While some shoppers are counting down the last few days before Chelsea's new Barneys opens, others are keeping their eyes on Midtown where an opening date has been set for New York City's first Saks Off 5th location. Eyebrows were raised when it was announced only a few months ago that the luxury department store's outlet chain would open right in the middle of full-price territory on East 57th Street, a mere seven blocks uptown from the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship at 50th and Fifth. Now we have learned that not only will the store will open on Thursday March 3rd, but it will contain the first of what is expected to be several in-store Gilt boutiques in Off 5th locations (rendering pictured above). WWD reports that the 1,000-square-foot boutique will be situated at the landing of the first escalator in the two-level, 47,333-square-foot underground store. The shop will include "Gilt by Appointment" services and will mirror the sites online events. New merchandise that is released online at 12 noon will also be unveiled at the store just in time for lunch-hour shopping. Off 5th will also accept returns of online purchases in the store but is not yet ready to facilitate in-store pick-up of online purchases.
The new shop is one of the results of Saks parent company The Hudson's Bay Company's recent purchase of Gilt. While Off 5th and the online retailer will begin to be marketed in tandem, they will continue to maintain separate buying and merchandising personnel to differentiate the more luxury minded site from the broader assortments at Off 5th. We will be able to see how well the new siblings play with each other in just over 3 weeks when the new store opens at 125 East 57th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues. It's worth noting that in our rather extensive experience, off-price stores like this one tend to be packed with exceptionally good bargains at the grand opening, so first-day shopping is always recommended.
You would think that 285,000 square feet over seven floors in a brand new, specially built skyscraper would be enough room for Nordstrom to launch it's long awaited Manhattan flagship, but the folks at the home office in Seattle are apparently feeling a little bit less confident about having enough space, now, so they have expanded —across the street.
WWD tells us that Nordstrom has taken a three level 43,000 square foot space at 3 Columbus Circle (pictured above) just across Broadway from the upcoming Nordstrom Tower for a second store. Rumors about the chain's interest in the space popped up about three months ago, but speculation was that it was to maximize the brand's presence with a flagship Nordstrom Rack store. If it seemed a bit unlikely that they would place an outlet unit so close to what is expected to be one of its crown jewel flagships, that's because it was. In fact the space will be an extension of the flagship as the home for certain departments relocated to make more room in the main store. While those departments have not yet been identified, speculation centers around shoes or menswear. While Nordstrom is known for its massive shoe departments, it is hard to imagine that it would move them across the street into a different building, making it difficult for sales staff to easily cross-sell footwear to complete apparel purchases. A men's department, however, can be and has been easily encapsulated in a separate, multi-level building as shown by Bergdorf Goodman's 25-year-old Men's store across Fifth Avenue from its original store and the freestanding men's store Saks Fifth Avenue is planning in the Financial District to complement the branch opening at Brookfield Place later this year. Nordstrom is also known for having one of the strongest men's businesses in the industry which could be maximized in New York City with its own storefront.
Or perhaps they haven't even decided yet. The additional space had included a Bank of America branch which the building's owner bought out to make the deal, and, since it is part of a building that is already built, unlike the very much under construction flagship store, Nordstrom has plenty of time to decide what to do with the space as well as create the store inside. Look for an announcement confirming the new space's use. . . eventually.
Generally, we would suggest that Pinko, derogatory midcentury slang for lefty communist sympathizers, would not be the best name for a contemporary women's apparel line, but we have all gotten used to a fashion line called Acne by now, so we suppose that all bets are off in that respect.
Anyway, Pinko (pictured at right), an Italian based sportswear chain is making what appears to be its U.S. debut on the north-western corner of Madison Avenue and 80th Street in the former home of a Comptoir des Cotonniers unit. The line, whose prices appear to be comparable to Sandro or Maje, has an abundance of stores throughout Europe, the U.K., the Middle East and China, but has not yet ventured into North America. The Commercial Observer tells us that its debut store will be roughly 1,000 square feet, and that's all we got fro now. No opening date has yet been set, nor have plans for further expansion been released, but the upper reaches of Madison Avenue right on the pedestrian route to the Metropolitan Museum should be fertile ground to launch this sort of brand in the vicinity of Vince, J.Crew, Nanette Lepore and their ilk. Stay tuned for more details.
