When humble, homey Bleecker Street was swiftly transformed into a white-hot fashion shopping destination in the early 2000s, A lot of people pointed their fingers at designer Marc Jacobs. He was blamed for being the primary interloper in the neighborhood which saw longstanding and beloved antique shops pushed off the street —and in many cases out of business— in favor of the shiny designer boutiques that flooded the formerly genteel destination in his wake. Eventually, Jacobs saw his neighborhood store count climb with a main women's shop, a men's shop, an accessories shop, a shop for his recently launched beauty line, a children's shop and, finally, a curated book shop. Often, these stores would switch places, but the designer seemed to prefer the concept of a cluster of smaller stores within the space of a couple of blocks as opposed to the more traditional, larger brand palace flagship that most of his colleagues seem to prefer.
Now it's 2016, however, and the designer has quietly trimmed his roster of retail shops down to three including the BookMarc book shop, the Little Marc children's shop (pictured below) and one single women's apparel and accessory collection shop which itself was once a combination of two side by side units, and has now been pared down to the single store space on the corner of Bleecker and West 11th Street (pictured above). It's not totally surprising that the designer's store count has shrunken. Last year he made the decision to streamline his labels, folding the popular Marc by Marc Jacobs contemporary line into the main Marc Jacobs brand which suggested that a few changes were in order as a result. A lovely retail location at the corner of Bank and West 4th Streets that had at times been a men's store and an accessory store was given over to the Canadian brand Want Les Essentials de la Vie for its flagship boutique. An always undersized space on Bleecker that had been an on-and-off men's store over the years was quietly relinquished shortly after that, but we just discovered that an erstwhile accessories location at the corner of Bleecker and Perry Streets that was converted to launch the beauty line has also recently closed (The beauty collection itself remains a going concern that has expanded from its exclusive launch through Sephora into major department stores.)
So what is the strategy here? Is it sign of doom for the reorganizing label, or, is it simply an indication that the designer is rethinking his retail plan, at least in New York. While his original Collection flagship on Mercer Street in SoHo is currently being revamped with a temporary location taking its place on Prince Street, Jacobs and, more prominently, his business partner Robert Duffy have been teasing an uptown flagship boutique for years, even going so far as to name specific locations where it would open without ever officially closing on a lease deal. Bleecker Street's glow has dimmed a bit over the past few seasons. Just a few years ago, it was rare to see a retail space sit empty on Bleecker street for very long, but as more recent leases turn over, shoppers are seeing more and more empty storefronts there waiting for someone to pay the skyrocketing rents that were once easy for the neighborhood to demand. Perhaps Jacobs has finally decided to focus his retail resources on higher profile locations as his business enters a more mature phase. Could the smaller shops be closing in favor of that long promised uptown flagship?
Marc Jacobs, Carven, Michael Bastian, Helmut Lang, Moschino, Ungaro, Alberta Ferretti —And That's Just On Wednesday Of A Big Sale Week
Sometimes, the Sample Sale season whips up like a cyclone with little notice, and this week is one of those moments. There are so many sample sales happening this week that we can barely list them all, but every venue seems to be booked, and some of them are expanding into extra spaces as well. Here are some super-standouts in a week of highlights:
A few sales have already started this week like Monday's 2-day NAEEM KHAN sale that ends today at 6 in the Garment District for anyone looking for some elegantly glittery eveningwear from this FLOTUS fave at a great price.
260SampleSale's home base on Fifth Avenue is being shared by NEST FRAGRANCES, LAURA GELLER and DEVA CURL giving shoppers a trifecta of cosmetics, hair care and home fragrances through Saturday the 5th.
Today, luxury bed and bath fans will be heading to Soiffer Haskin in West Midtown for the PRATESI sale. The legendary Italian brand is known to be pretty pricey even with the discounts, but it's an ecxcellent opportunity to invest in some sheets that will make you swear off Macy's White Sales forever.
Here is one of the biggest sale days of the season, if not the year. We suggest a getting a car and driver for anyone who wants to make the most of what's being offered. First off is a decades-old favorite, the AEFFE Showroom sale. the designers have shifted over the years, but the current headliners, MOSCHINO, ALBERTA FERRETTI and EMANUEL UNGARO make a pretty compelling draw along with the luxury manufacturer's other popular labels like Fuzzi, Philosophy by Lorenzo Serafini, Cedric Charlier and more.
Keeping on the European theme, CARVEN is returning for its second U.S. sample sale to be held in Western Chelsea. Look for three days of deep discounts on advanced contemporary style for men and women.
Hometown fave YIGAL AZROUËL will also be offering similar discounts in his Garment District showroom along with some exclusive items unavailable anywhere else.
