Yes, the leaves on the trees are just in the midst of changing, but as The Shophound Strolled past the Gap store on lower Fifth Avenue yesterday, it appears that the chain has decided to skip Autumn and Thanksgiving and head straight for Christmas. The early onset of Holiday shopping promotion has been with us for quite some time now, and there aren't strict rules, exactly, but, generally, shoppers shouldn't be seeing holiday decorations or windows until about a week or so before Thanksgiving —two at the earliest. In fact, pushing Holiday shopping before that tends to seem annoying, not to mention tasteless, and shoppers generally hate it.
Not so at the Gap, however. The giant illuminated snowflakes are now securely installed in the store's windows for at least the next two months (pictured above). The mannequins are swathed in festive knitted hats, sweaters and scarves (it was 71˚ Fahrenheit outside yesterday) and the message on the window, in case the point was not yet clear, reads: "Warmest Wishes. Give Joy, Give Love." Inside, the store's walls are festooned with more snowflakes and gift boxes with messages like "Give Gifts, Give Love" posted around the store (pictured below).
While we appreciate the extra work it takes to get a store, let alone an entire chain, ready for Holiday shopping, we also know that it is possible to get things started too early. It makes us appreciate all the more stores like Nordstrom, which has staunchly followed a holiday decorating rule of putting up Holiday decorations on the day after Thanksgiving and taking them down immediately after Christmas. Perhaps when they finally arrive in Manhattan, their example will offer some stronger influence to stores that just can't help themselves from jumping the gun.
Adam Lippes x Target, Uniqlo And Lemaire & Gap x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers In America All Hit Stores This Week
In a particularly bountiful season for designer collaborations, this is a big week for a good portion of this fall's most anticipated collections. Adam Lippes for Target, Gap x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America 2015 (pictured above) and Uniqlo and Lemaire all arrive on store racks this week. Let's review them below so you can prepare yourselves for a potential stampede to the mall.
First up is Adam Lippes's plaid infused line for Target which dropped yesterday morning in stores and online. Oddly, it has not caused the kind of excitement that some of the popular chain's other collabs have. Perhaps it is because it is only a component of Target's larger tartan-promotion for the fall season, or maybe it is just because the chain hasn't really invested in the same level of advertising for it as they have for other past collaborations —seen any TV ads?. Regardless, it looks great in photos and a few pieces appear to have already sold out online. The collection includes both men's and women's apparel including plus sizes as well as accessories and items for the home and even pets. It has a luxe, casual feeling, and it looks like a sleeper, so don't put off an in-store visit.
Over the past four years, Gap x GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America has become one of the most highly anticipated collaborations of the year thanks to some stylish, fast-shopping men who cleared the racks of last year's crop in record time. It officially drops tomorrow, but if you text "GQ" to 36888 to sign up, then you can shop online starting right now. You will want the head start. This year's group of official up-and-comers- includes NSF, The Hill-Side, David Hart and STAMPD, each one filling its own separate niche in the range of men's fashion. Some potential fast sellers (pictured above) include NSF's washed leather hoodie with sherpa lining for $450, STAMPD's black leather backpack with a white stripe for $195, master tailor David Hast's tweed sport coat and trousers for $150 and $98 respectively, and the Hill-Side's quilted camo-print bomber for $130. There are tons of great items to be had from each designer, and online shopping is recommended for the best selection. We don't have an official list of NYC stores, but typically, the Gap locations with the best selections are the Fifth Avenue flagship, which usually devotes the little side-store to the collaboration, the Flatiron location on lower Fifth Avenue, The Herald Square and Times Square stores and the Upper West Side location near Lincoln Square. As always, shop early for this one.
Finally, Uniqlo and Lemaire (above) will be released online and in stores this Friday October 2nd. This luxurious looking collaboration for men and women has been generating an enormous amount of online anticipation, particularly for those who have been waiting for a sophisticated follow up to the chain's much loved +J collection. The knitwear pieces for men and women look especially enticing, but the stylish basics throughout the line all look like winners. While a fraction of the collection will be available in every Uniqlo store, only a very select group of stores worldwide will have the complete line in stock including the Fifth Avenue Flagship and West 34th Street locations exclusively in the entire United States. Chicago shoppers will also have the complete line at their upcoming store on Michigan Avenue, but not until it opens later this month. As far as we know, those stores will have regular hours on Friday, but look for the lines outside the doors that we used to see on the +J launch days of years past when the SoHo Uniqlo was the only one in America.
