If you can't help thinking of Brooks Brothers as a great men's store, then that may change in a few years. The venerable retailer has announced that Zac Posen (pictured at left) will become the creative director for the retailer's main women's apparel and accessory collections. “We want to better ourselves and have another point of view,” Brooks Brothers' chairman and chief executive officer Claudio Del Vecchio tells WWD. “We already have a team in place, so he’s not going to be a designer, but a creative director. He’s someone we trust and admire for what he does, and he can add to what we’re already doing.” Brooks Brothers has been upgrading and refining its women's offerings over the past few years, and the appointment will help bring attention as well as a new fashion image to a part of the company that has traditionally been overshadowed by its iconic male counterpart. Posen's responsibilities will be restricted to the main label women's lines and won't affect either the younger Red Fleece collection or the Black Fleece collection which will remain the purview of designer Thom Browne. The first collections under Posen's direction won't appear until Spring 2016, giving the designer plenty of time to adapt his own glamorous point of view to Brooks Brothers' traditional but evolving image. Posen will continue to design his own collection as well as other projects such as participating as a judge on "Project Runway" and said he was “honored and excited to be embarking on this incredible opportunity to take the Brooks Brothers women’s brand into the future while respecting its deep, rich American heritage as an institutional company.”
We already know that Supreme can cause mayhem when it launches an exclusive Nike collaboration. Last week's Nike Air Foamposite 1 release had to be shut down by the police when Lafayette street became too chaotic to sell the shoes in the store at all. When Dover Street Market opened late last year, a good portion of those waiting to get in were there only for another exclusive Supreme product launch, so can the arbiter of the last word in covetable skate and streetwear lend its cool factor to buttoned-down Brooks Brothers?
We will find out next week when the two retailers join creative forces to release an exclusive seersucker jacket and pants. While there are no images yet, the two pieces will be based on the haberdasher's slimmer Fitzgerald model and spiced up with a splashy star-printed lining. It will be available only through Supreme, while supplies last, which typically isn't too long for them. “Supreme was looking for something that was iconic to Brooks Brothers and they thought that their customers were sophisticated enough for a nice suit,” Brooks Brothers' fashion director Glen Hoffs tells WWD. Seersucker being one of Brooks' signature materials, makes it the perfect choice to introduce the brand to Supreme's faithful followers. Whether this is a one-off, or the beginning of a long-running collaboration remains to be seen, but if you notice a lot of skateboarders in seersucker suits this Summer, then we should probably expect more from this unlikely team-up.
As we have mentioned, Baz Luhrmann's 3-D extravaganza adaptation of The Great Gatsby which opens a week from today, is being marketed as aggressively as a superhero franchise, if not more so. How successful the director and Warner Brothers will be at making a Summer movie tentpole out of an F. Scott Fitzgerald classic with no possibility of a sequel —one that has already been filmed at least four times before— remains to be seen, but they seem to be pulling out all the stops to reach a fashion-minded audience. In fact, here in New York, it almost feels like anyone with functioning senses is being clobbered with a barrage of Gatsby promotion and related merchandise as if it will irresistibly compel them to buy a ticket next weekend to the movie. If you have been hooked, here are all the stores to visit that participating in Gatsby promotion, or if you are already sick to death of hearing about it, think of them as stores to avoid for the next month.
BROOKS BROTHERS: We mentioned this a couple of weeks ago. Brooks Brothers worked with Gatsby's costume designer Catherine Martin to produce hundreds of costumes for the film's male characters from leads to background actors. The store's Madison Avenue flagship has been completely Gatsby-ized along with nearly all the windows (pictured above) featuring displays of costumes from the film and promotional placards placed throughout the store. A special Gatsby-inspired capsule menswear collection featuring pastel linen suits and vintage-style formalwear has reportedly been selling well.
TIFFANY & CO.: Tiffany also assisted in costuming Gatsby. Perhaps you noticed the humongous blue Tiffany gift box constructed over Rockeffeller Plaza's ice rink last month for the store's lavish "Blue Book Ball" gala ostensibly celebrating its catalog and launching its "Jazz Age Glamour" diamond, platinum and pearl jewelry collection tied to the film. We haven't seen Tiffany launch a product line with that kind of fanfare since, well, ever, so it's safe to assume that Warner Bros. footed the bill for that one to promote Gatsby. The collection is being displayed in Tiffany's windows, and, in what seems like another first, the store's iconic 1940 facade has been festooned in Art-Deco scroll pattened decals in an attempt to retro-ize it a few decades.