Menswear cult favorite MICHAEL BASTIAN will be once again opening his Western Chelsea showroom through Sunday, and is promising his biggest Sample Sale ever featuring Head to toe looks for men as well as a small selection of his nascent women's collection.
HELMUT LANG is also returning to familiar terrain at Chelsea Market for what is likely to be just the first of a few sales this season, id past form still holds. This sale, running through next Tuesday, promises mostly womens's apparel with a limited selection of the men's collection available as well.
Arguably the biggest draw of the day, however, will be MARC JACOBS whose sale will be found through Sunday at 150 Greene Street. As in past seasons, Jacobs will be offering all of his product lines including the last bits of Marc by Marc for men and women and those special items generally found only at his own shops.
There's a bit of a breather today, but there is a chance for some 80% Off bargains to be found on iconic furniture designs at the KNOLL
Sample & Warehouse Sale in SoHo.
Things heat up again on Friday when the Staff International showroom in SoHo opens for three days through Sunday featuring DSQUARED2 and MAISON MARGIELA as the headliners, but often including other coveted labels as well. If that's not enough (and really why should it be?) PAUL SMITH will be taking over the spacious digs at 151 Wooster Street in SoHo for an unusually lengthy 10-day sale promising up to 75% off all of his product lines through Sunday the 13th.
That's just a partial list of all the sales happening this week. To try and keep all of those sales straight, keep your eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar for all the pertinent times and locations. Next week's sale lineup hasn't fully taken shape yet, but already, we are looking at Manolo Blahnik, Derek Lam, John Hardy, Phillip Lim and more to be announced.
Holiday shopping season is almost upon us, which is the perfect time for any number of companies to get their feet wet in New York's daunting retail scene with pop-up stores. There is possibly no better way to gauge customer interest and get some crucial brand awareness than to have a temporary store on one of the city's high-profile shopping streets. here's a few to look out for with plenty more to come.
The Tie Bar is making a return appearance in the West Village at 411 Bleecker Street with an elegant shop already open and filled with impossibly inexpensive furnishings (pictured above). While even mid-range designer ties can reliably cost more than $100, The Tie Bar's neckwear offerings start at about $19 and rarely hit north of $30. Socks, belts, suspenders and, yes, actual tie bars and clips are all similarly priced, in a setting that could easily double for a much more expensive shop. The former James Perse women's store has been transformed into a genial haberdashery that will be open through the Holidays until January leaving plenty of timer any guy to get himself properly turned out for any occasion.
This week, look for upscale athletic brand Spyder's pop-up store at 68 Greene Street in SoHo to open its doors. We aren't sure exactly how long this one will be with us, but they are bringing the U.S. Ski Team to their opening party, so expect it to be a must-visit destination for the city's serious winter sports men and women while it lasts.
On November 11th, that white elephant at 650 Fifth Avenue that used to be the Juicy Couture flagship store (pictured at right) will finally get a decidedly less glitzy occupant as Lands' End moves in for for an extended stay through the end of January. While the longtime mail-order favorite has a small fleet of retail stores as well as a diminishing count of in-store shops in former parent company Sears stores, it has never had a flagship-sized store on this scale in a market like New York. After having been spun off from its flailing parent, Lands' End has been staffing up with some impressive hires including key executives with merchandising experience at places like Saks Fifth Avenue, Bergdorf Goodman and J.Crew. Don't look for the brand to go all haute luxe right away, but an updated fashion image is in the offering. The brand has poached noted menswear designer Ian Velardi away from Bonobos as design director, and we already know he has a gift for adding a modern edge to traditional clothing. If things work out well enough, there's a hint that Lands' End may stay past January depending on the response from Holiday shoppers.
Finally, back own Bleecker Street, there's a bit of a pop-up mystery brewing. The windows at Marc Jacobs' teeny tiny men's store at 382 Bleecker Street have just been blacked out, leaving a message that reads, "Marc by Marc Jacobs Pop-Up Opening August 30th". We all know by now that the Marc by Marc Jacobs label will be history after this season as the line gets re-absorbed by a newly expanded main Marc Jacobs collection. Is the shop staging a final fare-well sale or a greatest hits collection? At the very least, one has to wonder how you can call your own longtime store a pop-up shop? We'll find out on Friday.
Last month, The Shophound discovered that Marc Jacobs had quietly closed one of his colony of stores in the West Vilage (above left) with little sign of who would take over the lovely little shop on the corner of West 4th and Bank Streets. This week the New York Times solved that mystery when it announced that the widely admired cult accessory brand Want Les Essentials de la Vie will open its first standalone boutique next month in the West Village, accompanied by a photograph of the label's founders, identical twins Byron Peart and Dexter Peart standing in front of the unmistakable arched windows of the former Jacobs store (above right).
