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Bleecker Street Getting Maison Martin Margiela's Diffusion Boutique MM➅

There aren't too many spaces left on Bleecker Street for new entrants these days, but the departure of the long running gallery, A Clean Well Lighted Place, makes room for Maison Martin Margiela to move in with a boutique devoted to the brand's MM➅ collection. Fashion journalist Jim Shi's TwitPic above has (along with anyone walking down Bleecker Street) tipped off the magical interwebs that the store will be opening "soon", with an official date sure to follow. With the main Margiela boutique not far away on Greenwich Street it makes sense that the brand would choose Bleecker as it is shifting from a designer enclave into a street for various diffusion and contemporary brands like Ralph Lauren's Rugby and RRL labels, Burberry Brit and, of course, Marc by Marc Jacobs. It also signals an effort from the characteristically cryptic house of Margiela that plans may be underfoot for a more aggressive rollout of stores devoted to the brand's less expensive divisions, but a look at the company website will remind anyone that things at Margiela are never as simple as they might seem.

@jimshi809 (Twitter)
Maison Martin Margiela's MM6 Line Is Coming to Bleecker Street


Alice+Olivia, Furla, SeaVees, Ben Minkoff/Rebecca Minkoff, Steven Alan, Bally, ETRO, Loro Piana, Gucci, Church's, Fendi, Bottega Veneta

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!

Tucker, Splendid, Be & D, Riller & Fount, Jewelry by Padma, Alice + Olivia, Furla, Factory by Erik Hart, ML Monique Lhuillier, Marco Bicego, Cynthia Steffe, Beirn, Jeffrey Campbell, Haute Hippie, Amrita Singh —join HERE
SPURR/Patrik Ervell, Cockpit, SeaVees, Luigi Bianchi Mantova, Ben Minkoff, Havaianas, Steven Alan, Italia Independent, Bally, ECOALF, Levi's Made & Crafted, John Varvatos USA, Antonio Maurizi, Converse —join HERE
iHome, Torre & Tagus, W Hotels Bed, Pickett's Press, Zojirushi, Safavieh, Phoenix and Nola, Eitech Construction Sets, Neto Furniture, NOM Maternity, Activa Watches, Hello Kitty —join HERE
ETRO Handbags, Loro Piana, Joseph Abboud, Juicy Couture, Kelsi Dagger, Nat Nast, Taryn Rose, Ted Baker, Stuart Weitzman, Honora, Hart Schaffner & Marx, Rochard Limoges, L'Erba Bedding —join HERE
Fendi, By Boe, Fluxus, Fresh, Ralph Lauren, Gucci, Rebecca Minkoff, Church's, JD Fisk, Bogosse, Fendi, Pour La Victoire, Bottega Veneta, Design History, Prada, Z Zegna, Dove's, Yves Saint Laurent, Jardin, Romeo & Juliet, Kinetix, Joseph Abboud —join HERE
Jules Reid, Kenneth Jay Lane, Madison Paige, Natori Swimwear, Philip Simon, Claudia Ciuti, Zigi —join HERE
Three Designing Women, John-Richard, Down Inc., McGuire, The Rug Bazaar, Evergreen, Colonial Mills, In Full Bloom, Agostino, Typography & Letterpress, Edie, Trend Lighting, Portero Luxury, William Stafford Photographs, Wisteria, Kid's Corner —join HERE
Twenty8Twelve, Betsey Johnson, Maui & Sons, Belargo, Jules & James, Calvin Klein, James Perse, Marika Activewear, Shay Todd Swimwear, Sheri Bodell & Iron, Stuhrling Watches, Gola, Donald J Pliner, Ellen Tracy, RVCA, SuperTrash, Lauren Merkin, Kinetic, Kenneth Jay Lane —join HERE
GANT, William Rast, THAKOON, Tod's, Missoni Sunglasses, Hermès Archive Scarves, Pour La Victoire, Workman Books, BonJour Cookware, Parke & Ronen, + Beryll Raw Sunglasses, Penny Stock, Keds, Yoana Baraschi, Kalorik, Ruthie Davis Men's, NUMBER:Lab, nOir Jewelry, Andrew Marc, Bodhi Handbags —join HERE
Bodum, Valentino, Cosabella, Tom Ford —join HERE
Boombotix, Safavieh, Lorena Barrezueta Table, By Boe, Canvas home, Nespresso, Karlsson Clocks, Tego Audio, Modernica Furniture, Gunnar Optiks, Gela Skins, Viaduct Accessories —join HERE


Nick Wooster's Latest Move: JCPenney?

