COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

ERDEM Is H&M's Big Collaboration This Fall

It's about that time of year when we discover the identity of the designer that H&M has anointed for a pre-Holiday Season publicity blitz, and this time it's Turkish-British-Canadian phenom Erdem Moralioglu (pictured below) whose label ERDEM will get the spotlight with a collaboration collection that will include his first designs for men. As an added bonus, Australian director Baz Luhrmann will be collaborating on the advertising and promotional materials including the evocative announcement video above.
Rather than chasing Instagram glitz or avant garde cachet as it has with the collaboration other years, H&M has chosen to go in a more elegant direction this November. Moralioglu has built a faithful customer base with classical silhouettes married to intricately printed and textured fabrics, often including exuberant floral prints that have succeeded in attracting a broad range of fans with a healthy dose of celebrity red-carpet support. He has quietly made his London-based company a burgeoning powerhouse that claims prized space in stores ranging from mainstream luxury players like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus to highly curated outlets like Dover Street Market. His brand is well positioned to maximize the exposure that the H&M collaboration can bring, though it will be interesting to see how he translates his label's hyper feminine fashion image to menswear. Of what we can expect from the collaboration, Erdem says, “The collection reinterprets some of the codes that have defined my work over the past decade. It’s also inspired by much of my youth, from the English films, 90s TV shows and music videos I grew up watching to memories of the style that defined members of my family. Taking from these inspirations, I imagined a group of characters and friends off to the English countryside for the weekend. There’s a real play in the collection between something decidedly dressed-up and equally effortless”. He also cites the cult-favorite Pet Shop Boys video for the song "Being Boring" directed  by Bruce Weber as an inspiration. We have a few months before the first looks for the collection are revealed, but this one is shaping up to be an intriguing team-up for H&M.

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L to R: H&M creative advisor Ann-Sofie Johansson, Erdem Moralioglu, Baz Luhrmann. Photo courtesy of H&M

COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

J.W. Anderson Is Uniqlo's Next Designer Collaboration

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Image Courtesy of UNIQLO

If Japan's largest retailer seems to be at a bit of an impasse on how to expand it's U.S. business, it remains committed to its strategy of bridging the exclusive designer world with the mass market. The announcement of this fall's designer collaboration at Uniqlo should please fashion fans, as J.W.Anderson's Jonathan Anderson (pictured at right) will be creating a special capsule collection for men and women exclusively for the chain. As designer for both his own label as well as the Spanish luxury leather goods label Loewe, Anderson has caught the attention of fashion insiders even if his public profile has yet to rise to superstar status. That doesn't matter as much to the chain, as it's collaboration with lesser known label Lemaire sold out anyway and led to an ongoing collection with Christophe Lemaire for the Uniqlo U label.
“When I think of Uniqlo, I think of things that are perfectly made, that people have spent a lot of time considering; it’s a difficult job, and I think Uniqlo does it very well,” said Anderson in a statement regarding the upcoming collection. “Working with Uniqlo is probably the most incredible template of democracy in fashion, and it’s nice that my design can be accessible to anyone, on all different levels.”
As of yet, we don't yet know if the exclusive line will extend beyond the fall season (Lemaire's initial collaboration spanned two seasons), but for now we can look forward to a potentially intriguing line from a designer whose aesthetic can range from classic to avant-garde, often in the same collection.

 


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Christophe Lemaire's Next UNIQLO U Collection Arrives In Less Than 2 Weeks

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Image: Uniqlo.com

Collaboration watchers have another date to mark on their shopping calendars. The second season of the Uniqlo U capsule collection from its dedicated Paris studio led by designer Christophe Lemaire will be available at Uniqlo.com after 9 PM on February 15th, arriving in selected stores the next day. As usual, most U.S. Uniqlo stores will have a limited selection, but the exceptions include the North Michigan Avenue location as well as the three Manhattan flagships on Fifth Avenue, 34th Street and in SoHo, which will all carry the complete collection for men and women. For Spring, fans can look for the same clean-lined luxury basics aesthetic that has marked all of Lemaire's work with the chain. The collection is now meant to represent Uniqlo's most innovative materials and manufacturing techniques, so expect more cutting edge textiles along with silhouettes that incorporate current runway trends like wider legged pants and boxy, oversized knits. Women's swimwear will be a new addition, arriving later this season, along with a greater shoe offering and more workwear-inspired denim pieces including jeans and outerwear. Have a look at the full collection Here, and see a few more lookbook shots in the gallery after the jump.

