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Michael Bastian Is Done With Gant,
But His Uniqlo Line Is Back
—Now With Shorts & Tees

Michael Bastian
fans were disappointed when they learned that last Fall would be the final season for his collaboration with Gant, leaving them only with his main collection which is beautiful, but, even by the designer's own admission, often staggeringly expensive. They may have forgotten for a moment about the designer's other much more affordable team up, his Spring polo shirt collaboration with Uniqlo. Well, it's Spring now, and yesterday, Bastian tweeted an announcement that a new batch polo shirts are back at Uniqlo, and they come with some welcome surprises. Now that the Gant line is over, the (apparently) annual collaboration with Uniqlo has broadened a bit. Last year they added kids polos, and now the assortments include men's t-shirts and tank tops is Bastian's signature stripes. Still not enough? Shoppers who like a total look will also discover two new styles of shorts, a rugged bush short in four solid colors and a cargo in a camo print that upon closer inspection reveals itself to represent a a cunningly designed cloud and bird pattern. We haven't yet gotten a chance to confirm that the collection is in stores yet (it wasn't as of Sunday), but it's on Uniqlo's e-commerce site right now.
While it doesn't quite replace the already missed Gant collection, we are all for any opportunity to get an affordable piece of Bastian style, and this year the prices run from $19.90 for kids polos to $29.90 for the shorts. Get 'em while you can. The best pieces always have a way of selling out fast, and let's hope there's more to come from this team-up —maybe a Fall edition? Just asking.

Michael Bastian Polo Shirt Collection for Uniqlo (Uniqlo.com)


Wading Through Lauren Bacall's Vast Collection

In the picture above is a pile of Lauren Bacall's Louis Vuitton and Goyard luggage, which is, in fact just a small sampling of the extensive luggage collection belonging to the late actress. Over the weekend, potential auction buyers and movie fans streamed into Bonhams' Madison Avenue showroom to check out her stuff, and there was a lot of it. We aren't sure how much room she had in her apartment in the Dakota, but it seems apparent that she filled it to capacity. The walls were covered with framed pictures and surfaces were covered with any number of objects from African tribal figures to small sculptures from friends like Henry Moore and Robert Graham (the artist and late husband of Anjelica Huston, not the maker of colorful shirts). Combing through her possessions was less like entering Elizabeth Taylor's mind boggling vault of treasures at Christie's a couple of years ago, than examining the taste of a woman of great means who lived a big life with luxury, but not necessarily ostentation. There were some beautiful jewels including some fine Jean Schlumberger pieces, but compared to the rest of her stuff, it was a more smaller collection of more modestly scaled pieces as Hollywood glamor goes. Bacall was known to have a huge, spectacular wardrobe, most of which was reportedly donated to the Fashion Institute of Technology, which has its own, small Bacall centered exhibition running through this week. Bonhams still had a small sampling of clothes available from Bacall's favorite designers including an Yves Saint Laurent couture cape which looked like it came from his 70's heyday, a glittering black beaded Halston cardigan and two versions of a Jean Muir jumpsuit in different colors. Ever practical, she tended to favor sleek Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren pantsuits and sweaters for everyday, so the draw here is not so much the clothes and personal adornments, but all the rest of her home furnishings including an eclectic collection of antique furniture , mostly from Europe and Scandinavia and Asia. She was a fan of American quilts as well, and clearly favored more rustic antiques over sleek, modern style. Of the art, there was an abundance of smaller pieces, mostly prints and lithographs from Moore, Graham and others, and while she seemed to have few large, statement making paintings, she had a penchant for huge, framed antique posters. There was silver both decorative and practical including a damaged oil Hannukah menorah waiting to be purchased by a true fan. For the casual shopper looking for a souvenir, there were collections of books and less valuable knickknacks like bookends and whose main value may be that they belonged to a great star. At times, it seemed like Miss Bacall may have been amassing such items just so fans could one day get a piece of her possessions at a reasonable cost. And then there was all that luggage. At the center of it was a pair of Hartmann steamer trunks that appeared to date from the mid-century days when people of a certain class traveled with such things, but surrounding them were stacks of Vuitton and Goyard, and even a humble little Prada carry-on with wheels that made one wonder exactly how many suitcases one person —even a famous Hollywood star— could need to travel with at one time? Three, four, maybe five, but thirty? That's a mystery that only her family might be able to answer. For the rest of us stargazing shoppers, Lauren Bacall's collections will be Auctioned off tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Lauren Bacall Collection (Bonhams)


Prada, Hugo Boss, Giorgio Armani, Chloé, Saint Laurent, Gents, Shipley & Halmos, Burberry, Tom Ford, Tory Burch, Gucci, ONIA, Timberland

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. Shop well!