Of course, there are still big collaborations coming from Carine Roitfeld and Uniqlo and, probably the 800 pound gorilla of the season, H&M x Balmain coming in late October and mid-November, so shoppers may want to pace themselves, but the season is getting off to a strong start right now. Plan carefully.
The question of whether any one store would be big enough to take over the Toys 'R' Us flagship in Times Square has been answered with a "No," as Gap Inc. made a deal last week to take over only half of the space for two flagship sized stores. The Observer reports that both the Gap and Old Navy chains will build flagships inside the space after Toys 'R' Us vacates it next year, and the arrangement will include building a third floor atop the structure.
Gap will take 6,000 square feet on the ground level with 25,000 below for a mostly underground store. Old Navy, the division of Gap Inc. which is really driving profits at the moment, will have the more visible part of the complex with the other 6,000 square feet on the main floor as well as the entire 17,500 square feet on the second floor plus another 17,000 square feet on the third floor yet to be built. This marks Old Navy's Times Square debut. It has a store on the busy 34th Street corridor, but just closed its high-profile SoHo store which is being turned into a Zara flagship. Presumably, this means that Gap will eventually close its large Times Square store at 42nd Street and Broadway, but considering how long it will take to build another floor on top of its future home, the move will probably still be at least a year off or more. More details likely to come, so stay tuned.
Gap and Old Navy Find Side-by-Side Homes in Times Square (Commercial Observer)
It's that time of year again, when we can start anticipating the capsule collections from GQ's Best New Menswear Designers that will appear sometime this fall at selected Gap locations. 2015's chosen four are David Hart (pictured above), Stampd by Chris Stamp, NSF by Nick Freidberg and Jamie Haller and The Hill-Side by Sandy and Emil Corsillo. GQ has hit all the bases with the cali-casual NSF and Stampd that will coordinate nicely with last year's breakout John Elliott & Co. The Hill-Side's Corsillo Brothers also run Hickoree's, that seminal heritage-artisanal-handcrafted shopping destination in Williamsburg that helped to spearhead the heritage menswear wave that will either delight or bore you, and Hart is a classicist in the mold of BNMDA alumni designers like Michael Bastian, Todd Snyder and Brooklyn Tailors who emerged as one to watch during last month's shows with not only his own line but his smartly styled relaunch of Hickey Freeman as it prepares for yet another relaunch and repositioning.
Hopefully, the group will turn out another set of winning capsule collections for the Gap. Last year's selections from Elliott and En Noir sold out nearly immediately, so when these collaborations hit, they hit pretty big. Stay tuned for updates and previews as they drop in advance of the collections release this fall.
GQ's Best New Menswear Designers in America (Official Page at GQ.com)
Yes, January's reign of terror on floundering retail ventures has not quite finished.
The Gap's contemporary women's web retailer Pimerlime is being shuttered along with its sole retail store in SoHo. Launched in 2006 as a footwear site for men and women meant to compete with Zappos, Piperlime transitioned to a women's contemporary focus after a few years, but never gained enough traction to expand beyond a the single retail door at 121 Wooster street in SoHo that is reported to be closing by the end of February. The website will cease operations by the end of March. Incoming Gap CEO Art Peck is said to be planning more sweeping changes, but so fat, this seems to be is most drastic move, and he isn't supposed to officially start until next month. Still, the division has yet to cross the $100 million threshold in sales, and, to an incoming boss, it must have seemed redundant next to the more successful, upper contemporary chain Intermix, which is now owned by Gap.
So, you can probably look for some good store closing deals at the SoHo Piperlime, though one suspects that most of the store's Spring deliveries have been cancelled at this point. What we can look for are more changes at Gap's various divisions. Banana Republic is just starting to see the influence of its new creative director, Marissa Webb, but the struggling flagship Gap chain is still due for a fix, after a 5% drop in sales over the Holiday season, so expect some dramatic news there soon.
