WEST VILLAGE INS & OUTS:

Paul Smith Is In
Mulberry, Black Fleece & Marc Jacobs Men's Are Out On Bleecker

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Remember when Bleecker Street was such a hot retail address that the older stores were being pushed out and replaced with new designer boutiques at a breakneck pace?
Well, that's over.
As luxury labels retrench in the face of economic uncertainty, Bleecker street is suddenly looking less like a hotspot and more like a tony neighborhood in a holding pattern, perhaps a couple of years behind the neighboring Meatpacking District where once precious retail space is now available in greater abundance. Since the Holiday season, A few more Bleecker Street storefronts have gone empty. Mulberry has quietly exited its outpost at 387 Bleecker leaving it with larger stores on both Madison Avenue and Spring Street in SoHo. Perhaps a tiny store that benefited from Bleecker Street's hotspot-of-the-moment glamor is no longer such an imperative when there are other bigger stores in more heavily trafficked neighborhoods with more potential for sales volume and brand visibility.
Mulberry is not the only company reconsidering its retail strategies. Marc Jacobs is in still the midst of re-inventing his own label. Since the Marc by Marc Jacobs label that made up most of his Bleecker Street stores' offerings has been discontinued, his West Village colony of shops is in a transition of its own. It was always a kind of free-flowing arrangement with stores regularly switching places. With Want Les Essentials de la Vie having already having taken over one of the designer's former shops, the latest branch to bite to the dust is the teeny tiny men's store whose windows are now blacked out. That leaves Jacobs with only his original shop at 403/405 Bleecker, Bookmarc across the street at #400 and the beauty store at #385, which is still a strong showing, but we are still wondering how things will settle retail wise for Marc. His men's store has always been problematic. Having bounced around from one of Jacobs' West Village locations to another, it always seemed to wind up in the same stall-like space that could only hold a few customers at a time and seemed like a poor setting for one of America's premier designers to present his collections. Part of this probably results from the fact that Jacobs has been candid over the years about his personal disinterest in menswear as a designer. He rarely if ever wears his own brand, preferring more attention getting outfits from labels like Comme des Garçons and most recently being very vocal about buying copious amounts of Alessandro Michele's first Gucci collection. His lack of interest is reflected at retail where the label has little traction in menswear, and industry watchers are wondering if the men's division has many more seasons left at all without stronger direction. Closing its store couldn't be seen as a sign of faith in the division.
While once it was incredibly difficult for a retailer to even acquire a space on Bleecker Street in its most desirable stretch between Christoper Street and Hudson Street, now a prospective retailer has something of a selection. Since Brooks Brothers has sadly discontinued its Thom Browne designed Black Fleece collection, its boutique at 351 Bleecker at the corner of West 10th Street has also been shuttered leaving another prime spot open, and more space at 345 Bleecker will be available soon as Comptoir des Cotonniers has posted a closing notice in the window of its unit there. In addition, the empty where the neighborhood favorite Manatus Restaurant once served up classic diner fare is still empty after it was forced out nearly two years ago in hopes of attracting a higher paying tenant who has yet to show up.
It's not all bad news, however. As promised, Paul Smith has opened up a temporary store at 357 Bleecker Street (pictured above) to replace his original Flatiron store. As reported, it's smaller than the shuttered  lower Fifth Avenue boutique, but Smith promises a bigger permanent unit on the way. So far the store is only carrying early Spring deliveries heavy on his lower priced label, PS. Perhaps even after a more impressive space  presents itself, Smith, who has also streamlined his profusion of labels, should consider hanging on to the Bleecker Street store as a PS-only shop. It would fit in perfectly with the street's more recent focus on slightly more accessible designer labels, and it would fill up a shop that might otherwise not find a tenant a swiftly as it might have a few years ago.

Previously:
Paul Smith Is Leaving Flatiron For Bleecker Street. . . For Now

See a gallery of closing notices after the jump.