Prada, Goldsign, Cyclic/Chie Mihara, Zimmerman, Lafayette 148, Saint Laurent, Alanna Bass Jewelry, BCBGMaxAzria, Robert Graham, Ossington, GANT by Michael Bastian, Bruno Magli, Surface to Air, Martin Greenfield, Plated.com, Villeroy & Boch —join HERE
Kenneth Jay Lane, Shoshanna, STEVEN by Steve Madden, Jura-Capresso, Carmen Marc Valvo, Bill's Khakis, J.McLaughlin, Kidcraft, ASICS, Tory Burch, Donald J Pliner, Hugo Boss, Adidas, LAUREN Ralph Lauren —join HERE
Chan Luu, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chloe, Kenneth Cole, Jared Lang, Prada, Burberry, Robert Graham, Tom Ford Eyewear —join HERE
AG Jeans, Yoana Baraschi, Carrera, Shipley & Halmos, Timberland, Steve Madden, Matisse, Giorgio Armani/Emporio Armani, Magnanni, Natori, Furla, Vince Camuto Signature, Nine West, Swarovski, Laura Geller Beauty, CHARLES by Charles David, Robert Graham, ONIA Swim, Rebecca Taylor, Riller & Fount, Yumi Kim  —join HERE
Gareth Pugh, Gucci, Tahari ASL, Saint Laurent, Bulova, Vince Camuto, Melissa Shoes, Coach, ONIA Swim, Donald J Pliner, Gents, Woolrich, Rotenier Jewelry —join HERE


Brookfield Place Is Sort Of Open-ish

Downtown is happening.
The Financial District is a retail gold mine that has been woefully untapped, and when an unprecedented concentration of luxury stores around the World Trade Center opens up, rich people with money burning holed in their pockets will flock to the new mall full of coveted designer brand.
But not this week.
We must make it clear that The Shophound roots for retail projects to succeed, however pie-eyed they may seem. We don't like to see stores fail. It's depressing, so we are as hopeful as anyone that the extremely ambitious retail plan for the World Trade Center area succeeds, but if it happens, it won't happen overnight.
Since yesterday was the official opening day for the retail section that Brookfield Place created out of the old  World Financial Center, The Shophound decided that it was as good a time as any to see what they had made out of it —which leads to obstacle #1: Getting in there.
Unlike most most Manhattan shopping areas, you can't just stroll up to Brookfield place at the moment, at least not from the street. In fact it is easier to access the complex that includes the shopping section, the Hudson Eats food hall/court and the about to open Le District French-centric food hall if you are strolling along the Hudson River Park promenade. The entrances from West Street remain blockaded for long stretches that include the shopping center's main entrance. Even marked crosswalks are closed off, so the most direct way to get inside of the place is to backtrack two blocks east to the PATH train entrance at Greenwich and Vesey Streets and walk the length of the Santiago Calatrava Occulus structure underground to re-emerge at street level inside Brookfield Place. This is annoying but temporary, but it emphasizes the fact that Brookfield place will remain inconvenient to enter even for local shoppers for a little while.
Once inside, however there was no abundance of shoppers on opening day. Crowds were sparse on a drizzly Thursday afternoon, which made it the perfect time to finally grab an Umami Burger up in Hudson Eats without enduring a long line. Of course, not all the stores are ready, and the big luxury names, Hermès, Bottega Veneta, Gucci, Ferragamo and others, are still gestating under plywood. Only about half the stores opened yesterday including bright and spacious new versions familiar shops like J.Crew, Vince, Theory, Bonobos and Diane von Furstenberg. Paul Smith was celebrating a lovely new store with Champagne, macarons and other sweets for all visitors, but, sadly, as with the other shops, earnest salespeople easily outnumbered customers, and we got the impression that this might be the case for some time to come. Many of the customers looked like they probably worked in the complex of buildings surrounding the shops, in shirtsleeves, unencumbered by coats, and probably taking a long awaited look through at the tail end of their lunch hours. That's a good thing. Part of the retail strategy there is to take advantage of the well paid working folk in the area as a captive customer base, but they may or may not be enough to support a mini-Madison Avenue, and it is basically the same sort of group that was there when the World Financial Center opened about 25 years ago. That turned out to be something of a disappointment. Retailers in the newer, reconfigured space will have to be content with a sort of time-release excitement that will hopefully bring more traffic over the course of coming year. Patience and deep pockets will be required because the immediate WTC are is still knee deep in construction which is unappealing to luxury shoppers who frankly don't need to go down there to get anything the mall has to offer. And the neighborhood tourists did not seem to be the sort of folks who would keep such a high-end collection of stores humming. We did not see a single store at Brookfield Place, open or upcoming, that wasn't already represented elsewhere in Manhattan at least once, and in most cases, several times over. In fact most of them are also open not far away in SoHo. It will be a challenge to convince most New Yorkers that they need to come to the Financial District to shop in a mall for things that are easily found in more charming New York-y shopping neighborhoods. And that's part of the challenge. It's a mall.
Nobody comes to Manhattan to shop in a mall, and successes like Columbus Circle are carefully tailored to the local neighborhood.
You can drive to Short Hills for a luxury mall, and, frankly, it's more exciting to stroll along Madison Avenue if you want to go to Hermès and Gucci and Bottega Veneta. There is nothing in Brookfield Place yet that you can't find anywhere else in Manhattan, which puts a lot of pressure on Le District to deliver on its promise. What is being touted as a "French Eataly" is opening a few sections today, most of the others by next Wednesday and is expected to be completely finished by May. It is the one thing there that hasn't been seen before elsewhere, and there is real excitement around it. Wealthy New Yorkers will go out of their way for a new food experience, and if Le District can keep them coming back, it will help the entire complex. Saks Fifth Avenue will probably not be open in Brookfield Place for at least a year, and the World Trade Center's retail projects look to be at least that far off, so if this area is destined to become the luxury retail mecca that real estate industry flacks are breathlessly touting, it's going to take a couple of years to build up to at the very least. We hope that everyone who opened to day can stick it out. We want to see them win in the end, but ravenous luxury shoppers who are expected to make Brookfield Place a success did not show up yesterday.


