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.
Keith McNally may be enjoying some schadenfreude right about now.
Jewelry designer John Hardy has built a strong business over the past few decades with his intricately handmade silver and gold creations sold mainly through major department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, but now that his label is under new ownership, its distribution is being re-thought with his first freestanding U.S. boutiques opening this fall. One will be in Houston TX, but the other, more prominently, will be on Prince Street in SoHo, number 118 to be precise (pictured above) which happens to be just a couple of doors away from his main competitor in the luxury silver jewelry game, David Yurman. It's never a bad thing to place your store near your competition. It only makes it easier to fight for the customers you share, although placing it two doors away on the same block might be just bit obvious. The 1,200 square foot store (rendering pictured below), formerly a BareMinerals location, is set to open in November, just in time for Holiday Shopping, and customers will see a newly elevated offering featuring more gold and precious stones alongside Hardy's famous Bali-crafted silver chains and bracelets.
There's good news today for those of us Uniqlo fans who were disappointed that the recent Uniqlo and Lemaire collaboration did not become an ongoing collaboration for the Japanese based mega-chain. Designer Christophe Lemaire has joined Uniqlo on a permanent basis and will spearhead a new label called Uniqlo U (see the logo below) as the design director of a new Paris-based research and development center for the retailer. The new line will have a debut during Paris Couture week next month in advance of hitting all Uniqlo stores this fall. Lemaire (pictured above with his new team) will also continue with his own collection of luxury apparel, but his co-designer and romantic partner, Sara-Linh Tran who had joined him the previous collaboration with will not be joining him at Uniqlo, and will focus solely on the Lemaire label.
When the Uniqlo and Lemaire collection collection sold out almost instantly at its launch last year, it was a good bet that collaboration would be a worthy replacement for the +J collection which was created by the designer Jil Sander for the chain to great success, but instead, we were told that it would end after the second installment, remnants of which are still available in Uniqlo stores. Rather than parting ways, it turned out that the designer and the chain had bigger things in mind. The new label will be more wide ranging than the limited collaboration line (hopefully with a fuller size range at the high end) and will have its own dedicated design staff. Comparing Uniqlo U to +J, Lemaire calls his new venture ". . . a little more democratic." He tells Business of Fashion, " The biggest issue was to design things that are essential enough to be timeless, and understood by everyone. Elevated basics, I call them. Our ambition is to fill the gap between what’s fashion and what’s ‘normal.’ I know the word ‘normcore’ is overused, but there’s something about normality I find very interesting — how do you make it super normal but refined and cool and desirable?"
While it turned out that +J was something for Sander to do between stints at the label that bore her own name, Uniqlo U is structured to exist as an integral part of the chain's assortment regardless of the status of Lemaire's increasingly popular eponymous collection. Instead of being doled out to select Uniqlo flagship stores, Uniqlo U is expected to be available in all of Uniqlo's stores —1,774 of them at last count. There will be between 500,000 and 1 million of each unit produced which will hopefully ensure that the best pieces won't sell out immediately as well as create some economy of scale that will help costs from spiraling too high. We will be keeping an eye out for the first collection's unveiling next month, but will also be relieved to know that when it hits stores in the fall, it is expected to stay there for a while.
Christophe Lemaire Joins Uniqlo (Business of Fashion)
As was widely rumored a few months ago, hyper-popular grocery chain Trader Joe's has been confirmed by DNAinfo to be opening a new branch in 12,000 square feet on the ground floor and lower level of 670 Columbus Avenue on the corner of 93rd Street, a new retail space that has been waiting for quite some time to be filled. This will be TJ's second Upper West Side location after a branch at 72nd and Broadway that, like all the other locations in the city (and perhaps, the world?) is perpetually plagued with long lines of customers snaking throughout the store. Hopefully, this new branch will help to alleviate that overcrowding, but not importantly, it is only a few blocks from Shophound HQ which means that we will no longer have to go on the subway when it's time to replenish our stock of 19¢ bananas and frozen packages of ready-to-stir-fry vegetables. (insert delirious cheering here)
The new store is expected to be open early next year, and its main competition will be a Whole Foods at 97th and Columbus. If other neighborhoods in the city are feeling neglected, there's hope for them as the chain continues to look for suitable space in New York. Another location is reported to be opening in a former Food Emporium space in Kips Bay this Summer, and more rumors point toward a possible second East 14th Street store to be located between Avenues A and B.
So far, the Upper East Side has not been tapped, though it is likely to be high on the chain's list of neighborhoods for potential locations. For now we will just be counting down the days until our own neighborhood location opens its doors.
Stella McCartney's long rumored uptown store has been officially finalized as the designer signed a deal last week to sublease a multi-level townhouse space from art dealer Mallet at 929 Madison Avenue. The store between 73rd and 74th street will include 5,400 square feet from the basement through the third floor, making it technically just a bit bigger than McCartney's current SoHo store. While it is just north of the traditional prime stretch of Madison from 57th to 72nd Street, it is south of the Met Breuer, formerly the Whitney Museum, which has added a lot of heat to those few blocks where stylish shoe label Aquazzura and exclusive leather goods maker Monyat have just debuted new boutiques. It may be too early to ask for projected opening dates just yet, but the store will finally bring the popular designer to a street that many thought she had stayed off for too long.