Now that we know that one of the prettiest storefronts in the neighborhood won't be dark for long, we can look forward to the opening of the Montreal-based brand's new boutique. The label's steady rise over the past nine years is chronicled in the Times article, which indicated that while the shop will stock both men's and women's complete Want collections, including the new men's shoe line, it will also, as is the current vogue among independent designers, carry items from other vendors including apparel from Comme des Garçons Forever and objects by Viennese designer Carl Auböck.
There's no specific opening date announced for the Want store, but as the Jacobs store was previously set up as an accessory shop, and it is not a huge space, an opening in October seems quite reasonable, and it will add to what is turning out to be one of the best seasons of new store opening s that we have seen in some time.
In the midst of realigning his signature label, Marc Jacobs has quietly shuttered one of his West Village stores.
The charming store at the corner of West 4th and Bank Streets (pictured above) ceased operations a few weeks ago. It was most recently a Marc by Marc Jacobs accessories store, but like most of his retail spaces in the neighborhood, it has had several identities of the years including a Men's store, and a Collection accessories store. Of all the designers' shops, this one was the furthest off the beaten path, one block away from the busier Bleecker Street corridor, with only the Little Marc children's' store on the opposite corner of the intersection to drum up traffic.
Still, with its elegant arched windows, the now empty shop remains on of the prettier retail spaces in the neighborhood. So far there's no word on a replacement tenant, and now that rent increase-induced turnover has created an unprecedented amount of available retail space on Bleecker Street, it may take some time for the storefront to be filled.
Earlier this year, Jacobs announced that his contemporary label Marc By Marc Jacobs would be folded into his signature line, causing some inevitable shakeup in his retail network. The designer remains a strong presence in the West Village, however. In addition to the aforementioned children's store, there are still the Marc By Marc Jacobs stores for men and women as well as the cosmetics shop and Bookmarc book store all on Bleecker Street. Presumably, the apparel stores will be rebranded to the main Marc Jacobs line for next spring, but it's not unusual for the designer to have a twist or two up his sleeve, so stay tuned for further developments.
Remember how we always remind you to keep an ear to the ground for late breaking sales?
Well, you may want to change your plans because on Thursday, MARC JACOBS is holding his first public Sample Sale since, well... since we don't even know when.
Reportedly, the designer has regularly held hush-hush private sample sales strictly by invitation only, but this is a rare opportunity to get to one without worrying about having to breach formidable security at the door. To be held at 151 Wooster Street in SoHo, a couple of blocks east from his main Collection boutique, this sale is promising 80% off retail prices for men's and women's ready-to-wear, shoes and accessories as well as Little Marc for kids and his famous "Special Items". Particular seasons are not specified. How much, if any, of it will consist of the soon-to-be-history Marc by Marc Jacobs line remains to be seen. Since it's a rare event for a designer with a strong following, particularly in New York, obviously you should be prepared for long lines so get there as early as possible. As always, stay alert for more last minute sale announcements. This is the time of year when they start to pop up left and right.
See our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for details and hours.
Ever since Marc Jacobs left Louis Vuitton to fully concentrate on his own signature label, there have been rumors of major reorganization, and it's looking more and more like the future of the brand will be under a single label. WWD has gone on record as suggesting that the Marc by Marc Jacobs (A fall 2015 look is pictured at right) line was increasingly likely to be folded back into Jacobs' main collection which would then proceed with an expanded price point that would range from the contemporary to the designer level. A few weeks ago, similar rumors circulated about the men's Marc Jacobs labels, but it seems that the consolidation would cover the entire company's offerings.
The Marc by Marc Jacobs label has been struggling to redefine its identity over the past couple of years. In 2013, women's designer Luella Bartley was hired to refresh the brand's fashion direction, and at last season's show, it was announced that the label would be relaunched as MBMJ —which actually never happened.
A consolidation move would echo the strategy of currently disgraced designers Dolce & Gabbana who, a few years ago, surprisingly discontinued their D&G diffusion brand and folded it back into the main collection promising a similarly broadened scope for their single label. How that has played out seems more like the lower priced line vanished and the designer collection stayed pretty much the same, but it may simply demonstrate that at the luxury level, less is sometimes more.
WWD also notes that Marc Jacobs' parent company LVMH is closely involved in recalibrating the brand's organization, and a stronger retail presence is considered imperative by LVMH chair Bernard Arnault. Jacobs' own series of boutiques is expected to be expanded. Though he has long had a retail presence in Manhattan with his SoHo collection store and the series of West Village shops which have often traded off between his signature and diffusion lines, they ultimately are too small to make the kind of impact the brand needs and that a major Marc Jacobs flagship would provide. While the label has often hinted that a major uptown store has been in the works —even going so far as to identifying a Madison Avenue location at one point— the store has never materialized.