Italian Women’s Fashion Brand Pinko Making Foray Into USA (Commercial Observer)
That makes three.
2016 is looking to be a big year for the Saks Off 5th outlet chain as three locations are set to open in New York City where previously there have been exactly none. In fairness, it is only in recent years that luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue have been comfortable placing their outlet division stores close enough to their full line stores to allow them to exist in New York City at all. With Off 5th stores scheduled to open in the Financial District and on East 57th street next year, the Commercial Observer is now confirming that parent company Hudson's Bay Co. has signed on for a third 30,000 square foot unit at the Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Brooklyn's Sunset Plaza neighborhood (lobby rendering pictured above). The store will be on the massive complex's ground floor with a prominent entrance, and is expected to open some time between Summer and Fall of 2016. Just above it will be the already announced Bed Bath & Beyond complex including flagship sized unites of each of its divisions including the namesake chain, Buy Buy Baby, Cost Plus World Market and Harmon Face Values.
Brooklyn Really Is Getting a Saks Off Fifth as Hudson’s Bay Signs Sunset Park Deal (Commercial Observer)
The folks at Uniqlo promised that they would have replenishments of their popular Lemaire collaboration in stores for the Holiday season, and yesterday, they made good as some key knitwear pieces from the line appeared at the chain's Fifth Avenue flagship (as pictured above) and on Uniqlo.com. Sadly, even a fast fashion giant couldn't turn around a reorder of the entire collection on such short notice, but the fast selling sweaters were able to be produced in time. Five women's styles, the Cashmere Blended Cropped Sweater, the Cashmere Blended Square Sweater, the Flare V-Neck Sweater the Milano Rib Long Sleeved jacket and the Milano Rib Skirt, and two for men, the Merino Blended Mock Neck Sweater and the Knit Jacket are all available again in multiple colors for however long they last. While the collection was an unqualified success, there are a few items still hanging around in abundance from the initial delivery including Both men's and women's outerwear and the heavy wool and cashmere trousers for men which with no help from the unusually warm season, seemed to have missed their connections with eager customers. They are on sale, now for anyone holding out hope that freezing Winter temperatures are just around the corner, or maybe the next corner. That should be enough to hold Lemaire fans over for the next few months before a new season of the likely to be ongoing collaboration arrives in Uniqlo stores for the Spring.
Remember that Liberty of London collaboration with Target a few years ago? When the pop-up store they opened near Bryant Park had lines wrapped around the block and it sold out so fast that they had to close two days early?
Well, get ready to revisit that moment as the iconic British textile company is set to have another go at fast fashion when a new team-up arrives in Uniqlo stores worldwide this Spring. The collaboration as part of Uniqlo's LifeWear program is meant to combine classic British style with the chain's focus on technical innovation including collections for women, men and children. This will give Uniqlo a full lineup of designer collaborations with at least one more installment of the sellout Uniqlo and Lemaire line, ongoing programs with Inès de la Fressange and Michael Bastian and possibly some more from the well-received Carine Roitfeld collection. We don't yet have an official launch date for Liberty of London for Uniqlo, but you will know it has arrives when you see the stores festooned with floral prints and the purple loge pictured above.
In this week's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Molly Young discovers the Lands' End pop-up store on Fifth Avenue, but what strikes The Shophound is not so much her assessment of the store, but her childhood take on the mail.
"There were days as a kid when I was so bored, I organized my entire day around the mail delivery"
As a a kid, in the pre-digital era, the mail delivery could be a magical moment. There are so many potential delights in the mailbox like magazines or catalogs and always knowing that none of the bills are for you.
This is all get to the point that the boring old Lands' End catalog that she would discover pushed through the mail slot has come to life in Midtown Manhattan where she notes that the updated, elevated merchandise seems to co-exist among the same bland goods seem that have been populating the catalog for 30. Maturity seems to have given her a new appreciation for practical but potentially dowdy Land's End standards like full length a down coat's versatile zippers and hood, "The younger me would have been blind to these components, but time has a way of turning defects into assets. Now I just want to be weatherproof," she writes. The vanity sizing doesn't hurt either.
