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Fancypants Feet Edition

27zCRITICAL3-popupFirst of all, we have to give Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica some credit for even getting into the new Christian Louboutin men's boutique, which he reviewed in this week's Thursday Styles. It isn't the kind of store that The Shophound would blithely ignore, but we have tried on at least three occasions to visit only to find it closed in the middle of the day for some sort of special construction reasons. It has been annoying to say the least, so kudos to Caramanica for finding it open.

It might not really matter to most of us when the store is open anyway, because, as our shopper describes, the prices of Louboutin's shoes are "shocking". Several years ago, the designer was known as a refined, inventive alternative to stiletto king Manolo Blahnik, but then his platforms met a platoon of Hollywood starlets and stylists who found the next status symbol in his signature red soles and an aesthetic of "more is more" evolved. You might not think that his "everything but the kitchen sink" philosophy would have translated to men's shoes, but in the age of Kanye and Pharrell, high profile male style setters have discovered the pleasures of selective flamboyance, and as our shopper describes his visit,

...the store was never not full, with a mix of would-be hip-hop moguls, frequenters of Pacha, even a woman in respectable olive green No. 6 clogs. Many just stared, and more than you’d think tried things on, given that the prices go past the shocking and right to the insane. A guy with a snakeskin-motif bandanna draped out of his back pocket tried on patent leather slip-ons under the guidance of a woman in a distressed rocker T-shirt that screamed stylist’s assistant: in a room of extremes, they appeared perfectly at home.

So maybe the store doesn't really need to be open regular hours. Maybe it's really like a hot nightclub where the doors magically open when an Escalade pulls up to the curb or a New York Times reporter comes calling. Whatever. It sounds like our shopper is there more as a tourist than a serious customer. Maybe he needed his cooler friend to help get him through the door. One day, maybe, the novelty will wear off, and the store will be open when we are in the neighborhood so we can see finally this place for ourself.

Critical Shopper: Spikes or Soles, It’s a Man’s World By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Christian Louboutin Men's Store 808 Washington Street between Gansevoort & Horatio Streets, Meatpacking District


GAP x GQ's Best New Menswear Designer Capsule Collections Hit Stores Today

GQxGAPJust a little reminder that today is the day that six different capsule collections from GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America become available. That's a lot of high/low merch to take in one dose, but it looks like a pretty impressive selection of goods for a style-minded guy on a budget to choose from. The lines from Mark McNairy, Todd Snyder, Ian Velardi, Ovadia & Sons, BLK DNM and Saturday's NYC (all pictured at left) are only available at select Gap locations for a limited time. We are not sure exactly which locations are carrying the collections (though the Fifth Avenue flagship is a pretty safe bet), but everything will be available at GAP.com.

It's worth mentioning that most of these designers run small, independent operations and only produce their much more expensive main collections in limited amounts for very exclusive distribution, so this may be your only opportunity to get their stuff at all right now. The other thing we have to note is that instead of three or four, GQ chose no fewer than six new designers as their best of the year, which tells you that American men's fashion is experiencing a golden moment of sorts right now with a bumper crop of talented new designers. Take advantage at a price you can afford while supplies last.

The Complete GQ for Gap Best New Menswear Designers in America 2012 Collaboration is Here (GQ.com)
Gap x GQ (Shop at Gap.com)


West Broadway's D&G To Become Just Cavalli, Not A Dolce & Gabbana Boutique

DolceGabbanaSoHoWell, we guessed, but we guessed wrong.
The former D&G store in SoHo is not being converted into a full Dolce & Gabbana boutique as we had deduced, but will soon re-open as a Just Cavalli store. Some may remember a lavish store for Roberto Cavalli's diffusion line on Fifth Avenue a few years ago that closed when the designer's licensee, Ittierre, ran into financial trouble and soured their relationship. The former D&G space at 430-434 West Broadway has been leased by Cavalli's new licensee for the diffusion line, Staff U.S.A. Coincidentally, Ittierre was also the original D&G licensee when that shop opened, but no longer has any affiliation with either designer. There's no ETA for the Just Cavalli store, and a peek through the tiny cracks in the window coverings suggests that no construction or demolition has yet begun, so let's conservatively guess that this one might appear in the Spring.