Exactly what is going to happen to the Marc Jacobs label lineup and retail network remains to be seen, and the company has made no official announcements, but if it hat hit WWD, that means that some major changes are in the air to steady the brand and position it for a stronger future. Stay tuned.
Bleecker Street will be a little bit more crowded this weekend as the Marc Jacobs Beauty store will be providing free manicures from Noon to 8 PM starting now until Sunday. See a selection of colors above, and pick the one that suits you best. If Esquire's SoHo Mega-Pop-Up is not your cup of tea, then perhaps this sort of giveaway may be more in your wheelhouse —or go to both! It's the 21st Century after all, and seeing as how Marc is the sort of designer who routinely wears kilts and famously attended the Met Ball in a transparent lace dress, we're pretty sure that a manicure will be offered to any and all comers.
It's been a whole month since we last heard from a Critical Shopper in the Thursday Styles, so it looks like Alexandra Jacobs is making up for lost time by cramming two reviews into one column. Call it a Fashion Week special. She starts off at the new Marc Jacobs Beauty store on Bleecker Street, which is also the old Marc Jacobs Accessories store. Her main complaint is that the designer's brand new makeup collection seems to have a disturbingly juvenile preoccupation, suggesting that in trying to make a youthful, cool cosmetics line, he has come up with product names that sound like they are made for children. In fact, the customers she happens to come across are still in braces, so she may not be at all off-base. Most notably, however, we are pretty sure —no, we are positive— that when she describes the new line as "cannily of the moment in its transgender marketing" she really means to say "pan-gender marketing" which would refer to the fact that certain products, including lip balm and concealer, are designed to be used by men and women. Of course, transgender marketing does make it sound more daring, but that would mean the line is pitched to an extremely specific segment of the cosmetics market consisting of girls who were once boys and vice versa. Though certainly worthy of attention and respect, we are not totally sure that this is a large enough group to ensure the kind of sales volume and profits that Marc Jacobs and his backer LVMH have in mind.
That's not all. Our shopper also swung by celebrity stylist Rachel Zoe's DreamDry blowout bar where for $30 plus tip she got a pouf-y Veronica Lake inspired do that "drew some perplexed stares walking on Avenue of the Americas". Whether that's a plus or a minus depends, we suppose, on how one feels about Sixth Avenue.
Critical Shopper: Beauty in the Eye of the Dreamer By Alexandra Jacobs
Marc Jacobs Beauty 385 Bleecker Street at Perry Street, West Village
DreamDry 35 West 21st Street between Fifth and Sixth Avenues, Flatiron District
As we had guessed, the newly converted Marc Jacobs Beauty store opened today on Bleecker Street just as his new cosmetics line made its grand debut in Sephora stores everywhere. The real news, however was buried in WWD's feature on the new shop, when the designer's longtime business partner, Marc Jacobs International President Robert Duffy, casually mentioned that next year, in addition to new stores projected for Washington, D.C., Southern California, Dallas and Miami, the designer was planning to open two New York flagship stores uptown including a Madison Avenue showplace for the main collection, and a Fifth Avenue home for the Marc by Marc Jacobs label. Duffy declined to give specific locations for either store, so we are not entirely sure if the Fifth Avenue unit will be in Midown or perhaps in the Flatiron area. He does seem to concede that the company's own modestly sized boutiques have for too long underrepresented the brand in New York to a certain extent. “We’ve never had a flagship store in New York City,”He tells WWD. “I’ve always opened smaller stores, like on Mercer Street and Bleecker Street. Now, LVMH is determined to help us achieve this dream.”
This is not the first time that Duffy has announced a splashy uptown store for the designer. Several years ago he identified a Chase bank building on Madison Avenue as the location for an uptown flagship, but the store never materialized. He may have been referring to the building which briefly became a Rag & Bone shop before recently turning into an art gallery. This time, it sounds like Jacobs' major backer LVMH is taking some more initiative in expanding one of the more prestigious labels in its portfolio. It won't be a moment too soon. Though Jacobs and Duffy seem to enjoy selling their gods in humbly sized, slightly out of the way shops, there is a point when customers, particularly tourists, looking for the celebrated designer's main New York store have to be a bit surprised and probably disappointed to find the stores to be so limited in size and scope. It's kind of like going to visit a Prince and discovering that he lives in the pool houe. If Duffy's news is accurate, than it looks like there will soon be a couple more Brand Palaces available for him to move into.