PRADA: Designer Miuccia Prada also contributed costumes for the movie, several of which are currently being displayed in the luxury brand's SoHo Epicenter Plagship, the site of yet another recent gala party promoting the movie. What's on the Prada homepage right now? A film still of Gatsby stars Carey Mulligan and Leonardo di Caprio.
FOGAL: You'll see Gatsby in the windows at Fogal's stores and since it also provided hosiery for the film, it gets the rights to produce, you guessed it, a special collection of 20s-style hosiery featuring seams and deco-patterns.
THE PLAZA HOTEL: The hotel figures in the movie and hosted yet another recent party for the movie, its New York premiere. The hotel's website has been taken over by the movie, and features an "F. Scott Fitzgerald" Suite for anyone who wants a total immersion experience. In addition, there are Gatsby themed dishes created for the Plaza's restaurants and Food Halls
MOET & CHANDON: You will see the champagne's product placement in the film as well as amongst the other retail tie-in display for even more cross-cross-promotion. For example, Brooks Brothers' Gatsby mannequins are posed next to pyramids of the brand's bottles.
MAC: Among the quieter of the movie's promotional partners, we haven't seen as much in-store promotion from MAC, but it provided makeup support for the film and has been promoting Gatsby makeovers in the press over the past weeks
So there you have it all. Just try and avoid this movie while you are shopping this week, and we aren't even counting the relentless marketing of the movie's totally period inappropriate soundtrack album. Don't worry. It'll be over in a few weeks, so you can be ready for the marketing onslaughts from The Wolverine and Man of Steel.
In case you haven't turned on your TV for the past month, Baz Luhrmann's upcoming movie adaptation of "The Great Gatsby" is being marketed like it's the next big Superhero movie. We haven't seen any Daisy or Gatsby action figures yet, but we wouldn't be surprised to see them before May 10 when the movie opens. Instead, however there are any number of other marketing initiatives under way including one at Brooks Brothers, a retailer not known for jumping on the promotional bandwagon. In this case, the collaboration is actually a natural no-brainer. Author F. Scott Fitzgerald often mentioned the store in his work, and worked with the film adaptation's costume designer Catherine Martin to produce all of the men's wardrobe for the film, which included literally hundreds of costumes, many of them re-created from the store's archives. To celebrate (and promote) the movie, Brooks Brothers and Martin have launched The Gatsby Collection, a capsule menswear line inspired by the film's style which is available in select locations and online. While the club collar shirts and deco-jacquard ties say Jazz Age, the slimmed down clothing silhouettes are decidedly contemporary, so customers and fans won't be walking around town looking quite like film extras. The chain's Madison Avenue flagship has presented it in its own shop on the main floor along with a special viewing area to watch the films trailer, In fact, the whole floor has been given a glitzy dose of deco including a mirrorball and a display of some of the film's actual costumes. Stop by the store over the next few weeks to see some appropriately lavish outfits including some glittery women's costumes that, may not be totally period-correct, but are impressively evocative and amusingly sparkly nonetheless.
This isn't the only retail initiative you'll see concerning the movie. Our friends at Racked discovered the ornately detailed Gatsby windows at Tiffany & Co. which also has worked with Luhrmann and Martin on the film and a collection of jewelry it inspired. Fogal hosiery, MAC Cosmetics, Moët & Chandon and even the Plaza Hotel are also collaborating to promote the movie. Whether it's a hit or not will up to ticket buyers, but it looks like the Roaring 20s will be all over the city until it opens.
Have a look at Brooks Brothers' Gatsby Collection HERE, and click through our gallery below to get a look at the installations in the Madison Avenue store.
