Victoria's Secret Will Put A Flagship Where Forever 21 Skipped Out

The rumors around 640 Fifth Avenue have been swirling for a while. At one point, it was firmly  believed that Niketown would move in after H&M vacated the home of its first U.S. store and its Trump Tower lease on East 57th Street ran out, but we discovered last January that trend driven teen budget chain Forever 21 was to be the next tenant.
Until a few weeks ago.
We aren't sure if it was never meant to be a permanent store but Forever 21 beat a swift retreat from pricey Fifth Avenue last month, leaving a major retail space up for grabs, until lingerie mega-chain Victoria's Secret stepped in to take over the 63,780 square foot store. They won't be hawking bras and panties an the corner of 51st and Fifth right away. The new store is not expected to open until November of 2016, which will give the company plenty of time to transform the space and presumably festoon a remodeled interior in its signature shades of pink.

Victoria’s Secret opening flagship at Vornado’s 640 Fifth (The Real Deal)


David Beckham's Underpants
—Now In Motion

We brought you the stills earlier this month, and now here's the video.
Yes, folks the day when David Beckham's new men's underwear line becomes available at H&M is almost upon us,  so pretty soon your TV will be inundated with commercials featuring the sports star in his undies. We know. It'll be tough, but we'll get through this together. We hear the ads are going to debut during that Super Bowl people can't stop talking about which is apparently this weekend if you keep track of that sort of thing.

You don't have to wait so many days to to see Beckham's commercial, however. He is in motion right here in the preview you can see above set to the strains of the Animals' "Don't Let Me Be Misunderstood" (that's the non-disco version of the song). Make of that what you will. Well, actually he's not really moving much. It's actually the camera that's in motion, but the point is you can watch this little video as many times as you want, and nobody has to know.
Once again, you're welcome, and enjoy your Monday.

David Beckham Bodywear for H&M launches on February 2nd at H&M stores worldwide
Captain Underpants: David Beckham Is Back In His Skivvies For H&M


David Beckham Is
Back In His Skivvies For H&M

Beckham2-1496x2000Click all images for a larger view in a new window

Hey kids, It sure is a slow news week, so who better than a true sports hero like David Beckham to come to the rescue with a preview of the men's underwear line that he will launch in 1,800 H&M stores worldwide on February 2nd. Naturally, all the important modeling will be done by Beckham himself, and why not? He certainly has the experience, and we haven't gotten a chance to check in on the state of his tattoos lately, right? The folks at H&M were kind enough to send us the full lookbook and price list this morning and, feeling generous, we thought we would share every picture with you dear Shophounders after the jump.
You're totally welcome.

The line runs from $12.95 for briefs to $29.95 for a henley shirt, long johns or pajama pants with all the expected trunks, tanks and boxer brief styles in between, so it's cheaper than Calvin Klein, but still more expensive than Uniqlo. We are expecting some big crazy public appearances next month for the launch, but for the time being, you'll have to make do these photos. This collaboration happens to be a long running project, so that probably means new pictures of Beckham in his underpants every season for the foreseeable future. We will do our very best to keep you updated on such developments as they unfold because, well... stars in underpants. These are the kinds of things that keep the internet running.

David Beckham Bodywear for H&M launches on February 2nd at H&M stores worldwide

More images after the jump

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David Beckham Is
Back In His Skivvies For H&M
" »


Outer/Innerwear Edition

VPL-CRITIC-A-popup Does a vest that "lumps over the knees like a sandwich bag full of wet hair" sound appealing? Well, no, but that seems to be one of the few things that Cintra Wilson, this week's Critical Shopper, doesn't like at the hothouse-like new VPL boutique in SoHo.

"I couldn’t figure out if it was overperforming underwear or underperforming outerwear," she exclaims, and it turns out to be something somewhere in between. Rehearsal clothes for the free-spending ballerina, or those who aspire to be one.

Despite the spanxlike leggings, it sounds like VPL's slinky offerings will not hold much appeal for those not already confident about how they look in their underpants. The petite Wilson, however, is inspired by thoughts of ballerina fairy godmothers. Visions of sugarplums, perhaps? After all, Nutcracker season is almost upon us.