As for the reported Dolce & Gabbana SoHo boutique, which is expected to be a departure from the brand's standard retail template, no specific location has been announced, so that one might not appear for a while.

Between the Bricks: Dick’s pulling out of B’way (NYPost Second Item via Racked)
Retail Roundabout: Dolce & Gabbana's 5th Avenue Flagship Set For November With A Unique SoHo Shop To Follow


Boots Trump Beauty As Dr. Martens Comes To Union Square

DrmartensVMVhypoallergenics868BwayThe 80s really are back, and they are coming to Union Square soon. Or is it the 90s again already? The decades are all starting to run together.
The boot brand of rebellious, punk-posing teenagers everywhere, Dr. Martens, will be adding a new, 2000 square foot store on Broadway just north of Union Square by Thanksgiving of this year, just in time for Black Friday shopping. Located just a stone's throw from denim specialists True Religion and G-Star, it will be perfectly situated for shoppers to complete their outfits. Additional space upstairs will be used a as showroom and New York headquarters for the brand which has used its recently opened SoHo boutique to spearhead a revival of the iconic brand. Dr. Martens will be replacing the VMV Hypoallergenics skin care store which suggests that shoppers in the area might favor their feet over their faces when it comes to spending. Either way, Union Square is developing a cluster of fashion stores of its own with a particularly grungy character.

Dr. Martens boots up B’way store (Crain's)


Emanuel Ungaro
Gets Another Chance Next Fall

Massimo-ferretti-fausto-puglisiWe almost titled this post "Emanuel Ungaro Lives Again!", but that would imply that the celebrated Haute Couturier himself was dead. In fact, he is very much alive, and unfortunately has had to witness the slow and torturous collapse of the label he worked his entire career to bring to prominence and acclaim before he retired. Nobody would blame him (or any of us) for being disheartened about the future of the Ungaro brand, but today brings the news that AEFFE, the Italian manufacturing powerhouse behind Alberta Ferretti, Moschino and Jean Paul Gaultier and other designer labels, has acquired the license to produce and distribute Emanuel Ungaro prêt-à-porter starting with the Fall 2013 collection to be shown in Paris next year.. Young Italian designer Fausto Puglisi has been tapped as creative director for the new endeavor. He may be best know for designing the glitzy gladiatrix outfit Madonna wore to perform at the last Super Bowl halftime show, which means he may bring enough flamboyance to the Ungaro brand to make everyone forget the motley line of designers (some skilled, some, maybe less so) who tried in vain to keep the label going. In addition, Madonna's favor has given a career boost so many designers from Gaultier to Dolce & Gabbana to Olivier Theyskens to Dsquared2, so let's say we are cautiously optimistic about the future of Ungaro. At least we are on board for one more shot.

Aeffe Takes on Emanuel Ungaro (WWD)


Dolce & Gabbana's
5th Avenue Flagship Set For November
With A Unique SoHo Shop To Follow

The Shophound has been wondering what was going to happen to the sizable D&G Boutique on West Broadway in SoHo (pictured above) now that the D&G label exist no longer. Currently it is dark, literally, with the windows blacked out and no indication that the space is available for anyone else to take. A report in today's WWD confirms that, among other of Dolce & Gabbana's upcoming stores, the label's long-under-construction Fifth Avenue boutique will open by November, and will be consistent in design with other of its boutiques. Going forward, however that may change.

“We are tired of seeing the same stores everywhere, all these designer stores, including ours, they look all the same,” Stefano Gabbana says, and so a reported upcoming SoHo location will be "completely different from any other unit,” according to one half of the celebrated design duo. We don't yet know what that means, or how long it will take, but we think it's safe to assume that the SoHo store will take over the prominent space formerly occupied by the D&G boutique. This will ultimately leave the Italian brand with three major luxury boutiques in New York, a store count which puts them in a league with Prada, Gucci and Giorgio Armani. It's a bit of a jump from one big Madison Avenue flagship to three, but the brand has successfully negotiated the road from hot, young label to Italian luxury mainstay over the past couple of decades. Now its only challenge will be covering all that costly NYC overhead.

