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FLAGSHIP FLASH:

COS To Open On Fifth Avenue In Former 42nd Street H&M

COSlookbookWhen H&M's sizable store at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue quietly closed several months ago, the speculation began as the Swedish chain maintained the lease and sources suggested that it would be converted to a new format.
Would it be COS or & Other Stories? One of the two H&M owned chains that debuted in SoHo a year or so ago was bound to be replicated uptown, and now it looks like COS will definitely be opening in the space sometime before the end of 2015.
And maybe the other one too?
The catch is that COS will only be taking 3,982 square feet of selling space, a fraction of the size of the former 2-level H&M store. Even with extra space for stock and back offices, that leaves plenty of room for another store, suggesting that & Other Stories could still expand uptown and take up residence next to its more elegant sibling, unless the rest of the space was subleased out which is another possibility.
In any event, New York shoppers will likely be thrilled to find another COS location. Even though 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue is heavy tourist company, COS has been a huge hit in the city, and the SoHo store is regularly packed with customers snapping up the brand's sophisticated yet well-priced collections. The upcoming store is part of a major expansion for the still relatively young chain. COS announced a major global expansion yesterday that included 5 more North American stores in addition to the Fifth Avenue unit. Look for the COS craze to only get bigger as the Fifth Avenue countdown begins.

Note: we originally misquoted the square footage of the upcoming COS store as 3,357 square feet. It has now been confirmed to us as 3,982 square feet.


SAMPLE SALE ALERT:

Thom Browne's Sample Sale
Starts Tomorrow

ThomBrowneSS15-1Our slow summer Sample Sale week just perked up a bit as we just heard that THOM BROWNE's 2-day sample sale will begin tomorrow July 30th in his showroom on 11th Avenue in western Chelsea. If you feel like slogging through the heat, know that this is a can't miss event for Browne's loyal fans, so count on some lines and some dedicated shoppers. In the past, this event has included a good proportion of samples, so size ranges have been fairly limited, but as the designer's business has grown, there may be more stock items on offer. The big plus is that since this is still a relatively small showroom sale, there is generally no middleman, and prices are usually very good. Browne's women's collection is also expected to be included, so look for a lively event. See our updated SALE ROLL sidebar at left for all the details, and also note newly added sales from TESS GIBERSON  starting this week and upcoming events from ERNEST ALEXANDER and ISSEY MIYAKE.


LUXURY DISPUTES:

Hermès Is Politely Feuding With The Birkin Bag's Namesake

Hermes-birkinWhat do you do when the person whom you have named your most famous product after slams you in the press?
This week, actress Jane Birkin caused a fashion scandal by publicly asking Hermès to remove her name from the crocodile version of its signature Birkin bag after having seen a video produced by People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals that detailed brutal slaughtering and skinning methods of alligators and crocodiles. It appears that Birkin would like for her name to remain on the other versions of the famous handbag, but be removed from the luxury crocodile version (pictured at left) which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
In a response statement issued today, Hermès International states, “Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”
While it declined to rename any of its products, the French luxury label stated that the farm depicted in the video is not one of its suppliers and is also under investigation for violating approved slaughter methods for alligators and crocodiles, whose use has been highly regulated since being removed from the endangered species list decades ago. The company indicated that not only does it meticulously follow established rules and regulations in acquiring animal skins for its products, it also visits its suppliers on a monthly basis to ensure that standards are being upheld.
Ultimately, this is a case of PETA attacking a famous animal product using brand and taking advantage of a celebrity connection for extra publicity. The advocacy group is famous for showing grisly videos of animal abuse and slaughter to gather support for its cause, but it may now be better understood that one cruel and abusive factory does not accurately represent an entire industry. Hermès like many other famous companies focused on leathergoods (Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton etc.) has probably become used to attacks from PETA and other similar groups and appears unfazed. Where Jane Birkin will ultimately fall on the dispute remains to be seen, but while PETA has gotten a few days of publicity out of the deal, it seems unlikely that anything will change at Hermès.

Hermès Responds to Jane Birkin Appeal (WWD)


HUMAN RESOURCES:

Alexander Wang Said To Be Already Exiting Balenciaga

AlexanderWangbyStevenKleinDidn't he just get there?
It's never a good sign when your supposedly confidential contract renewal negotiations are breathlessly reported upon for weeks, and while there has been no official announcement, WWD is reporting that Alexander Wang (pictured at right) is already leaving his post as creative director at Balenciaga after barely three years at the fabled house. Wang was hired to replace Nicolas Ghesquiere who left abruptly in 2012 and now appears to be comfortably ensconced at Louis Vuitton.
While Wang's tenure at the house has been favorably but not rapturously received by critics and the press, business is said to have been good under the designer whose notoriety kept attention on the label after Ghesquiere's unceremonious exit. He has revamped the company's retail design templates, kept its important handbag and accessory business humming with new styles and even tweaked the logo. Unlike his predecessor, however, Wang's design approach at Balenciaga has been much more reverent of the style of the brand's namesake, offering a sleeker, more elegant fashion image often focused on a black and while color schemes, which has dismayed fashion watchers who were expecting more adventuresome looks. Ghesquiere revived the nearly dormant label by veering between collections that only occasionally paid tribute to the archives and ones that highlighted streetwear looks or innovative materials that looked to the future. His signature item, the motorcycle bag, is decidedly not a reference to the sculptural couture designs of Cristóbal Balenciaga, and yet it remains an important component of the accessory collection well over a decade after its introduction.
It is also thought that Wang's expected departure signals the designer's interest in focusing more on his own New York based label which continues to grow. The rumored move suggests that the paradigm of a star designer heading two big brands based on two different continents may be over as creative directors find the constant commuting exhausting and the corporately owned couture houses increasingly want designers who will focus all their creativity on one label. Designers like Christophe Lemaire and Marc Jacobs have both indicated a desire to consolidate their attention on their own labels as part of the reason for their leaving Hermès and Vuitton respectively. For its part, WWD is reporting that executives from Balenciaga and Kering, its parent company, are looking for a lesser known emerging designer who can be promoted to replace Wang and hopefully create the kind of excitement and press attention that Gucci designer Alessandro Michele has enjoyed since replacing Frida Giannini at the Kering-owned Gucci earlier this year —although the jury is still out on how customers will react to Gucci's dramatically changed fashion offerings. Wang's final collection for Balenciaga is said to be for Spring 2016 to be shown this fall in Paris. If there is to be a replacement announced, look for it to happen after Paris Fashion Week — if the company can keep it under wraps until then.

Alexander Wang, Balenciaga Said Parting Ways (WWD)


LAST GASP:

Crate & Barrel's Madison Avenue Store Is In Its Last Days
UPDATED

CrateandBarrelMadisonClosing
After 20 years at 650 Madison Avenue on the corner of 59th Street, Crate & Barrel will end its run this weekend so, as you can imagine, there is quite a closing sale going on. Everything left in the store is currently 40% off with the likelihood of further reductions on the way, but be warned that there is not much left to buy. As Crate & Barrel is a chain with lots of locations, most of the current merchandise has been shipped off to other locations leaving some floor model furniture pieces and random clearance items in other categories scattered throughout the sparsely filled main floor (the second floor is now empty and closed). While it may not be the sale bonanza one might have hoped for, there always remains the possibility of finding a gem amongst the picked over, but don't tell us you weren't warned.

UPDATE:
Oops.
It looks like the store has closed already!
Originally announced to close after this weekend, our friends at Racked report that the doors are now shut, which is not especially surprising considering how little they had left to sell when we stopped in over the weekend. So long Crate & Barrel on Madison! Perhaps they will find a new uptown home. We would suggest looking on the other side of the park.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

The Sale Season Lives On With Tory Burch & La Garçonne

By all reason, the Sample Sale season should be pretty much dead at this point, but it doggedly chugs along as designers and retail take advantage of the lack of competition to empty their warehouses secure in the knowledge that there are always sale shoppers looking for a bargain.
Early reports have those shoppers lined up outside the Metropolitan Pavilion this morning for a special TORY BURCH Charity Sale that runs through tomorrow the 29th. The current Spring and Summer collections are advertised and 100% of the proceeds are promised to the Tory Burch Foundation supporting economic empowerment of women and families.

Downtown at 260SampleSale's continuously busy Wooster Street location, Fivestory has moved on after last week's blowout to make way for racy lingerie  and erotica brand KIKI de MONTPARNASSE who will be in residence there through Saturday the 1st of August. Obviously, the kids should be left at home for this one.

Tomorrow the 29th is when popular contemporary designer VIVIENNE TAM will take three days to offer up to 80% off her back stock and samples in the Garment District.

Finally, on Thursday, online retailer LA GARÇONNE will take over a Wooster Street space in SoHo through the weekend for a final clearance of men's and women's luxury and emerging designer clothing, shoe and accessory collections. We aren't terribly familiar with this sale, but a quick browse through the website includes designers like Comme des Garçons, Proenza Schouler, Rick Owens J.W.Anderson and much more. It looks like it is definitely worth checking out of you you haven't been completely shipped out by now.

Next week looks pretty quiet, so you may want to give you wallet a rest, although Badgley Mischka has just approved on the schedule and there are probably a few more to follow so stay tuned and keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for details and updated schedules of current sales.