Critical Shopper: At VPL, Wispy Clothes for Your Inner Ballerina By Cintra Wilson (NYT)
VPL 5 Mercer Street at Howard Street, SoHo

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

Adult Comparison Shopping Edition

ArticleLargeCritical Shopper Cintra Wilson returns home to Manhattan this week with a special Pre-Valentine's Day edition in today's Thursday Styles. Playing swanky lingerie dealers Agent Provacateur and Kiki de Montparnasse off each other would naturally provides endless opportunities to exercise her dry wit, comparing the haute erotica vibe at Kiki with the rockabilly pinup atmosphere at Agent, with both of them being a far cry from the homogenized soft-core flavor of Victoria's Secret. Her real accomplishment here is in pushing the boundaries of propriety in the Times, including a discussion of Ben Wa balls that is somewhat more descriptive than what one usually finds in the paper. If you are unfamiliar with the various uses of this item, we are certainly not going to walk you through them, although since you are obviously familiar with this internet thing, you can easily find out for yourself with a few keystrokes (hey, that's what it's really for, isin't it?).
The most surprising revelation here is that the staff at Agent Provocateur will, apparently happily model their wares for those too timid to try them on themselves.

I inquired about the price of a ladies’ tuxedo jacket, since I couldn’t find the tag, and learned that the jacket was not sold separately from its matching black satin teddy ($1,700).
“Would you still like to try it on?” one of the tattooed ladies asked.
“I’d rather see it on you, actually,” I replied.
She very sweetly and immediately obliged.
I inspected the peplum and the Balmain-esque shoulder pads. “It’s a very small size, isn’t it?”
“Well, I’m a 32D, so it fits great,” my helper said in response.

Somehow, we suspect that this may start to attract an unwanted sort of customer to the shop, but then that's probably something of an occupational hazard at the lingerie shop anyway.
Critical Shopper | Kiki de Montparnasse and Agent Provocateur: Dressing for Success on Valentine's Day by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Kiki de Montparnasse 79 Greene Street at Spring Street
Agent Provocateur 133 Mercer Street at Prince Street, both in SoHo

Relocations And Transitions

Retail Euthanasia
Makes Way For Panties

By now you may know that Eastern Mountain Sports and Lounge are being dislodged from their homes on Broadway in SoHo to make room for a giant Victoria's Secret Flagship moving from Prince Street and Broadway. EMS is reolcating a block or so downtown, but Lounge is closing its doors forever, so let's give them a moment.
OK, that's enough.
Frankly, a moment is more time than we have given them in the past few years, and if you are wondering why Lounge isn't relocating as well, take a look above at the jeans we snapped the other day as we checked out their closing sale. Yes, those studded and embroidered jeans would be just on the cutting edge if it were 1999, but now, in 2008, that style can basically be described as "contemporary douchebag". The problem is, Lounge never seemed to move on from that look, so it went from a fun, fresh store to a place where we wouldn't be caught dead. It looks like Victoria's Secret, of all chains, is actually performing a mercy killing.
Even though we were surprised to see stacks of jeans from fresher brands like Naked and Famous and Cassette at the store, they were overwhelmed by tired stacks of Energie and other random labels like those pictured.
Of course, now that the store is closing, everything is 50% to 75% off...or is it? Sure, the tickets are marked that way, but our friends at Racked discovered that just before the markdowns were taken, all the prices were jacked up, so the discount is meaningless, and in most cases is just around the same as full price. We thought that $400 was a little high for the original price of Cassette jeans.
By the way, we're pretty sure this practice is explicitly illegal, so good riddance to the shysters at Lounge, and don't be fooled by their "Sale".

Alex K's Panty Party

Alexk1As if the Oscars aren't enough, Alex Kuczynski made two whole appearances in this season's edition of The New York Times' T Magazine devoted to Women's Fashion.
First, the self proclaimed Beauty Junkie falls off the wagon to improve her skimpy eyelashes. Clearly her self-imposed abstinence from cosmetic procedures is officially over. In recounting her adventures with Revitalash, she begins by insulting the sales help at Zitomer, and then reports that the product works prodigiously,

My eyelashes grew. And grew. After eight weeks, the longest one reached Betsy the Cow-like proportions, measuring 16 millimeters. The longest was so long that when I pressed it flat on my lid, it reached all the way to my eyebrow. My lashes were so long that when I slept with an eye mask — hello, fellow insomniacs! — my lashes matted into a spidery matrix over my lids. I woke up staring out of a gazebo.

