Christofle Is Coming To Bleecker Street

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.


Tomas Maier and James Perse
Fill In Some Blanks On Bleecker

A stroll down Bleecker Street brought some news to The Shophound's eye this afternoon. We had been wondering who was going to wind up in the highly desirable and spacious corner store that Juicy Couture left vacant at no. 368 early last year, and it turns out that longtime Bleecker Street denizen James Perse is moving in (pictured above). Perse has maintained two separate men's and women's stores on Bleecker for several years now, and it is currently unclear whether he will be moving one or both stores into the bigger space, or if he will be using it for another concept entirely. We won't have to wait for long to find out. The windows are promising a February opening.

A few steps uptown, we discovered that Jimmy Choo has abandoned the West Village, for now at least. In its place, however designer Tomas Maier is bringing his second Manhattan store to No. 407 (pictured below). While his first, which opened just a few months ago on Madison Avenue, is well located to serve tourists and stylish East Siders, this new one will be perfectly positioned to bring Maier's laid-back chic to the downtowners who won't travel north of 23rd Street. No opening date has been announce, but it's not a huge store, and we are guessing it will be ready for shoppers sometime in the spring.


New Shops For Sisley Cosmetics,
Fly London & Crow Philosophy
Set For The West Village

  • FlyLondonBleecker
  • SisleyBleecker
  • CrowPhilosophyMePa

Amongst the disturbing abundance of empty storefronts downtown, Shoppers will be relieved to see at least a few of them being filled in the coming months. There are a lot of new stores set to hit the city this Fall, but a stroll around the West Village last week brought three to The Shophound's attention.

The first, on Bleecker Street, is the former Kurt Geiger shop at no. 375 which has swiftly been replaced by another British footwear brand, Fly London. As far as we can tell, this is the brand's first U.S. store, though the label will be familiar to shoppers. You won't see anything like the previous tenant's elegant pumps and boots there, however. Fly's stock in trade is a funkier, chunkier (and substantially less expensive) street style that frankly seems more suited to the mostly extinct 8th Street shoe stores of years past than the more designer driven offerings that will surround it. Whether this is a new direction for Bleecker Street remains to be seen.

Bleecker is also getting another new cosmetics boutique that falls firmly in the high end. French luxury makeup and treatment brand Sisley Paris  (not to be confused with the Benetton-owned clothing brand of the same name) is taking over Freemans Sporting Club's former digs at No. 343. The window promises a Holiday opening, so pricey skin care fans will have to wait a few months for this one.

Finally, a short walk over to the Meatpacking District reveals the impending arrival of a previously unheard of men's store called Crow Philosophy at 15 Gansevoort Street near Hudson Street (most recently the home of Yoyamart). Set for a Fall opening, this shop will showcase the line's debut collection designed by fashion industry veteran Tom Puls featuring sophisticated sportswear in dark shades with luxurious leather touches. Launching a new brand with a New York boutique can be a costly gamble, but the potential rewards can be high if everything falls into place. See the Gallery above for a look at the soon-to-open storefronts.


Kurt Geiger's Bleecker Street Store
Is Looking Very Available


There has been plenty of fallout from the recent sale of the immense fashion conglomerate Jones Apparel Group to private equity firm Sycamore Partners, but one of  most prominent effects has been the spinning off of several former Jones brands into independent firms. One of them, popular London based shoe brand Kurt Geiger, was only acquired by Jones in 2011, and made a major statement about its plans for the as yet untapped U.S. market by opening a showcase of a store at 375 Bleecker Street about a year and a half ago in a shop that had most recently housed a few ill fated attempts by Tommy Hilfiger to develop new retail concepts. It looks like Kurt Geiger, which recently became an independent company through a management buyout from Sycamore, is now adjusting its own plans for the U.S. While no specific announcements have been made, the prominent "For Lease" sign in the window makes it clear that the brand is, at the very least, not long for Bleecker Street. Whether it is moving the store to a more prominent location or simply putting its entire U.S. retail plan on hold for the moment is unclear, but it does put Bleecker Street in the same category as so many other supposedly hot Manhattan shopping neighborhoods that suddenly have a surplus of retail space available. With Geiger's Departure, Juicy Couture's prominently empty corner store, as well as the closed Manatus restaurant and several other vacant stores on its same block, There is a lot of space available. Now where are the retailers who are willing to pay the not inconsiderable rent it will cost them to set up shop there?