Last night, The Shophound braved Winter Storm Nor'Easter Athena, or whatever they are calling it, to preview one of our favorite shopping fundraisers, Housing Works Fashion For Action which once again held a gala preview at the Altman Building in Chelsea. Sadly, the nasty storm appeared to discourage the typically packed attendance that this event usually draws. The silver lining to all those storm clouds? Easy checkout lines and, more importantly, plenty more merchandise for everyone to buy at the free public sale that starts today at the Housing Works Chelsea Thrift Shop. Despite the weather, the faithful showed up to shop including longtime supporter and co-chair, actress Patricia Clarkson and WNBC's Talk Stoop hostess Cat Greenleaf. For those unfamiliar with this particular event, it includes a huge trove of brand new goods from designers and retailers to sell at thrift store prices whose proceeds will benefit Housing Works mission of ending both Homelessness and AIDS. This year, given the current events, the event has also pledged 20% of its haul to Hurricane Sandy Relief efforts.
And the goods are as enticing as ever. There were big donations from popular labels like Theory and Diane von Furstenberg, and we saw all sorts of gems like Oliver Peoples glasses and Vintage Chanel Jewelry (se a full list of donors HERE). With designer Thom Browne as Honorary Chair, one of his employers, Brooks Brothers again donated a huge assortment of the Black Fleece collection for men and women that he designs for them. The Shophound managed to snag a sweet pair of black suede saddle shoes from the label for a mere $75 (giving you an idea of how the prices run) despite the fact that someone swept up nearly half the Black Fleece shoes and promptly listed them on eBay. We know what you did, Vreelandschild. Not cool.
Anyway, the sale continues in Chelsea through this Sunday, and even without the tasty hors d'oeuvres and drinks, it's well worth a visit for not one but two good causes this time. We never miss it, and frankly, we are pretty damn picky about these things at this point, so get over there before some other sneaky eBay supersellers beat you to it!
Housing Works Fashion For Action
Public Sale Days: November 8th - 11th, Chelsea Thrift Shop 143 West 17th Street Between 6th and 7th Avenues
THIS WEEK'S SHOPPING EVENTS:
H&M Will Turn David Beckham
Into An Actual Idol
Brooks Brothers Flatiron Shop Will Ply You With Iced Coffee
Into An Actual Idol
Brooks Brothers Flatiron Shop Will Ply You With Iced Coffee
These days, we throw around the terms 'iconic' and 'idol' pretty freely, but starting tomorrow, H&M is giving New Yorkers the opportunity to literally worship at the feet of David Beckham, or at least one of six ten foot statues of him in his underpants. To celebrate the launch of a new ad campaign for the sports star's exclusive men's underwear brand, H&M will be installing the statues in six places around Manhattan, but they won't be there just for your gazing pleasure. There is a contest involved. Here's how it goes, direct from the folks at H&M:
Snap a picture on Instagram with your favorite Beckham statue anytime from August 16th through August 19th, and tag it with #HMBeckham. Include a mustache, soccer ball, or shopping bag in your picture for added effect! Visitors to the statues who upload their images to Instagram will have the chance to win one of 100 mini, limited edition David Beckham statues; one of ten pairs of signed David Beckham underwear; and the grand prize which includes $1,000 H&M shopping spree!
Those who cannot make it to the statue sites will have a second chance to take a picture with Beckham from August 20th to August 31st at H&M store locations throughout the participating cities.
You don't use Instagram? Tough luck. Take a picture anyway, just so you can prove to people that this actually happened. Other prises will be available through H&M's Twitter feed and also HMBeckham.com through the end of August. In New York, the statues will be found at the South Street Seaport, Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, Fifth Avenue between 58th and 59th Streets and the three H&M Stores at Lexington Avenue and 59th Street, Fifth Avenue and 51st and 42nd Streets.
And if celebrity underwear is not your thing...
Brooks Brothers is out to help you out with that mid-afternoon moment when your energy drops. Starting this Friday, the chain's Flatiron Shop at Broadway and 20th Street along with Handsome Coffee Roasters will be hosting an Iced Coffee Bar in the store from 2:00 to 5:00 PM daily through August 24th. Visitors will receive a complimentary Handome Iced coffee served up by Michael Phillips, World Barista Champion and co-founder of Handsome Coffee Roasters, along with local barista, Park Brannen, who, we are told, is also Handsome. We don't know what this coffee tastes like, but with that name, it had better be damned good-looking. And, as if we need to remind you, it's free, so Flatiron workers in need of a late-Summer afternoon pick-me-up know where to go.