Ultimately, our shopper isn't all that excited by the store or its gimmicks like a "selfie station", which reveals itself as a trope to capture customer information, but manages to walk away with a very Lands' End-y purchase, new gloves. The store's general modestly seems counterintuitively refreshing among the forced Holiday merriment that descends upon retailers the end of the year. "If the store were a party, it would be the kind where the guests are gone and the dishes washed by 11 p.m.," and sometime that's just enough.
Critical Shopper: Lands’ End Updates Its Image By Molly Young (NYTimes)
Lands' End Holiday Pop-Up Shop 650 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street, Midtown
Pop-Up Proliferation: Nautica & Lands' End Pop-Ups Push Upscale
New York has had a few Muji stores for quite some time now, but the new 12,000 square foot, two-level flagship (pictured above) opening today on Fifth Avenue across the street from the New York Public Library is promising new departments and products that will bring the store much closer to the full Muji experience that customers in its Japanese stores have come to know.
For starters, it will have the biggest assortment of clothing yet seen in any of Muji's U.S. stores, including a full selection of children's clothes for ages 2 to 10. Customers will now be able to create a customized scent at the Aroma Bar, and, for the first time, personalize their purchases with monograms or a selection of other designs at the embroidery machine station. Other additions include a Cafe Grumpy coffee bar, plants sold in partnership with Green Fingers New York, and a book section focusing on Japanese lifestyle topics. Most notably, for a store so intensely focused on Japan and its day-to-day culture, the retailer is introducing Found Muji, a section devoted to merchandise curated by its creative staff from around the world, currently featuring France's Basque region (pictured below).
Muji almost always has a few opening day surprised up its sleeve, so today will definitely be a great day to check out the new store, but it sounds like we are starting to see more of full breadth of the products that has made the chain so popular back home in Japan.
MUJI 475 Fifth Avenue between 40th & 41st Street, Midtown
Muji Unveils Experiential Concept in Fifth Avenue New York Store (WWD)
See some more images of the new store after the jump
Honestly, we didn't plan to be spending so much time on Saks today, but news is news and the New York Post is reporting that Saks Off 5th, the chain's off-price division, has signed a lease to take over the former Daffy's space at 135 East 57th street between Park and Lexington Avenues. This is significant not only because it will be Saks' second Off 5th store in Manhattan, once considered off limits to the luxury department store's discount division, but because it comes perilously close to the midtown luxury shopping district on Fifth and Madison Avenues. In fact, the new store will only be about a 20 minute walk from the Saks Fifth Avenue flagship at 49th and Fifth and a mere two blocks from Bloomingdale's. Saks has already announced its first Off 5th Manhattan store opening next year at 1 Liberty Place in the Financial District.
While the Post has no confirmation on the specific size of the lease, it reports that the former Daffy's store was estimated at 60,000 square feet and the store is expected to open sometime next Spring. The three level space includes some street level selling area with most floor space on two concourse levels below. Landlord Charles S. Cohen reportedly held out for three years to sign a tenant that met his requirements which on the one hand demonstrates a tenacious resolve, but on the other, represents a growing problem in Manhattan and other cities where prominent, high priced retail spaces sit empty for months and years on end while landlords wait for deep pockets tenants which may never materialize, creating rent blighted stretches of storefronts in otherwise upscale and thriving neighborhoods.
Anyway, that's all the Saks news we have today. . . until something else pops up.
In case you haven't heard, there's this Balmain collaboration with H&M that arrives in stores today.
Well, honestly, if you aren't reading this before lunchtime, it has probably mostly departed H&M stores by now.
In a season that has been marked by some pretty impressive collaborations from the likes of Lemaire, Carine Roitfeld and Adam Lippes to name a few, this one is the grand finale.
From what we have been able to gather, the glitzy/sexy designer collaborations like Versace and Roberto Cavalli have been the fastest sellers for H&M, and Balmain is right in that wheelhouse, so the reasonable expectation is pandemonium when the doors open today. Expectations are high all around which is probably why this collection has some of the chain's strictest return rules. Reports from last nights VIP shopping session tell us that the privileged few ransacked the collections, so we can only imagine what the masses who have been waiting outside the stores since yesterday will do.
This particular collection seems like it has been promoted more heavily than any previous H&M collaborations, so, honestly, we are a little tired of seeing pictures of it by now, but if you are an eager Balmain fan who has been anticipating this for months, we hope you find all the pieces you wanted to get.