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Image: Uniqlo.com

(Uniqlo)

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Christophe Lemaire's Next UNIQLO U Collection Arrives In Less Than 2 Weeks" »


GOING SOON:

American Apparel Leads The Latest List Of Retail Implosions

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We have been hearing about American Apparel's woes for so long that it is almost a surprise that it took the once innovative chain this long to finally shut down, which it is the process of doing right now.
We have certainly spent plenty of time going on about American Apparel various antics over the years, most recent it has been about the removal of its controversial founder and former CEO Dov Charney whose removal in 2014 shined a light on the company's worst attributes behind the scenes including not only his highly questionable work behavior and the environment it created, but, more importantly, his mismanagement of the retail chain which had grown larger than he was able successfully steward. It was an ugly fight and —long and complicated story short— he lost. New, more experienced management arrived, but the damage was more than they were able to repair, and after AA's most recent bankruptcy last year, the company's intellectual property and some of its equipment was sold for a mere $88 million to the Canadian company Gildan Activewear which was not interested in continuing to operate the chain of retail stores that in more optimistic days threatened to overrun New York City. While many American Apparel stores have already been closed through ongoing reorganization efforts, the rest will be gone in a few months. More upsettingly, Charney's pride and joy, his Los Angeles factory at which much of the company's products were made has been shut down. Workers spent Monday this week in lines at the facility to pick up their final paychecks. Monday's layoffs came to about 2,400 workers.  No severance and likely more layoffs to come.
American Apparel joins a group of retailers who have seen a sad New Year including the final shutdown of the once dominant women's apparel chain The Limited and the announcement of major store closures from iconic American chains Sears and Macy's. Each of these companies have long been suffering from their own systemic problems, so it may be premature to announce a crisis for the retail industry in general, but the loss of 100 Macy's units alone is going to be a jolt to retail landlords who now have to either redevelop the spaces or attract a shrinking pool of large stores to try and fill all those square feet —not to mention finding new tenants for the newly or soon-to-be empty Limited and American Apparel spaces that dot shopping areas across the country.

(WWD)


OVERSEAS IMPORTS:

UK Fast Fashion Brand Boohoo Set For Lower Fifth Avenue Debut

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Yet another fast-fashion chain from a faraway land is set to make its New York debut. UK based internet retailer Boohoo.com, has reportedly signed a lease for a 2,000 square foot store at 3 West 13th Street just off Fifth Avenue and a block away from Union Square. The 10-year-old site has become one of the fastest growing online retailers worldwide. Aimed at 16 to 24 year-old customers, it looks to be poised to take on chains like Forever 21 with trendy but wallet-friendly looks for high school and college-aged shoppers. Though not an enormous store, it is being designed to be "experiential" space that will also serve as an event space and presumably encourage shoppers to shop on their phones and mobile devices while they are there.

(NYPost)


CHAIN GANG:

Pottery Barn To Make A Big Bow In Flatiron

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Once a pervasive presence in Manhattan, the Pottery Barn chain has lost some prominent stores over the years in the city, and is now down to two locations in the city while its sibling chains, Williams-Sonoma and West Elm have held their own or grown stronger. That's about to change, as the company has inked a deal to open a major store at 11 West 19th Street in the heart of the Flatiron District as reported by multiple sources. The 20,000 square foot space is currently occupied by Lillian August (pictured above) which has been looking to get out of its lease there, and will surrender the space to make way for the deal. Like the West Elm in Chelsea that sits between Sixth and Seventh Avenues and opens out to both 17th and 18th streets, the new Pottery Barn will have entrances on both 19th and 20th streets. While missing the desirable Fifth Avenue frontage of other chains in the neighborhood, the new store will be right across the street from Muji as well as bakery hotspot Dough. It is in the middle of a home furnishings enclave popular with downtowners, and should still be a potent destination for shoppers. It's still too early to expect a firm opening date, but sometime next year should be a safe bet. In the meantime, shoppers can now check out West Elm's new luxury "Collection" store that has recently opened at 123 West 17th Street right next to its main label mothership.


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

GAP x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers Collections Are Now In Stores

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Image: GAP.com

For the fifth year running and celebrating the program's 10th season GAP and GQ have collaborated on capsule collections from the magazine's picks for the Best New Menswear Designers in America. This time, as was announced earlier this year, it's an all-star team featuring returning MVPs Steven Alan, Saturday's NYC, John Elliott and, a three time winner, Michael Bastian (all pictured above). The collections appeared in store today and on Gap.com and, as in past seasons, offer some classic, signature looks from each designer including double layered tees, stretchy ripped jeans and a well-priced moto jacket from Elliott, tailored shirts, khakis and slim tweed coat from Alan, graphic sportswear from Saturdays and typically eclectic separates from Bastian. You'll find them in Manhattan's more prominent Gap locations including Fifth Avenue in both Midtown and the Flatiron District, The Upper West Side, Greenwich Village, Herald and Times Squares to name a few. As always, eager shoppers should act fast. Elliott's collection sold out almost to the piece within a day in 2014, and though Gap's merchandisers have ordered accordingly, popular pieces are already running low, like his double layered tees. Another caveat is that while prices have generally been somewhat higher than regular Gap fare, this season, they are a bit higher than they have been, but still substantially less expensive than any of these designers' regular lines. Online shopping is also a great option but note that the lines are not included in Gap.com's myriad price promotions, at least not initially, so sometimes it pays to wait, but if you have been waiting months for these collections to hit, you should act now.