The Time To Visit Macy's Herald Square Is Right Now When It Is Full Of Flowers

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It is true that for a lot of New Yorkers, Macy's Herald Square, the city's most famous retail landmark, is generally to be avoided at all costs. It is the city resident's natural aversion to attractions that are bound to be clogged with slack-jawed tourists, and Macy's remains one of New York's top attractions for visitors.
However, the immense store's ongoing renovations have made the once dingy store brighter, more pleasant and easier to shop despite all the tourists, and if you ever plan to venture to the World's Largest Store, go before the end of next week when it is stuffed with lushly arranged flowers. Yes, it's time for Macy's Flower Show. For over 40 years, the store has heralded the arrival of Spring by festooning the main floor with blooming blossoms and greenery, and now that the main floor has been upgraded and refreshed it looks all the better as a temporary botanical garden. In addition, the store offers all kinds of workshops and special events.
Still need a reason?
Spring. Flowers.
It's actually Spring right now, even though we can hardly tell. After yet another dreary, seemingly endless winter, we could all do with a taste of warmer months to come, so it's worth a little detour to Herald Square even if it's just for a few moments to lift your winter-numbed spirits.

Macy's Flower Show Through April 4 at Herald Square, Midtown


GQ Announces 2015's Best New Menswear Designers

It's that time of year again, when we can start anticipating the capsule collections from GQ's Best New Menswear Designers that will appear sometime this fall at selected Gap locations. 2015's chosen four are David Hart (pictured above), Stampd by Chris Stamp, NSF by Nick Freidberg and Jamie Haller and The Hill-Side by Sandy and Emil Corsillo. GQ has hit all the bases with the cali-casual NSF and Stampd that will coordinate nicely with last year's breakout John Elliott & Co. The Hill-Side's Corsillo Brothers also run Hickoree's, that seminal heritage-artisanal-handcrafted shopping destination in Williamsburg that helped to spearhead the heritage menswear wave that will either delight or bore you, and Hart is a classicist in the mold of BNMDA alumni designers like Michael Bastian, Todd Snyder and Brooklyn Tailors who emerged as one to watch during last month's shows with not only his own line but his smartly styled relaunch of Hickey Freeman as it prepares for yet another relaunch and repositioning.
Hopefully, the group will turn out another set of winning capsule collections for the Gap. Last year's selections from Elliott and En Noir sold out nearly immediately, so when these collaborations hit, they hit pretty big. Stay tuned for updates and previews as they drop in advance of the collections release this fall.

GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America (Official Page at GQ.com)


Shoes & Jewels From Charlotte Olympia, David Yurman & John Hardy
+ Hugo Boss & More

The Sample Sale schedule is ramping up just a bit this week with some seasonal favorites making their scheduled returns as well as a highly anticipated newcomer shoe designer. It's a big week for jewelry fans as DAVID YURMAN makes his seasonal appearance at the Altman Building in Chelsea on Thursday the 26th for what is generally one of the most genteel and civilized sales on the schedule. Up to 60% Off is promised on all his categories ranging from precious gemstones set in gold to more affordable sterling silver pieces as well as watches, sunglasses and accessories.
Running in tandem on the same dates through Sunday is JOHN HARDY,who in the past has held his sales in hotel spaces, but has moved to the more accessible Soiffer Haskin sale room in west midtown which has carved out a niche as the premier sale venue for luxury goods. Hardy is promising up to 75% off retail prices on his gold and and sterling silver jewelry for men and women including precious stones and incorporating both metals and materials like leather. As usual, leave the cash and strollers at home, and prepare to check everything.
Also joining the schedule on what is turning out to be a very big Thursday is London based shoe designer CHARLOTTE OLYMPIA who is staging her first stateside sample sale for one day only at the Roosevelt Hotel near Grand Central Terminal. We aren't sure what kind of crowds to anticipate, but it is shoes, and there seems to be a great deal of advance excitement for this sale, so prepare for a scene.
Of course, there's more,

HUGO BOSS has been holding two sales a season lately, but if you are a sample size, this is the one you have been waiting for. Starting today, the label's showroom in West Chelsea at the vast Starrett Lehigh Building will be open through Friday to sell off the samples for both the men's and the women's lines. Typically, there is an abundance of merchandise in extremely limited sizes, but if you can fit into production sample sizes, the prices are reliably good, particularly for men's tailored clothing offerings. As for the women, the assortments have been sparse in the past, but this sale should offer samples from Jason Wu's first collections for Boss Woman, so if that's what you are after, get there early.

Once you have gotten you suits, you can head over to SANYO NEW YORK's sale on Wednesday and Thursday for men's raincoats. Outerwear will be available from the Fall 2014 and Spring 2015 seasons at 30% to 70% off.

It's not a total loss this week for women's fashion. TRINA TURKwill be at Chelsea Market from Wednesday the 25th through Sunday with her bright and peppy women's collections featuring overstock and samples. We are told that a small selection of the increasingly popular Mr. Turk men's collection will also be on hand, just so the guys won't be left out.

Also this week, check out sales from VINCE CAMUTO, DESIGUAL, FRETTE  and COMPTOIR DES COTONNIERS. See our SALE ROLL at left for details and locations as well as late breaking sales


Vivienne Westwood Returns To New York In A Midtown Townhouse This Fall

Vivienne-westwood-sketch-portIt has been about a year and a half since we heard about Vivienne Westwood's purchase of a $13.5 million townhouse next to the St. Regis Hotel on East 55th Street, but the details of the upcoming flagship store have been announced. Contrary to WWD's headline, this is not in fact the first Vivienne Westwood boutique in New York. SoHo shoppers will remember a spacious boutique on Greene Street that opened in 1999 and closed a few years into the 2000s, but that was puny compared to the three level showplace that is slated to open this fall in midtown. The new store is slated to carry all of Westwood's product line including the premium Gold Label collection, Red Label, Anglomania and Man clothing lines along with accessories, bridal and exclusive Gold Label Capsule eveningwear. In a first for the U.S., the store will offer the designer's World's End collection which (except for a current offering at Opening Ceremony) has only been available at the designer's original King's Road boutique in London and features reproductions and reworking of classic Westwood designs —and yes, that's where Pharrell Williams got that hat. The upper floors will serve as the brand's U.S. headquarters and showrooms.
As for the decor and design, the rendering pictured is all we have to go on for now, but when opens, shoppers should be warned to expect just a bit of politics with their fashion. Those who only know Westwood from the lavish gowns she designs that regularly appear on red carpets might be surprised to discover that she is famously free with her philosophy and opinions, many of which are well outside the mainstream of typical American discourse. A visit to the Vivienne Westwood boutique might offer shoppers just a bit more than they bargained for.