FASHION SCOOPS: OPEN SEASON/Dolce & Gabbana Opens New Milan Boutique (WWD)


Jean Paul Gaultier, Tabitha Simmons, Sergio Rossi, Dsquared2, GANT Rugger, Knoll, Burberry, Salvatore Ferragamo, Simon Spurr

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!

Jean Paul Gaultier, Foley & Corinna, EMU Australia, Tabitha Simmons, Tahari, Chan Luu, Inhabit, OneForty8 by Lafayette 148, Velour, Seychelles, Zoe & Sam, Baby Quasar, ADAM, Chopard Estate Watches, Jay Godfrey, Sergio Rossi —join HERE
James Jeans, Abito, Diesel Underwear, Antonio Maurizi, Joseph Abboud, Scott James, Creative Recreation, Theory, Dsquared2, Kai-aakman, Martin Greenfield, Gant Rugger, CLAE, Ossington Bags, Yarnz —join HERE
Knoll, Steve & James Outdoor Furniture, Grand Patrician Basic Bedding, Zipcar, Parvez Taj, Mantiques, Cuisinart, One-of-a-Kind Pillows, Thomas & Friends, NOM Maternity, Muu Nursery, Ducksday, Rosie Pope Maternity, Ryder & James —join HERE
Suenos, Salvatore Ferragamo, Sofia Cashmere, Arthur Court, French Connection, Andrea Candela, BELLE by Sigerson Morrison, Pangea, Gemvara.com, Brooks Brothers, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Surya Home, Patagonia, Big Buddha, Peacock Alley, Cuddledown, Scott Kay, Elle Macpherson, American Vintage, Fissler, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Portolano, Philip Stein Watches —join HERE
Paul Smith, Jack Victor, Nanette Lepore, Kensico, Bottega Veneta, Burberry, Danielle Stevens, Kenneth Cole, Paisley Park —join HERE
Members Only, Olivia & Grace, Polo Ralph Lauren, Sandra Darren, Stuhrling, Vince Camuto, Dylan George, Sugar Daddy, Henry Ferrera —join HERE
Citizens of Humanity, Missoni, theBalm, Corso Como/Ciao Bella, MUK LUKS, Ouidad, Laguiole Cutlery, CLAE, Chinese Laundry, Nautica, Ella Moss, Steve Madden, Ben Sherman, Cuisinart, iHome, TART, Desigual, Charles David, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Florsheim, Amrita Singh —join HERE
Rick Owens, Bally, Love Moschino, Simon Spurr, Pringle of Scotland, Cooper Jones, Hale Bob, Chocolat Blu, OnGossamer, Sophie Catalou, Garnier-Thiebaut, Lunares Decor, GANT Rugger, Antony Morato, Freeze 24-7, Muks, Donald J Pliner —join HERE
Melissa & Doug, Pajar Canada, Hispanitas, Technomarine, Core, WMF, Kelsi Dagger —join HERE


Gilt Groupe's PARK & BOND To Go Dark After Holidays

Fans of men's online retailer Park & Bond have only a few more months to shop. Owner Gilt Groupe has decided that after little more than a year, the site will close at the end of the current season. A departure from Gilt's popular off-price flash sale model, Park & Bond has been an attempt to shift the retailer's designer discount customers into current season full-price shopping. The site met with some success, racking up sales of $10 million in its first year, but in its third season, had not yet reached profitability. It isn't know if it was even expected to be profitable yet, but Gilt Groupe as a whole has been streamlining its operations over the year including the high profile losses of Park & Bond's President John Auerbach, its style director Josh Peskowitz who decamped for the Men's Fashion Director post at Bloomingdale's and fashion adviser Nick Wooster, who left for J.C.Penney.

Some elements of the site like exclusive or basic items will be folded into the regular Gilt Man offerings, but otherwise, the customers it did attract will probably have to satisfy themselves with Mr. Porter which launched around the same time and, let's be honest, carries many if not most of the same labels. Call it survival of the fittest, if you want.

Gilt Groupe to Shutter Park & Bond Site (WWD)