WoosterJCPenneyHere's a bit of news that few might have predicted: Nick Wooster, the former Men's Fashion director for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman and busy consultant for Gilt Group, Project Trade Show and others has been named Men's Creative Director for JCPenney according to the New York Post. Wooster's deep professional experience in the men's luxury business as well as his distinctive personal style have made him into something of a menswear icon and street style blogger favorite over the past few years, but, so far, he hasn't stepped out of the rarefied high end of the industry. In fact, his most recent projects are a collaboration with Orlebar Brown for a collection of camouflage patterned men's swim trunks retail at $265 each, and an exclusive shoe and boot collaboration with English Shoemaker Alfred Sargent for West Village men's shoe shrine Leffot that will sell for $695 to $750.

Of course, new JCPenney CEO Ron Johnson has been making unorthodox moves lately in an effort to redefine the Plano, Texas based chain's mass market category. Coming from Apple's retail division, it's not actually that surprising that he would look to add someone renowned for his taste and style expertise to re-invigorate Penney's moribund men's offerings. Johnson has reportedly also lured Benjamin Fay, former senior director of retail real estate, design and development at Apple over to Penney's for an executive vice president position with similar responsibilities. While the jury is still out on how Johnson's makeover has succeeded, if Nick Wooster at the chain means there might be something like a Thom Browne for JCPenney collection on the way, then you can line up behind The Shophound to buy it.

Nickelson Wooster to become creative director for JCPenney's men's clothing business By James Covert (NYPost)
Apple exec leaves for JC Penney (AppleInsider)
Gilt Man Taps Nick Wooster As Fashion Adviser (6/23/2011)
Leffot + Nick Wooster Present Some Shoes To Save Up For (2/17/2012)


Apple Looking To Patent Its
Upper West Side Store Architecture

It looks like Apple is vigilantly protective of more than just its tech patents. AppleInsider reports that the huge computer firm is in the process of patenting the architectural elements that helped to create the glass front and soaring, arched ceiling of the Upper West Side Apple Store (pictured above and below), presumably to replicate it in other locations, or at least to keep it from being copied by another store. A filing with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office details the unique inventions that allow the glass sections of the structure to be supported by the other three walls of what was once a more traditionally designed Victoria's Secret boutique on the corner of Broadway and West 67th Street.

It won't be the first time that Apple has sought to protect elements of its store design from copying. Obviously, the glass cube of the Fifth Avenue flagship store is carefully protected, but the signature spiral staircases that appear in Apple stores are also a proprietary design. Reportedly, the company is also looking to patent the glass cylinder design of the entrance to its flagship in Shanghai, China.

Of Apple's New York City Stores, the Upper West Side branch is the only one which has a mostly original structure (above ground, anyway) Obviously, Fifth Avenue is mostly underground while the SoHo, meatpacking District and, most prominently, Grand Central Station locations are all retrofitted into pre-existing, sometimes historic buildings.

Apple wants to patent glass design of Upper West Side NYC store (AppleInsider)


John Bartlett's Spring Tiny Tim Collection Is Here
—Muscles Not Included

The Shophound just got an email from John Bartlett reminding us that his latest Tiny Tim collection for men and women has arrived and can be ordered on his website in plenty of time to get yourself in shape for Memorial Day Weekend. Bartlett fans will know that the Tiny Tim line is named in honor of the designer's late, beloved three legged dog and company mascot whose silhouette image is on found somewhere each piece, even as the pattern on the camo-print swimsuit pictured above (camouflage is sooo hot right now). 10% of each sale from the line goes directly to the Tiny Tim Rescue Fund, the designer's 501(c)3 animal rescue non-profit which helps to save rescue and shelter animals.