Vivienne Westwood Opening First Boutique in New York (WWD)


Marchesa, TUMI, Rick Owens, Longchamp, John Varvatos, Vince Camuto, Hugo Boss, Vivienne Westwood, Salvatore Ferragamo, Perry Ellis

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!

Marchesa Voyage, Fendi Watches, Alice & Trixie, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, TUMI, Narciso Rodriguez Footwear, J Brand, Tracy Reese, Ermenegildo Zegna, Sandro, Ben Sherman, Calvin Klein Collection, Shwood Eyewear, Salvatore Ferragamo, Haspel Sportswear, Tommy John, Baume & Mercier —join HERE
Burberry, Carolinna Espinosa, Sferra Bed & Bath, Carelle Jewelry, Heather Grey, Plated, Michael Kors Accessories, Anne Cole Swimwear, iRobot, CHARLES by Charles David, Brooks Brothers —join HERE
Stuart Weitzman, Royce Leather, A.B.S. by Allen Schwartz, Jane Tran, Salvatore Ferragamo Sunglasses, Michael Kors Watches, Longchamp, Zinke, Amrapali, Socheec Vanhi, Fendi, Gucci Footwear, Clarins, Hugo Boss, A. Testoni —join HERE
Kobe, Franco Sarto, Three Dots, MIA, Vince Camuto Collection, Enzo Angiolini, SKY, Saachi Jewelry, Tibi, Loveappella, Anne Klein, Skinnygirl, Badgley Mischka Swim, PAMELLA Pamella Roland, Sandro, PRPS, A. Testoni, Elevenparis, John Varvatos, Vivienne Westwood, Ben Sherman, New Balance —join HERE
MICHAEL by Michael Kors, CZ by Kenneth Jay Lane, Borghese, MARC by Marc Jacobs, Rick Owens Collection, Lilies & DRKSHDW, Dawn Levy Outerwear, BEN by Ben Amun, Calvin Klein, Alexander McQueen Accessories, Gordon Rush, Perry Ellis, Duchamp, Robert Graham, Bruno Piatelli, Columbia, Mr. Turk, J.Smith, Geoffrey Beene, Scotch & Soda, Salvatore Ferragamo, J. Artola, Valentino Uomo —join HERE


Is Marc Jacobs About To Consolidate His Collections Under A Single Label?

MBMJ-35-FW15Ever since Marc Jacobs left Louis Vuitton to fully concentrate on his own signature label, there have been rumors of major reorganization, and it's looking more and more like the future of the brand will be under a single label. WWD has gone on record as suggesting that the Marc by Marc Jacobs (A fall 2015 look is pictured at rightline was increasingly likely to be folded back into Jacobs' main collection which would then proceed with an expanded price point that would range from the contemporary to the designer level. A few weeks ago, similar rumors circulated about the men's Marc Jacobs labels, but it seems that the consolidation would cover the entire company's offerings.
The Marc by Marc Jacobs label has been struggling to redefine its identity over the past couple of years. In 2013, women's designer Luella Bartley was hired to refresh the brand's fashion direction, and at last season's show, it was announced that the label would be relaunched as MBMJ —which actually never happened.
A consolidation move would echo the strategy of currently disgraced designers Dolce & Gabbana who, a few years ago, surprisingly discontinued their D&G diffusion brand and folded it back into the main collection promising a similarly broadened scope for their single label. How that has played out seems more like the lower priced line vanished and the designer collection stayed pretty much the same, but it may simply demonstrate that at the luxury level, less is sometimes more.
WWD also notes that Marc Jacobs' parent company LVMH is closely involved in recalibrating the brand's organization, and a stronger retail presence is considered imperative by LVMH chair Bernard Arnault. Jacobs' own series of boutiques is expected to be expanded. Though he has long had a retail presence in Manhattan with his SoHo collection store and the series of West Village shops which have often traded off between his signature and diffusion lines, they ultimately are too small to make the kind of impact the brand needs and that a major Marc Jacobs flagship would provide. While the label has often hinted that a major uptown store has been in the works —even going so far as to identifying a Madison Avenue location at one point— the store has never materialized.
Exactly what is going to happen to the Marc Jacobs label lineup and retail network remains to be seen, and the company has made no official announcements, but if it hat hit WWD, that means that some major changes are in the air to steady the brand and position it for a stronger future. Stay tuned.

Hear Marc by Marc Jacobs Folding into Jacobs Line (WWD)