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.
It's been a while since Marc Jacobs has upset the arrangement of his Cluster of West Village shops, but passersby may have noticed that what was until recently his Collection Accessories store at 385 Bleecker Street is in the process of being transformed into the first store for his upcoming Beauty line. It's not unusual for the designer to shuffle around the contents of his five fashion boutiques in the neighborhood as needed, but they have been reasonably settled in recent seasons. That will change with the launch of his signature cosmetics line coming on Friday. Though it will initially be exclusive to Sephora stores, select Marc jacobs stores will also carry the line including this about-to-be-transformed location. We're betting on an opening this weekend as the line launches.
It's not often (or ever, really) that we cover the comings and goings of 20-year-old media magnet Miley Cyrus, but in her efforts to incinerate her squeaky-clean teen superstar image, she has decided to be the next famous body to bare it all for designer Marc Jacobs' charity T-shirt line benefitting the NYU Cancer Institute and NYU Langone Medical Center. Yes, it's naked Miley, and we're expecting a media firestorm to ignite, any minute, now. If you are speedy, you might be able to snag one of these shirts for yourself when they go on sale today at Marc Jacobs stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, New York, Boston and Savannah, Ga. Don't expect them to last too long on the shelves.
We weren't even aware that Jacobs had continued making this series of shirts, which he started several years ago and has included as subjects supermodels, store staff members, musicians and even the designer himself. It turns out that whenever there is a celebrity in need of attention, Marc is there to oblige. Bless his heart.
What do you do when you are faced with an unexpected, aggravating misfortune that is beyond your control?
If you are Marc Jacobs, you make a t-shirt.
You may remember hearing a few months ago that Jacobs' entire 46-look European sample line for Spring 2012 was stolen off the Eurostar train between London and Paris. So far as we know, the clothes have never been recovered, throwing a wrench into the designer's European Press activities, and to remind people of the designer's predicament, he has placed a mock "Wanted"-style bulletin in the window of his Mercer Street Collection boutique with a strangely Unabomber-esque sketch of a totally unidentifiable perp.
Of course, the poster is also available as a t-shirt, presumably for sale inside the store. We're not sure that the proceeds from the tees will make up for the expensive theft of an entire sample line, but a little humor can always ease the sting of a costly loss. As the bulletin states: "The thief is still at large and considered dressed to kill."
Marc Jacobs 163 Mercer Street between Houston & Prince Streets, SoHo