The Spring line also marks the reappearance of popular model Kerry Degman, seen above, a frequent fixture in Bartlett's runway shows who has been flying a bit under the radar lately.
Apparently, Kerry's been busy working out. A lot.
There's plenty more Kerry here, so click away to brighten up a Friday afternoon.

Tiny Tim Spring Collection at John Bartlett (Official Site)


Camper Hits Grand Central
For A Look At Fall

The Spanish shoe brand CAMPER calls its Fall 2012 "Traveling Winter" so it's only fitting that it would choose Grand Central Station to show the press its latest offerings. Actually, JFK Airport is a little out of the way, and Penn Station is a disgusting pit, but Grand Central has the elegant Campbell Apartment which is where The Shophound found ourself yesterday. It's probably fair to say that a lot of people still think of Camper as a source for winsome, round-toed shoe/sneaker hybrid footwear. There were certainly plenty of those signature styles to be seen, but if you haven't checked in on them in a while, you might be surprised at the current breadth of their line. Most exciting is a continuing series of designer collaborations called TO&ETHER including high-style mini-collections with Belgian designer Veronique Branquinho, Bernhard Willhelm and Mugler creative director, Romain Kremer. Also new was a special group of the brand's asymmetrical "Twins" shoes from the Berlin-based design duo known as C.NEEON, as well as a great group of shoes designed for city cyclists called "LINK" which included reflective patches and cleverly designed ankle straps to gather your trouser hem in so it doesn't get caught in the cogs. We took plenty of pictures, but Camper was kind enough to provide us with photos of the entire collection, so have a look at some of the most interesting pieces in the slideshow below (All product shots courtesy of Camper).

CAMPER (Official Site)

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H&M Throws A Bash For Fashion Star

What does the Shophound do when H&M invites us to a party celebrating a show we haven't really been watching? We go, because one ting we have learned is that H&M throws an exceptionally good store party. You might not recognize the atrium of the chain's Fifth Avenue flagship in the picture above as it was on Tuesday evening. It was transformed into festive, tropical wonderland where open bars naturally sprout on every floor, and the natives walk around with trays of treats. The party was in honor of NBC's "Fashion Star", the show where contestants create new capsule collections every week and then try to have H&M, Saks Fifth Avenue and Macy's compete to buy them. Sometimes they win big, and sometimes, nobody bids (insert wah-wah sound). From what we can tell, H&M serves as some designers' last hope, since what Saks and Macy's might not find interesting enough for their customers, H&M is happy to sell for $39.95 the day after the show airs. We can't tell if the show is big winner with NBC, but it looks like it was a hit for H&M, which was proudly displaying the items the chain had bought from contestants so far. The event was billed as an "exclusive shopping event" and the store staff was super-extra helpful and ready to hand everyone a mesh shopping tote. Most everyone seemed more interested in drinking, however, or trying to catch some face time with "Fashion Star" judges Nicole Ritchie and John Varvatos who hosted the event. The other name of interest who appeared was androgynous model of the moment, Andrej Pejic who was serving up a lady look for the evening (all pictured below). Pejic has no connection with the show that we know of, and was probably there for the free drinks like everyone else.

It was also a opportunity for H&M to get press folks into the store to see its new Conscious collection of eco-friendly fashion which was being showcased on the main floor amongst the temporary palm fronds. We went wandering around to explore the unlikely possibility that any of the chain's recent Marni collaboration was still hanging around, and upstairs in the men's department, not far from an antipasto bar, we found an abundance of both colors of the collection's hooded lightweight parka as well as the navy coat with knitted sleeves and a few random shirts and trousers. Unfortunately, they were all still at full price ($149 for the coats) but there were enough left to suggest that holding out for the inevitable markdown might be an advisable strategy.