 


IN-STORE SCORE:

Macy's Will Debut A New Apple Store Next Month

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With new iPhones and Apple Watches on the way comes the news that Macy's will open Apple's first full in-store shop at its Herald Square flagship next month. While 180 additional Macy's locations will be selling Apple Watches, this will be the tech behemoth's first in-store shop inside a U.S. Department store, and it will also carry iPhones, iPads MacBooks as well as other items and accessories for a more complete brand presentation. According to WWD, the shop will be set up on the main floor of the store's Broadway side which is devoted to makeup and accessories including in-store boutiques from Gucci, Louis Vuitton and Burberry. While Macy's Herald Square is known to have several leased in-store departments like Vuitton and Gucci, it is unclear at the moment whether the new shop will be operated by Apple or Macy's itself, but it could serve as a test for similar arrangements in other prominent flagship locations in the chain such as Chicago or San Francisco, or perhaps as a model to be adopted by other retailers as well. In recent months, Macy's has been struggling to right-size its sprawling fleet of stores cobbled together from several different department store chains as the result of a series of mergers over the past couple of decades. The luster from Apple's desirable product offerings may help the chain to attract new customers as it tightens up its retail footprint.

(WWD)


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Is Alber Elbaz Making A Comeback With Uniqlo?

Another rumor is making the rounds as the summer's dog days approach, and this time it's former Lanvin designer Alber Elbaz who is said to be in talks with Japanese chain Uniqlo for an unspecified collaboration.
If there is any designer among the slate of those currently benched that everyone wants to see back in action, it's Elbaz, but what, if anything, does he have in mind for Uniqlo? It wouldn't be the first time he has allied with a big chain, as he is a veteran of a Lanvin collaboration with H&M from a few years back. Both parties are predictably mum on the subject, and it may be a while before we hear any kind of official news about it due to the inevitable non-compete clauses and the fact that Elbaz has not completely settled his separation from Lanvin.The disposition of his equity stake in the company is yet to be determined. In the meantime, however we can just imagine how Elbaz could lend his unique sense of style to Uniqlo's famously utilitarian wares. It's not likely that we will see the mega-chain venturing into evening and cocktail dresses, but maybe we will see some cashmere sweaters with a little extra flair? Possibly there will be some tricked out denim separates to follow up the Lanvin/Acme collab of sessions past? Even some well designed t-shirts wouldn't be outside his wheelhouse, so the possibilities are promising. Stay tuned.

Is Alber Elbaz Joining Uniqlo? (WWD)


ZONING DRAMA:

Restoration Hardware's Upcoming Meatpacking District Flagship Is Currently Illegal.

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Rendering of 9-19 Ninth Avenue via DNAinfo

Keith McNally may be enjoying some schadenfreude right about now.
It turns out that the Restoration Hardware store that ejected McNally's popular restaurant Pastis from its very successful Ninth Avenue home is running into some legal problems of its own. We aren't talking about the initial contractor whose principals are awaiting trial regarding the death of a 22-year old worker in the construction site's excavation pit last year. The current problem that the store faces is that it is nearly six times the size of any retail store that the site is zoned for, and the Department of Buildings has not yet issued an exemption.
According to the D.O.B., the maximum size of a retail store for the building being gut renovated and expanded at 9-19th Ninth Avenue is 10,000 square-feet. The store planned for the site is 58,659-square-feet, which is somewhat larger to say the least. DNAinfo reports that the developers of the site were informed in early March of this year that their permits would be revoked for failure to comply with city code. In addition, the nature of the business was misrepresented as an "interior decorating establishment" which, oddly enough, would only be allowed to take up a mere 750 square-feet in such a structure according to current zoning laws. Construction has not been halted, because the developer immediately engaged the D.O.B. to resolve the dispute, but it has been over four months since the notification without resolution. If discussions fall through, the construction will be immediately halted not because the building is not up to code, but because its intended use is.
Since the talks are apparently continuing, its a good bet that the store will eventually open as planned, but possibly with some concessions that are yet to remade clear. It has been known for quite some time that the store intended for the site was meant to be extremely large, but it is not yet a done deal. At the moment, it's not out of the question that Restoration hardware may either have to settle for a smaller store sharing the building with other retailers or pull out entirely and find a suitable site to build the flagship it had intended.

Restoration Hardware Flagship Is Too Big for Meatpacking District: City (DNAinfo)