UES Location for Stella McCartney Is Done Deal (Commercial Observer)
GQ Announces An All-Star Edition Of The Best New Menswear Designers In America
Every year around this time we look to see who GQ Magazine has anointed as its Best New Menswear Designers In America. For its 10th Anniversary Edition, the publication has given the current crop of burgeoning men's designers a little more time to ripen before the spotlight shines on them, and picked a group of alumni to celebrate the program's success. This year's returning honorees include Michael Bastian, who was among the first year's picks and returned again in 2011. He is back for an unprecedented third time in the program. Also among this year's all-star group are designer/retailer Steven Alan first picked in 2008, John Elliott who was last seen in the group in 2014 and Morgan Collett, Colin Tunstall and Josh Rosen of Saturdays NYC from the class of 2012.
The designers have all evolved in ways since the last time GQ first picked them out of the crowd. Bastian has built his own brand and established popular multi-season collaborations with Gant and Uniqlo. His latest project is launching his own less expensive secondary collection. Steven Alan has expanded his retail empire since 2008 as well as branched out into eyewear and home collections. The Saturdays NYC team have also expanded their retail footprint, and John Elliott has exploded his offerings from a cult tee and sweatshirt label to a fully fledged collection.
The designers will be featured in the upcoming issue of GQ and will debut their capsule collections for The Gap this September for as long as they last in stores which, historically, hasn't been for more than a hot minute or two.
About a year ago, Todd Snyder (pictured below) finally closed his popular City Gym Pop-Up store months after it's original expected expiration date with promises of a new, permanent store in the works. Then, last October, when the company was acquired by American Eagle, a New York flagship store was again teased, and now, finally we have confirmed reports that Todd Snyder's first U.S. flagship store will open at 23 East 26th Street (pictured above) across the street from Madison Square Park. The 5,700 square-foot store is expected to carry the full range of Snyder's designer collections including his main signature line, his ongoing Champion collaboration and, presumably, the white-label tailored clothing and furnishings collection recently launched at Nordstrom. Snyder already has four well received boutiques in Japan, but this will be his first permanent U.S. store.
The location is slightly unconventional for a designer boutique, which is still several blocks away from the stretch of apparel stores on Fifth Avenue below 23rd Street, but it's right in the center of Manhattan's tech industry center and also convenient to destinations like Eataly and Shake Shack. Look for an opening this October.
Todd Snyder to open first US store at Moinian’s 60 Madison (The Real Deal)
Bond Street may not get the quite hype of SoHo, The Meatpacking District or Bleecker Street, but it has quietly been a satisfying micro-neighborhood for shoppers looking for slightly less mainstream labels in NoHo. That tony 2-block stretch between Broadway and The Bowery is also home to some very flashy modern residential buildings, and one of the newest at 10 Bond Street will be home to the first U.S. store for Italian clothing label Boglioli. The 2-level store at the corner of Lafayette Street is slated to open this Spring according to its windows, a time frame that technically begins this weekend. Known for its softly constructed, lushly hued version of Milanese sprezzatura, the label has only a handful of shops worldwide, but is on an expansion kick that also includes a newly named creative director, Davide Marello, whose first collection will hit stores this fall. Boglioli will be joined in the building by New York City's first store for of U.S.-made yoga-wear chain Yogasmoga slated for later this Spring.
It hasn't been a particularly cold winter overall, but that isn't enough to discourage Canada Goose, the puffer jacket pros from the Great White North, from establishing a beachhead in SoHo in the space that another rugged outfitter, Patagonia, once called home. The 4,000 square foot space at 101 Wooster Street has been occupied intermittently by pop-ups and sample sales since its previous tenant moved to Greene Street, but the Canadian brand known for its pricey high-fill parkas should be secure there as it has become an increasingly popular label for both its technical qualities and it's ever more coveted street style appeal over the past few years. So far as we can tell, this will be Canada Goose's first freestanding U.S. retail store. Exactly what it will do during the sweltering New York City summers remains to be seen, but perhaps they will simply be one of those stores that does its business when is cold and lets its staff take vacation time during the off-season. No opening date has been disclosed, but sometime before this year's Holiday Season is a safe bet, if not earlier.
It's the time of year, when designer collaboration fiends start looking to the big red bullseye to find out what collection they will be clamoring to this spring. Today, that question has been answered as Target announced its upcoming 200-piece collection created with iconic Finnish design and textile house Marimekko. "We’ve had our eye on Marimekko for quite some time, and can’t wait for guests to have a chance to shop this limited-edition collection in just a few short weeks," says Target's senior vice president, product design and development, Julie Guggemos. Inspired by the nearly 24-hours of sunshine during the height of Finland's summer days, the collection includes beach and swimwear for women and girls, outdoor décor, furniture and entertaining items ranging in price from $7.99 for sunscreen to a $499.99 paddle board. Most pieces are promised to be under $50, however. Look for the frenzy to begin in only about six weeks when the collection hits stores and Target.com on April 17th.
Target Announces New Design Partnership with Marimekko: It’s Finnish, Target Style (Target Corporate)
See some more images from the collection after the jump