This year's crop of up-and-coming menswear designers as chosen by GQ did very nicely with their annual collaborations at the Gap this Fall. Some of the lines nearly sold out on the first day, so to give fans just a little bit more, they are dropping a six-piece capsule collection on December 15th, just in time for the Holidays. Brooklyn Tailors will offer a smart, coordinated shirt and tie combination. M.Nii has a cozy fleece-lined zip hoodie. John Elliott + Co. has made a gray, wool shirtjacket, and En Noir has made a sleek leather backpack and toiletry bag. See a slideshow preview of the items HERE, and look for them at select Gap stores and online on the 15th.
The Shophound has to admit that this one snuck up on us.
Usually, we are hyper aware of when the Gap's annual collaboration lines with GQ's Best New Menswear Designers will appear in stores, but we were preoccupied, and while we were walking down Broadway this afternoon we spied a display in the window of the Gap men's store at 8th Street and Broadway featuring the collections from M.Nii, Brooklyn Tailors, En Noir and John Elliott + Co (pictured above). Happily, a salesperson reassured us that we are not all that out of it. The goods arrived in stores today, but, we were told that some items had already sold out. In fact, the John Elliott sweats were particularly hard hit by eager shoppers. What we did see looked great. it will be tough to see if Brooklyn Tailors was able to replicate their meticulous fit at Gap prices, but there was a great red field jacket and some nicely detailed navy chinos as well. M.Nii's tees and ribbon-trimmed khakis had the right degree of surfer cool, and we had to go online to see exactly what was available from Elliott's luxury sweats. The standout here, however, was En Noir's capsule, much of which was also sold out. There were still a few pieces left of the whole project's standout piece: The sleek hooded leather jacket for $400. It's a pretty whopping price for the Gap, but considering En Noir's usual four figure prices, it seems like a steal. It's not as supple as expensive Napa leather, but for $400, it's pretty soft and makes for an irresistible, streetwise hoodie (pictured below). The engineered biker jeans looked great too, along with a blacked out denim, leather and sweatshirt material jacket. The whole En Noir style is pretty diametrically opposed to Gap's sunny basics, but they managed to make the collaboration work. We haven't been to any of the other stores that typically carry the lines but there may be more at some of the other locations like Midtown and Lower Fifth Avenue or Herald Square. There's always online shopping as well, but they seem to be selling out as well, so act fast. The Shophound might not have been on top of things this week, but the anxious collaboration shoppers clearly were. See the full lookbook HERE
GQ's Best New Menswear Designers x GAP available at Gap Stores at Elmhurst Queens Center, 8th & Broadway, 17th & Fifth, 34th & Broadway, 48th & Sixth, 54th & Fifth, 59th & Lexington, 85th & Third, 42nd & Broadway, 24nd & Third and Lincoln Square
This Year's Crop: GQ Announces This Year's Best New Menswear Designers With Gap Capsule Collections In The Works
In another story of a designer doing double duty, Gap Inc. announced today that contemporary designer Marissa Webb (pictured left) would be taking over as Creative Director and Executive Vice President of Design for Banana Republic later this month. Webb is best known for her own eponymous sportswear collection which she launched in 2012 after a long stint at J.Crew. The designer will be responsible for all product categories at Banana Republic including Women’s, Men’s, and Accessories, but will not have to abandon her own label to do so. In fact, parent company Gap Inc. will be investing in the Marissa Webb label as well as advising the designer in developing her own brand. Launched at Barneys, the designer sells to about 30 stores around the world including the Gap-owned Intermix. Webb takes over creative responsibilities from Simon Kneen, who left Banana Republic last October. Her first collections for the chain should be appearing in stores for Summer 2015.
THIS YEAR'S CROP:
GQ Announces This Year's Best New Menswear Designers With Gap Capsule Collections In The Works
If it's late March, then it's time for the editors of GQ to survey the menswear landscape and find the front runners among the new labels aspiring to take up space in the wardrobes of stylish, American men. The four winners this year run the gamut from streetwear to surfwear to suiting, and include a couple of labels that are barely two years old. Each will each receive a $10,000 price and the opportunity to raise their profiles with capsule collections for the Gap to be launched in the Fall. Here are this year's winners, pictured above from left to right:
John Elliott & Co., which GQ calls "the Tom Ford of sweatpants" was launched in 2012 featuring deceptively modern takes on everyday staples like t-shirts, sweats, denim and biker jackets. The line is available through the namesake designer's website, at Atruim in NoHo and Brooklyn, as well as at a smattering of other influential retailers like Fred Segal and American Rag Cie in Los Angeles.