The store is indeed closing. According to our friends at Racked, Kurt Geiger is shutting down all of its freestanding stores in the U.S. The California units are already closed, and the Bleecker Street location is the only one that remains open —but only for the moment.

Shoe Story: England's Kurt Geiger To Take Tommy's Bleecker Street Store


Get A Free Manicure
At Marc Jacobs All Weekend

Bleecker Street will be a little bit more crowded this weekend as the Marc Jacobs Beauty store will be providing free manicures from Noon to 8 PM starting now until Sunday. See a selection of colors above, and pick the one that suits you best. If Esquire's SoHo Mega-Pop-Up is not your cup of tea, then perhaps this sort of giveaway may be more in your wheelhouse —or go to both! It's the 21st Century after all, and seeing as how Marc is the sort of designer who routinely wears kilts and famously attended the Met Ball in a transparent lace dress, we're pretty sure that a manicure will be offered to any and all comers. 

Free Manicures at Marc Jacobs Beauty through Sunday May 18,385 Bleecker Street at Perry Street, West Village (@MarcJacobsIntl via Racked)


Jean-Michel Cazabat's Bleecker Street Boutique Turns To ASH
+ More Turnover Nearby

If large parts of Manhattan are suffering from too much available retail real estate, than there are still a few other streets where stores do not sit empty for too long. Bleecker Street between Christopher and Bank Streets in the West Village has been one of them, but even there, a few stores are out of commission or undergoing transition. The theory on this street has recently been that any time a retail space becomes available, Marc Jacobs will swoop in and take it over, but even he may have maxed out on the West Village as his company turns its eye to larger stores in other Manhattan neighborhoods. There are some spaces coming up that Marc may not be as quick to absorb. For starters, the glamorous Jean-Michel Cazabat shoe boutique is now an ASH shoes sale pop-up store.
Is Cazabat out of business?
You can still buy his shoes at Barneys and other stores, but you may notice that his prices have jumped. The designer has moved his production back to Italy from China, which also pushed him back into the luxury category, precipitating a split from his backers who also own the Ash brand and have smoothly moved it into the Bleecker Street space —for the moment, at least.

Corporate changes have had an effect on several other Bleecker Street stores as well. Kurt Geiger's management has bought the company out from parent Jones Group which is currently being dismantled piece by piece, so that shoe store has remained in place. Juicy Couture, however, has been sold and and has exited its sizable store (pictured below) which remains under the control of former parent Kate Spade & Co. (formerly Fifth & Pacific, formerly Liz Claiborne & Co.). Will Kate move in? It seems like too good of a space to pass up, but for now, the sign in the window says the empty store is available. A few blocks away, brother shop Jack Spade is covered in green painted plywood, but its website lists it as temporarily under renovation, so we expect it to return soon enough.