H&M (Official Site)
Fashion Star (Official Site)

Nicole Richie & John VarvatosAndrej Pejic


Canadian Bargain Edition

26zCRITICAL-5-articleLarge"Cheap, cheap, cheap," is how this week's Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica describes the merchandise at the cheery, new Joe Fresh flagship in this week's Thursday Styles. Initially, it's meant to describe the actual price tags at the Canadian fast-fashion chain that is doing its damnedest to take New York by storm. Later on, however, it takes on more of a "you get what you pay for" connotation as our shopper centers his observations around the fate of a loose button on the shirt from his own wardrobe that he chose to wear on the day he visited the store. Faced with an embarrassing open shirt, he takes to the dressing room, but falls short of being impressed.

A contrast club collar shirt felt flimsy, and a salmon oxford felt slick. Colorwise, I preferred a navy military shirt ($24), though its collar crumpled as if made from Kleenex.

Not too promising, but an especially lint laden sweater added on top was the real dealbreaker for the look. We are reminded of the free-spending character played by Mimi Kennedy in Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris." Crass as she was, her mantra included words all serious shoppers should live by: "Cheap is cheap!"

Critical Shopper: Beaming Colors From Up North By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Joe Fresh 510 Fifth Avenue at 43rd Street, Midtown


Helmut Lang Launches A Second Collection Next Month

There's original cutting edge Helmut Lang, the current, contemporary department Helmut Lang version 2.0, and starting in May, there will be HELMUT by Helmut Lang (pictured above). That popular yet redundant labeling format can only mean one thing, and that is a new secondary collection from the Link Theory owned label. The Cut has a slideshow of some key pieces to be included in the label's inaugural collection, and it looks like the label's most popular items and signature looks will be repurposed as classic basics. That's not Helmut Lang classics so much as Michael and Nicole Colovos for Helmut Lang classics which means lots of lightweight, draped jersey with uneven hems rather than shocking pink laser cut latex sheaths. (Sorry, the name Helmut Lang still makes The Shophound think of all those razor sharp tailored suits, sleek camel coats and unexpected clashing materials from the late 1990s. Flowy draped jersey was not on the menu then.)

In fact, it turns out that Helmut Lang 2.0 seems to have been far more profitable than the original press darling, High Fashion version. When Link Theory relaunched the line without its namesake, it stayed fairly low-key until the brand was rebuilt as contemporary label, and then a few seasons ago, it re-joined the Fashion Week runway race. Now that a secondary collection is on the way, one wonders if the Colovoses (Colovi?) may push the main collection back up towards the pricier designer category. Time will tell. In the meantime, HELMUT will debut in the brand's own stores next month, and then, presumably, in department stores everywhere shortly afterward.

First Looks: Helmut Lang’s New Diffusion Line By Charlotte Cowles (NYMag)


UNIQLO Online Shopping
Expected To launch This Fall

The official word from Uniqlo's headquarters remains non-committal, but there is increasing evidence that the popular and growing Japanese mega-chain is looking to start selling its wares online later this year. Specifically, AdAge claims to have obtained a document detailing plans to have systems in place to start e-commerce in mid-October. This schedule would synchronize with the chain's newly announced San Francisco flagship store, and coincide with its first efforts to expand business in North America beyond Manhattan. Uniqlo currently offers online shopping in parts of Asia as well as through its U.K. website (pictured above).

According to AdAge, the document contains a timeline for launching online shopping as well as a goal of building the U.S. market to $10 billion by 2020 with 20% of that volume coming from web sales. That would mean a vastly increased rate of new store openings for the chain. Reportedly, the plan includes a search for outside partners to create and market Uniqlo's online store. The plan would also coincide with competitor H&M's announced plant to open e-commerce in the U.S. by mid-Fall. H&M, however has around 200 stores in the U.S. compared with the four that Uniqlo is expected to have by the end of the year.

Not surprisingly, Uniqlo's official, public stance is that online shopping is in the works, and a series of partner searches have been ongoing, but there is no official launch date. AdAge's documents along with the San Francisco store announcement suggest that the chain's cautious pace for expanding business in North America is about to speed up very soon which is good news for customers haven't been able to get to New York, but have been tantalized by increasing coverage of Uniqlo online and in the national press. Looks like they won't have to wait much longer.

Japanese Retailer Uniqlo Exploring Online Store for U.S. by Kunur Patel (AdAge Digital)
Uniqlo (Official Site)
Uniqlo Heads West To San Francisco