Naturally, panic ensues, and she chucks the product over fears that it may be unhealthy, as a competing brand is banned by the FDA. Knowing her track record, we're betting that it remains in her medicine cabinet.
Next she infiltrates a lingerie party thrown for the cast of Bravo's "Real Housewives of New York City,” spin off of the Networks similarly themed show about Orange County. All of these women sound incredibly unappealing, and we have to wonder what sort of self respecting New York woman would consent to participate in such a show, let alone refer to herself as a housewife? We expect this sort of thing from suburban Californians, but Manhattanites? Appalling!
Sadly, despite two golden opportunities, little of our Alex's trademark nuttiness made an appearance this week, which leads us to suspect that somehow she has gotten her meds properly calibrated. It looks like sanity's gain is our loss, for now anyway.
Jeepers Peepers! & Frill Seekers by Alex Kuczynski (T Magazine)

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping: Easy Yet Irresistible Target Edtion

Victoria's Secret has become so ingrained in our culture that it we hardly noticed that over the years, they have turned the risqué image of a sexy lady in her lacy underthings into utter banality, at least that's the thesis that Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson proposes in today's Thursday Styles. VS has become such a behemoth that, for some time now, it has been they, along with Sports Illustrated, who anoint the new Supermodels, not Vogue or the world's designers. They seem to be singlehandedly responsible for making thong underwear acceptable attire on network television, or at least basic cable. They would ordinarily seem to be too easy of a target for La Cintra in attack mode, if only they didn't seem so deserving of her jabs. Sometimes a sitting duck is just begging to be shot at.

Like a porn star with too many memoirs, Victoria’s secrets are pretty much overexposed at this point. “Ahh, whatever,” Victoria says. “Let me let you in on a little something, girls. You want sex? Hit the guy real hard with blunt sex objects.”
Voilà: Eros demythologized. All double entendres reduced to one big fat entendre for your retail convenience.

And she's off.
Of course, there's no commercial success without a willing public, but we can't help agreeing that they have taken what was once risqué and removed all the mystery. Of course, that sets them up for this:

Upstairs, the jailbait orgy is in full swing. “Pink” squeal the bottoms on an entire wing of sorority-style underpants and slumber-sportswear. Mamas, don’t let your babies go to the Royal Academy of Pink. After all, one of the primary goals of parenthood, to paraphrase Chris Rock, is to keep your daughter “off the pole.”

Here is a store tailor-made for La Cintra to go to town, and she dutifully obliges. After all, Valentine's Day needs a little acid to cut all that saccharine.
Critical Shopper: Victoria’s Secret - Chug-a-Lugging Aphrodisiacs by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Victoria's Secret (Official Site)

Employee Of The Week: Jennifer Duenas at Kiki De Montparnasse

Askshop061106_198bNew York Magazine seems to be going in an interesting direction with Ask A Shop Clerk these days. Last week it was all about beds with randy Ryan (the comments are where the action is on that one). This week, it's erotic lingerie with Jennifer Duenas at the luxe sex shop Kiki De Montparnasse in SoHo. We're kind of curious to see where they take this line of reporting.
Scores, maybe?
Jennifer, for her part, wants to make it clear that where she works is really more of a specialty lingerie store than a sex shop, and yet, our minds keep wandering to those toys,

Q-Is that a whip you’re holding?
A-It’s called the Tickler Two-way. I’m comfortable with every last thing we sell, but it’s not all about toys. We have lavish cashmere-silk tunics and leggings, skintight satin-and-jersey catsuits. We have this handcuff-print scarf. It’s like something Hermès would do. It’s … versatile.
Q-Who are your customers?
A-No one under 18. Not yet.
A-Yes. Our crotchless peekaboo panty sells best. And people love our dressing rooms, which comfortably fit two. You know what I mean? They also have dimmer switches, ideal for lone zaftig shoppers.

Yes, we do know what you mean. Now we know what to get our elderly friends for Christmas.
Thanks for painting those pictures, Jennifer. We just hope it doesn't make for too long of a wait on a busy Saturday afternoon. We actually found the help at "Kiki" to be refreshingly helpful and professional when we visited a few months back. Clearly her job is not for the faint of heart, and acknowledging that she test drives the merchandise does underscore her expertise in her field, though the portrait of her holding the Tickler Two-way may underscore authority a little more.

Kiki De Montparnasse (NSFW) 79 Greene Street, SoHo

Alex K Goes Shopping: Whips & Chains Edition

13kikixlWhat a week it has been for newly opened erotica emporium Kiki De Montparnasse! Not only did The Times Thurday Styles resident consumer Alex Kuczynski make her way there to file a report, but New York Magazine's Charlotte Druckman has made a handy graph chart comparing Kiki with the city's other upscale sex shops, the Upper East Side's Myla, and downtown stalwart, Babeland. We already visited two weeks ago, so we are forced into a bit of Cindy Adams style gloating, but just a little, as we want you to keep reading. It's been a big week for Alex Kuczynski too, what with the pre-publicity for her new book beginning. Earlier this week, we learned that she considered heself to be a "method journalist", so it was with trepidation that we approached her examination of an upscale sex store.
More after the jump

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