Sadly, one well liked store seems to be gone from Bleecker for good. Freeman's Sporting Club appears to have exited its store at no. 343. Though it is still listed on the website, the shop is empty and available. FSC had a challenging time in the West Village. It's first location on the corner of Bleecker and Christopher streets had to be moved with little notice shortly after opening when the building was declared structurally unsafe —always a bummer. Happily, the store was able to swiftly move half a block to 343 where a temporary store eventually became a permanent outpost. That space, however, is now empty and available. East of Christopher Street, there are more vacancies including the former J.A.C.H.S. boutique*J.Press York Street sells a label which is reportedly being discontinued by the uber-traditional menswear retailer. Will J.Press fill it with a selection from its classic assortments this Fall? As its flagship is still under an extended renovation, it would give its loyal New York customers a local place to shop the brand albeit in an inconvenient location, though it's more likely that the space will be marketed to other retailers. How long some of these spaces take to be filled will say a lot about Bleecker Street's status to retailers in the coming months. If the are leased quickly, then the stretch remains near the top of Manhattan's most desirable shopping locations, but if we start to see the kind of vacancies that are plaguing the Upper East Side and the nearby Meatpacking District, then Bleecker's heyday may be coming to an end. Have a look as some of these storefronts in the gallery below.
*Correction: The J.A.C.H.S. Store is not in fact closed and is open for business. We mistook it for different empty store on the same block.

  • NotJuicyAnymore
  • JackSpadePlywood
  • FCS-Bleecker

New York Paradox: The Post Addresses New York's Empty Store Problem


Is Calvin Klein Taking Over Bleecker Street's Manatus Restaurant?

The last place to get a full, well priced meal on the designer stretch of Bleecker Street bewteen Christopher and Hudson Streets closed last night amid rumors that a Calvin Klein boutique was coming in to take over the space. Not too many West Villagers sound pleased to say goodbye to the Manatus, a three-decade or so fixture just off Christopher that has reportedly been the kind of friendly (and affordable), neighborhood Greek diner that seems to exist only on TV shows anymore. The restaurant's demise was forewarned nearly a year ago by Jeremiah's Vanishing New York, which followed up over the weekend with the news that its rent would have been hiked up to $50,000 per month if it had stayed. Calvin Klein rumor also stems from the blog, and it makes a certain amount of sense that a designer label which would require a certain amount of room would jump on one of the rare large scale spaces on Bleecker to become available. As a remnant of Bleecker Street's only slightly humbler past, Manatus was something of an outlier among the fashion and beauty stores, but that's not to say that designer shoppers don't need a place to sit and have a nice club sandwich.

Now to Calvin. If the brand is indeed interested in (or even already in control of) the space, one presumes that it would be to open a new Collection boutique, which would be only other one in America besides the flagship Madison Avenue store. Francisco Costa's designs for the premium label have thrilled critics and red carpet denizens in the years since he took over for Calvin himself. Unfortunately, Costa's different design point of view, changes in production arrangements and the introduction of the mid-range department store Calvin Klein label have decimated the brand's high-end women's business over the years. New management at the brand and at parent company PVH has vowed to reverse this state of affairs and refocus some corporate attention on its top label. A brand new boutique in a hip location could go a long way to burnishing Calvin's status among customers. Keep an eye out for some signage on Bleecker Street to let us know more, and keep walking toward Seventh Avenue if you are getting hungry.

Manatus: Vanishing (Vanishing New York)


Annick Goutal To Displace
Nothing On Bleecker Street

An exclusive French fragrance brand is coming to Bleecker Street, and, in a rare state of affairs, it isn't kicking out another store to do it. Annick Goutal, is opening a store in a 900 square-foot space at 397 Bleecker right next to Bond No.9 that hasn't housed a retail store since the early 20th Century. Up until now, it has been one of a few residential townhouse spaces that have broken up the string of shops on Bleecker. The skyrocketing value of retail real estate on that precious section of Bleecker Street has sparked a conversion of some of those ground floors with more likely to follow. About half of the townhouses there between 11th and Perry Streets have no retail space making a substantial shop-free stretch on the eastern side of the block —but perhaps not for long. You can compare the before (below) and after (above) views and see that the old-fashioned storefront for the shop is actually brand new construction, and it is likely that we will see more similar conversions in neighboring buildings as apartment leases come up for renewal.