TOUCH OF LUXURY:

Christofle Is Coming To Bleecker Street

Christofle-396Bleecker
In perhaps a new direction for Bleecker Street, the French luxury silver and tabletop brand Chrostofle is opening a small but undoubtedly elegant shop at no. 396 (pictured above), a new space reconfigured to create a retail shop in what was formerly a ground-floor apartment. We aren't exactly sure when the store's official opening is, but it appears that the company has already held a few preview events, and a peek through the sides of the window reveals that the store is fully stocked with the tabletop silver and holloware that Christofle is known for.
For a shopping stretch that has become known mainly for designer fashion, the new store has a whiff of a throwback to Bleecker Street's previous incarnation when it was a destination for fine antiques and luxurious home furnishings. But then the designers came and, well, you know...

Interestingly, for the first time in a while, there is suddenly an abundance of available space on the prized stretch of Bleecker Street between Christoper and Hudson Streets. As it happens, the new Christofle store is currently flaked by the empty former homes of Lulu Guinness and Jack Spade. Ten years after most of the street's longtime independent tenants were ousted in favor of more glamorous fashion brands, leases are coming up for renewal at dramatically increased rents, but where available storefronts were once snapped up as fast as they came up, they now linger. Aside form the Guinness and Spade sites, James Perse took over the large, defunct Juicy Couture store, leaving his previous two storefronts still wanting inhabitants. The former Jean Michel Cazabat turned ASH shoe store is now fully available, and the Manatus restaurant whose ejection bitterly disappointed neighborhood residents, has seen no one take over its space over a year after its departure. Perhaps the new Christofle store is signaling a broader mix of merchants for the West Village, but perhaps an ever richer one.


THIS WEEK ONLINE:

Chloé, Kitson, Stella McCartney, Brooks Brothers, Dolce & Gabbana, Miu Miu, Longchamp, Kate Spade, Max Mara, Byron Lars, TOD's

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!

GILT GROUPE
Reem Acra, Ginette NY Fine Jewelry, Sea, Catherine Malandrino, Spurr NY, TSOVET Watches, BOE Jewelry, La Prarie, Dolce & Gabbana, Cole Haan, Stella McCartney Lingerie, Brooks Brothers, Chapter, Tallia Orange, SPANX —join HERE
RUE LA LA
Chloé, J Shoes, 7 For All Mankind, Cosabella, All-Clad/Breville, John Hardy —join HERE
IDEEL
Kate Spade, Catherine Malandrino, Christian Louboutin, Kenneth Cole, Amrit Singh, Bertha, Franco Sarto, Tart, TOD's, ABS by Allen Schwartz, Laura Ashley Home, Reebok, Longchamp, Max Mara, Swarovski, Ted Baker. Adrienne Vittadini, Breitling, Brio Milano, Miu Miu, Sue Wong, Poppy & Bloom —join HERE
HAUTE LOOK
UGG Australia, Kitson, Baldwin Denim, Façonnable, Kinetix, KATO Japanese Denim & Shirting, Fossil Watches  & Accessories, Jessica Simpson, Arturo Chiang, Bed|Stu, Supremebeing, Surfside Supply Co.  —join HERE
MY HABIT
Kenneth Cole, NYDJ, Salvatore Ferragamo, Byron Lars, GEOX, Yigal Azrouël, SEE by Chloé, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, Kérastase, Fragments Jewelry, John Varvatos, Nautica, Etiquette Clothiers, Lucky 7, Rotenier Jewelry, Civilianaire, Stone Rose, New Balance, Eastland, Mosmann Australia, Gucci —join HERE

IS THIS THE END?

What's Left Of Band Of Outsiders Will Be Auctioned Off Next Week

Is there another big Band of Outsiders sample sale in the future?
A liquidation sale at the much admired but now defunct label's short lived SoHo store was expected to be its last gasp, but WWD reports that the company's creditor, Belgian fashion fund CLCC SA will be holding a public auction of intellectual property and leftover inventory on July 29th at its offices. That means that the brand could be revived in some way, but probably not involving its founder and designer Scott Sternberg. Reportedly, there are more than 5,000 units of inventory included in the auction, and while they are expected to be auctioned off as a single lot, they are eventually likely to make their way to market in one way or another either in a big sale or trickling through off-price channels which could include retailers like Century 21 or flash sale sites like Gilt or My Habit. In fact, it it not yet know if the what's left of the company will be sold as a single asset including the inventory and the IP or as separate lots. In the best of worlds, someone well financed might relaunch the line and lure Sternberg back to run it, but it is more likely that it may re-appear as a label in a less expensive segment of the market, proving once again that old brands never really die, they just get repurposed somewhere else.

Band of Outsiders’ Intellectual Property, Inventory To Be Auctioned (WWD)