UNDER CONSTRUCTION FOLLOW UP:
Black Fleece's Bleecker Street Facelift To Be Finished By This Saturday
Last week, we pondered what could possibly be the reason for Brooks Brothers' Black Fleece store on Bleecker Street to be abruptly shut down. It turns out that the the store is in no danger of an extended renovation. The building is simply getting a new look in keeping with Landmark Preservation standards according to the notices that have been posted on the plywood but mostly obscured from view by protective construction materials (above). Looking at the previous exterior (pictured below), it is clear that the otherwise charming corner store, like many of New York City's structures from early in the last century, has lost some, or more likely most, of its original decorative detailing, leaving only hints of its original look. It's actually kind of dingy looking if you examine it for too long. Presumably, the exterior will be restored to its former glory by this weekend, so shoppers will only have been without the store for barely a couple of weeks during the dog days of August. What a well timed couple of weeks off it must be for the store staff. The shop is set to reopen this Saturday, so we look forward to checking out its new, historically correct upgrade.
It was just this past Saturday that The Shophound was browsing through the Black Fleece store on the corner of Bleecker and West 10th Street, admiring the first arrivals from Thom Browne's Fall collection for the Brooks Brothers label (one of his best, so far, in out marginally humble opinion). When we walked past it yesterday, on our way to check out the just opened MM⑥ store (more on that later on), we discovered the space to be under some kind of elaborate construction that included building some kind of protective plywood around the interior of the store. We can't figure out what's going on here. When we peered through the side window (at right), we could see that the store's furnishings were still in place, albeit covered in protective materials, so it doesn't look like the store is shutting down or moving. Hopefully, the store will simply be on a brief hiatus. There are only two dedicated Black Fleece in the world (the other is in San Francisco), so we would hate to lose one of them. Of course, if Brooks Brothers is looking for some temporary space for the brand, there's a hastily vacated Rugby shop just down the street that could probably do in a pinch.
Brooks Brothers Black Fleece (Official Site)
Yesterday, Brooks Brothers opened the doors to its eighth Manhattan store at the corrner of Broadway and 87th Street. Somewhat smaller than the Lincoln Center location, this 3,000 square foot location offers a capsule of preppy women's and men's basics along with a special section fort he chain's Fleece children's line, much like its crosstown counterpart on the East Side. We stopped by yesterday afternoon to find the well-appointed store we expected and a super-eager staff. Really, super eager. They could reel it in just a tad, but it was the first day after all, and the store itself is something of a test for the Upper West Side neighborhood to see how well it will support a clothing chain that is more upscale than the Banana Republic and Club Monaco on the next block. Aside from a few Columbus Avenue boutiques, there is little above 72nd Street on the West Side to specifically serve what is by all accounts a wealthier demographic than the neighborhood stores would suggest. The store also helps to make up just a bit for the lack of men's clothing retailers on the West Side offering a healthy assortment of Brooks Brothers signature basics like oxford button-down collared shirts, chinos, blazers and even a few classic business suits for last minute prep-fixes without having to go downtown.
Brooks Brothers now open at 2381 Broadway at 87th Street, Upper West Side
Coming Soon: Brooks Brothers Heads Higher On Broadway
In this week's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica takes on the newest incarnation of Brooks Brothers on Broadway near Union Square. He frames his observations around the question of the popped collar and what exactly it means, an age-old controversy among wearers of polo shirts that is unlikely to be settled with one more newspaper article. This device is presented as a message from a "Bro" in a sartorial quandary. As usual, he entirely ignores the women's half of the store, which, in this case, may be appropriate, since the retailer has yet to define a stronger image for that part of its business.
Caramanica is divided, once again by the store which collects the most casual of Brooks Brothers lines in a college-themed outlet. He appreciates care taken in creating the store's ambiance, but notes that as much as he likes some of the offerings, not all of the merchandise has been developed enough to match its setting.
...plenty of Brooks Brothers styles make Gant Rugger look like Givenchy. Pastel sweaters with ribbed V-necks ($79.50) had a faint sheen (though the cashmere ones were fine). At the sight of the muted plaid scarves ($98), my shopping companion said, “This is the scarf you buy if you want to look like one of those ‘Nutcracker’ toys.”
Ultimately, he concludes that, "Unifying Brooks Brothers’ many collections proves to be not as seamless or meaningful a strategy as it sounds."
Critical Shopper: Welcome to Brooks Brothers, a k a Fraternity Row By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Brooks Brothers Flatiron Shop 901 Broadway at 20th Street, Flatiron District