M.Nii, a Hawaiian custom trunk maker from the mid 20th Century was revived by designer John Moore in 2011 to produce modern surfwear with a dash of sophistication. "I’m not so into wearing a giant logo across my chest anymore.", the designer tells GQ.
Brooklyn Tailors comes direct from Williamsburg where Daniel Lewis makes sleek, modern suits with the kind of quality and meticulous custom detailing generally not commonly found in off-the-rack fashion. Find it at Barneys here as well as in several boutiques in Japan.
En Noir is another label started only in 2012, but designer Rob Garcia already counts Pusha T and A$AP Rocky among his fans. He has gotten swift acclaim for luxe streetwear in mostly black leathers and knits. Find it at Barneys and Patron Of The New in New York as well as boutiques like Union in L.A. and The Webster in Miami Beach.
In its eighth year, GQ's prize has proved to be an effective launching pad for designers like Alexander Wang, Michael Bastian, Mark McNairy and Todd Snyder to name just a few success stories. Start saving up now for the capsule collections that should show up at the Gap in mid-September.
This morning, four new capsule collections arrived in selected Gap stores and at Gap.com from the most important up-and-coming menswear designers as chosen by the wise folks at GQ. This year's roster is a little bit smaller than last year's, but also a bit more varied featuring updated Savile Row inspiration from Liam and Sammy Fayed of Bespoken, a purist's take on denim from Matt Baldwin of Baldwin, West Coast surf & skate style from Paige Mycoskie of Aviator Nation and accessory artisanry from New York's Ernest Alexander Sabine of Ernest Alexander. There has been very little in the way of previews, but the collections are now fully available —mostly only in New York City and Los Angeles. Only 30 stores in the entire chain are selling the project, and we are lucky to have the widest availability with 10 of them here in New York —plus Garden State Plaza in Paramus (see below for the full listing). The Los Angeles area has only five, and most other major cities have only a single location that will offer the collections. Everything will be available online for as long as they last.
This morning, we got our first look at the items online. There are lots of great pieces, but here are our must-haves from each designer:
Aviator Nation's Reversible Vest - $88
This collection is super beachy and skateboard-y with a heavy 1970s vibe which is a fun but very specific look. This vest reverses to the opposite color combination (blue body & brown corduroy yoke), and is the one piece that won't make you look like you got lost looking for a half-pipe.
Baldwin's Twill Cargo Pant - $78
We promised ourselves we wouldn't buy one more thing in camouflage print, but then we broke that promise so all bets are off. Camo is here to stay and theses are the pants to have, especially with those handy but streamlined cargo pockets, and a muted, alternative color combination. These won't last too long in stores. If you really have dosed on camo, they also come in blue slate —or just get them both. Pants from Baldwin's regular line retail for around $200.
Bespoken Suede Baseball Jacket - $348
It's the most expensive piece in the whole collection (and probably at the Gap in general), but gray suede is the thing right now and baseball jackets are coming back strong, so this thing is genetically engineered to be the best jacket ever. It's also the only piece of apparel in the Bespoken capsule that isn't described as having a "slim fit", but knowing this label, it is still probably cut very narrowly, so be warned. We are estimating that a similar type of jacket in Bespoken's main collection would retail for around $800 to $1000 at minimum.
Ernest Alexander Waxed Cotton Duffel and Tote - $118 and $88
Okay, we couldn't choose between these two pieces, so just get them both. We can't imagine them not being endlessly useful. Both are in a sturdy waxed cotton with a touch of nylon for extra durability with real leather trim and a signature orange lining. Similar styles in the main Ernest Alexander collection are $395 and $225
GAP x GQ's Best New Men's Designers in America available at Gap.com and Gap stores at:
Astor Place & Broadway, NoHo
23rd Street & Eighth Avenue, Chelsea
34th Street & Broadway, Herald Square
42nd Street & Broadway, Times Square
48th Street & Sixth Avenue, Midtown
54th Street & Fifth Avenue, Midtown
59th Street & Lexington Avenue, Upper East Side
67th Street & Broadway, Upper West Side
Queens Center, Elmhurst
Roosevelt Field Center, Garden City Long Island
Garden State Plaza, Paramus New Jersey