AnnickGoutalInviteBack to the new store that is being finished, it is reported to be Annick Goutal's first in the United States. Until now the brand (now owned by Amore Pacific) has been available through luxury stores like Barneys and Bergdorf's (though we vaguely remember a Madison Avenue shop sometime in the 1990s). Copyright lawyers will remember the label for beating a lawsuit from Elizabeth Taylor over the "Passion" trademark in a conflict that ended up legally delineating the difference between the "luxury" retailers who sold Goutal and the mass market chains that would be selling Taylor's brand. Old copyright issuse aside, Annick Goutal will be joining Nars, Diptyque, M.A.C., Jo Malone, Marc Jacobs Cosmetics and the aforementioned Bond No.9 in creating an increasing presence for fragrance and beauty on this particular, ever-evolving West Village strip. The store is expected to open in the Spring and is promising special Grand Opening invitations for those who log on to the Annick Goutal website or scan the QR code on the store's front door (pictured at left)

Annick Goutal (Official Site)


Robert Graham To Bring Bright, Fancy Shirts And More To Bleecker Street

One particular store on Bleecker Street is about to get a lot louder.
Robert Graham, the men's designer label started twelve years ago with some very colorful shirts is coming to Bleecker Street sometime during this Holiday season. Coincidentally, the brand will be taking over the whitewashed storefront at 380 Bleecker that, for many years housed various shops run by founder Robert Stock's former business associate Ralph Lauren. After years designing under his own name, Stock created Robert Graham as an antidote for boring, bland menswear, and his colorful shirts, which often combine two or three or more different patterns in a single garment (see example below), have proved to be very successful in upscale department stores without particularly impressing the more rarefied Men's fashion press or editors. It's not an unusual or necessarily unfavorably place for a brand to be. It's where you will find Coogi sweaters and anything from Jhane Barnes. Some of the limited edition Robert Graham shirt styles go for nealy $600, and they are all very patterned and colorful —usually at the same time.

This appears to be the brand's 11th store. Now that it has grown to include a full sportswear collection as well as womenswear, it remains to be seen how much of it a typically diminutive Bleecker Street shop can feasibly hold and still have room for customers. We will have to wait until sometime between Thanksgiving and Christmas to see exactly how Robert Graham will fit in on the trendy street.

Robert Graham (Official Site)


Beauty Baby Edition

Critical-9-5It's been a whole month since we last heard from a Critical Shopper in the Thursday Styles, so it looks like Alexandra Jacobs is making up for lost time by cramming two reviews into one column. Call it a Fashion Week special. She starts off at the new Marc Jacobs Beauty store on Bleecker Street, which is also the old Marc Jacobs Accessories store. Her main complaint is that the designer's brand new makeup collection seems to have a disturbingly juvenile preoccupation, suggesting that in trying to make a youthful, cool cosmetics line, he has come up with product names that sound like they are made for children. In fact, the customers she happens to come across are still in braces, so she may not be at all off-base. Most notably, however, we are pretty sure —no, we are positive— that when she describes the new line as "cannily of the moment in its transgender marketing" she really means to say "pan-gender marketing" which would refer to the fact that certain products, including lip balm and concealer, are designed to be used by men and women. Of course, transgender marketing does make it sound more daring, but that would mean the line is pitched to an extremely specific segment of the cosmetics market consisting of girls who were once boys and vice versa. Though certainly worthy of attention and respect, we are not totally sure that this is a large enough group to ensure the kind of sales volume and profits that Marc Jacobs and his backer LVMH have in mind.

That's not all. Our shopper also swung by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe's DreamDry blowout bar where for $30 plus tip she got a pouf-y Veronica Lake inspired do that "drew some perplexed stares walking on Avenue of the Americas". Whether that's a plus or a minus depends, we suppose, on how one feels about Sixth Avenue.

Critical Shopper: Beauty in the Eye of the Dreamer By Alexandra Jacobs
Marc Jacobs Beauty 385 Bleecker Street at Perry Street, West Village
DreamDry 35 West 21st Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Flatiron District