramped shelves upon shelves, there are now wide open spaces. From what we can gather, there is about 30% to 40% less merchandise in most categories downstairs than seasoned Warehouse Sale shoppers have come to expect. To make matters worse, what hung from the packed sportshirt racks looked awfully familiar, and while they did contain some Spring 2011 goods, they were also padded with items clearly from earlier seasons. For example, we found several Rugger and Gant by Michael Bastian shirts, but all of them were from last Fall or before —as clearly marked by the telltale labels which Gant changes every season. In the past, Barneys has often boosted its Warehouse Sale inventory with off-price goods from some of its regular vendors and a few comparable ones as well. This made the sale a big profit center for the company as it often attracted customers who may never have bothered to shop in Barneys' full priced stores, but were hungry for bargains. There was little sign of such merchandise this season, unless it was left over from a previous sale. Some sections, like men's shoes, offered particularly pitiful selections, and there was a general sense of spareness on the entire floor. Are there good things to be had at the sale? Sure, there's always something for the patient, sharp-eyed shopper, but the finds are fewer and farther between.

We breezed through the far more frenzied women's floor to check out the small Chelsea Passage section, and while it was too hectic to discern a difference in merchandise levels up there, the rear wall which in the past had been covered with women's shoe shelves was completely bare. Obviously there was less to present in that department as well.

Last season there was speculation that Barneys' new management was looking to end the Warehouse Sale altogether. It doesn't seem to fit with the new, updated image they are working furiously to create. We figured that they would probably keep it going if it continued to make money, but seeing it shortened, with less merchandise to offer, we can only guess that this is the beginning of the sale's phase-out, so enjoy it while it lasts. It doesn't seem long for the city.

The Barneys Warehouse Sale runs through Monday, September 5th at 255 West 17th Street between Seventh & Eighth Avenues
Warehouse Report: This Season's Barneys Warehouse Sale To Be A Week Shorter (7.28.2011)
The Reasons Why The Barneys Warehouse Sale May End ...And Why It Might Not (3.15.2011)


Who's Going To Buy A Vertu Phone On Madison Avenue?

We are asking this question for real.
Who buys Vertu phones?

The luxury division of Nokia seemed like a good idea when the luxury mobile phone brand was launched several years ago. Of course, at that time, even busy executives still made do with a Motorola RAZR and maybe a Palm Pilot. The idea that someone who would settle for nothing less than an Hermès handbag should have an equally precious cell phone made perfect sense and looked like a great business opportunity —at the time.

Vertu phones appear to retail from $7,800 to $16,000, and so it makes sense that the brand is planning to open its stand-alone boutique on a stretch of madison Avenue that is saturated with jewelers and luxury watchmakers. The devices are lovingly and meticulously made with stainless steel, titanium and other and other high-tech materials including costly sapphire crystal screens. What's sort of surprising, is that the brand seems content to represent itself with a basic cell-phone image blown up in the window. We don't doubt that there is a customer for a luxury mobile device, but in a moment when even the most luddite-minded among us are anticipating the newest iPhone, who uses a regular cell-phone anymore? Considering the rapid cycle of technological advancement when it comes to mobile communications, even the wealthy and extravagant among us seem unwilling to invest in anything more than a top-of-the-line iPhone that they fully expect to replace in a couple of years at the most. For example, highly touted designer mobile devices from the likes of Prada and Giorgio Armani failed here when no U.S. carrier cared to support them. Vertu devices, are sold unlocked, but at those prices, who would care about a two year contract discount?

Out of five models featured on the Vertu website, only one appears to have a Blackberry-like configuration that would facilitate texting and email (The Constellation Quest, $8,400), But while it seems like most of New York seems dependent on touch screen, app-filled iPhones and Android devices, even this bauble looks hopelessly outdated.

And yet, Vertu is set to open at 703 Madison Avenue this Fall, so there must be something about the brand that we don't know. Could somebody explain?


Gant Rugger's Second Store
Grows Up In NoLIta

This month, Gant Rugger opened its second New York store on Spring Street in NoLIta, although in a certain way, it feels like its first. Sure, there has been a store on Bleecker Street for over a year now, in addition to the Gant flagship on Fifth Avenue that showcases all of the brand's labels. The Bleecker store, like many on that street, is so tiny, however, that even three customers make the boothlike space seem uncomfortably crowded. Now that there is room to breathe on Prince Street, you can actually see what the store has to offer. In addition to the ever-growing Rugger line, the new spot has the third installment of the hyper-popular Gant by Michael Bastian collection —the designer's only offering at all this season— as well as the preppiest-of-the-preppy Yale Co-op collection. There is the same quirky vintage style interior without the need to push through other customers or even sales staff (who in fairness can't help being in the way on Bleecker Street simply by showing up for work).

If a more accessible store in a suitably hip neighborhood isn't enough to entice you down to NoLIta, the fine folks at Gant just sent us their latest video (see below) which should convince you to at least pick up a plaid flannel or oxford button down shirt for fall.

Gant Rugger 25 Prince Street Between Mott & Elizabeth Streets, NoLIta

Lots Of Bleecker News: Freeman's Sporting Club & Gant Rugger Arrive Coach Sheds Plywood & More (4.30.2010)


Couch Potato Edition

25CRITIC2-articleLarge This week marks the return of the Critical Shopper column to the Thursday Styles section of the New York Times after what seems like an endless Summer vacation. We can't really say that it's a very auspicious return since this week's shopper, Alexandra Jacobs, doesn't actually visit a physical store, but instead clicks her way through Net-a-Porter, the pioneering online women's designer retailer. So, she worked from her couch. Hey, The Shophound has done that more times than we would care to admit (We may even be doing it right now).

We learn a few things about Ms. Jacobs along the way. Apparently, she didn't make it to the designer floor at Saks until the relatively ripe age of fifteen, is old enough to remember the Gimbel's on Lexington Avenue that closed in the mid-1980s, and used to boost mascara from another long departed chain, Woolworth's.

More to the point. however, from among Net-a-Porter's lavish designer designer offerings she chooses a pair of J Brand Ali high-rise flared cords for $225 in much the same way an aspirational customer would venture into Bergdorf's or Barneys for.... a mascara, for example. The website's efficient interface and speedy shipping all garner praise, and the Net-a-Porter experience seems to be beyond reproach except for one crucial aspect on which it can't possibly compete,

But what of the personalized service of the department store (diminished in recent years — but still)? While Net-a-Porter’s fashion advisers, whom I strongly suspect to be heartless computer algorithms, refused to tell me when a coveted cardigan was going to hit its sister discount site, the Outnet, they not only suggested three alternatives but also helpfully reserved them in my “shopping bag.”

So maybe the lack of personal service is not such a detraction after all?

Critical Shopper: Net-a-Porter’s Fashion at the Click of a Mouse By Alexandra Jacobs (NYTimes)
Net-a-Porter (Official Site)