Continue reading "WEST VILLAGE INS & OUTS:

Paul Smith Is In
Mulberry, Black Fleece & Marc Jacobs Men's Are Out On Bleecker
" »


ROVING BOUTIQUE:

Paul Smith Is Leaving Flatiron For Bleecker Street. . . For Now

PaulSmithMoving
The Flatiron District will be dealt a blow next week when the Paul Smith boutique at 108 Fifth Avenue (pictured above) permanently closes its doors and moves to a temporary space on Bleecker Street in the West Village. While the designer has a flagship store in SoHo, a Williamsburg location and a new outpost at Brookfield Place in the Financial District, the Fifth Avenue store was Smith's first in New York opening in 1987. It was one of the first designer stores in the neighborhood and, along with Emporio Armani on the other side of 16th Street (now a closed Joe Fresh), established Fifth Avenue between 23rd and 14th Streets as a bona fide shopping destination that seemed to be geared more toward downtown dwelling New Yorkers than tourists or bridge-and-tunnel shoppers. Even though the neighborhood eventually became more of a destination for chain stores that made it something of a mall without the mall (Gap, Banana Republic, Ann Taylor, H&M, Victoria's Secret etc.), The Paul Smith boutique maintained its place as the high-end lynchpin for the neighborhood for nearly 30 years, even expanding downstairs.
Smith won't miss a beat, however. As clearly stipulated in the window (pictured below) the Bleecker Street store will open on Monday It is a more compact 1,000 square feet to Fifth Avenue's 1,800, but it is technically a temporary location to serve until a more suitable permanent spot is found. Where it will ultimately land remains to be seen, but the hands-on designer has been known to be extremely picky about where he places his boutiques, so wherever it is, expect it to be perfectly chosen all in good time.

Paul Smith Relocates to Temporary Site in Manhattan (WWD)
PaulSmithMovingSign


THIS WEEK ONLINE:

Saint Laurent, Paul Smith, Illesteva, Haute Hippie, TOD's, Tom Ford, Hugo Boss, Balenciaga, Tory Burch, Brunello Cucinelli, Chan Luu

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Shop well!

GILT GROUPE
Saint Laurent, Hunter Boots, Sandro, Three Dots, Alana Bess Jewelry, Russell Trusso, Paul Smith, PLAC, Incotex Ivory, Ben Minkoff, Alternative Apparel, Tommy John Lounge, Matteo Bedding —join HERE
RUE LA LA
Haute Hippie, TUMI, Hugo Boss, TOD's, Tacori, Saucony, iRobot, Bodum, Bettye Muller, 88 Rue Du Rhone, Brio Toys, Hanro, Cinzia Rocca, Michael Kors, Jared Lang, Evil Twin, Zanetti, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Sferra, Melinda Maria Jewelry, Elie Tahari, Rivkah Friedman, Illesteva, Frederique Constant Watches, Le Mystere, Judith Leiber, Swarovski —join HERE
IDEEL
Ajar Canada Outerwear, Tag Heuer, T Tahari, Tory Burch, BCBGeneration, Dior Beauté, Peri Luxe Furs, Rachel Zoe, Threads for Thought, Ben Sherman, Escada Sport, Kate Spade, Ray-Ban —join HERE
HAUTE LOOK
Kate Spade, Andrew Marc, DL1961, Creative Recreation, MUK LUKS, Hudson Jeans, Diesel, Hale Bob, Lorenzo Uomo, Vince, Asics, Vince Camuto, Judith Jack, Chan Luu, Stuhrling Watches, J Lindeberg, Mackage —join HERE
MY HABIT
Balenciaga, 10 Crosby by Derek Lam, Oryany Handbags, Desigual, Salvatore Ferragamo, Tahari by ASL, Brunelli Cucinelli, Portolano, Chan Luu, TOD's, Tom Ford, Geoffrey Beene, Tommy Hilfiger, New Balance, Emporia Armani, Latico Accessories, Toscano, PAPI —join HERE

SALE UPDATE:

The Paul Smith Sale Is Packed With Goods + Late Additions From
Patrik Ervell And Kent & Curwen

PSSale-2
It has turned out to be a great week for menswear sales in New York.
The Shophound checked out the PAUL SMITH sale yesterday (above) and we can report that it is crammed with merchandise. It's the first time in a few season that Smith has held a public sample sale, and it shows with an abundance of everything everyone loves from the designer including his signature patterned shirts, tailored suits and witty sportswear. While there was a decent selection of women's shoes and apparel in the front section, the large back section, in a reversal of the usual arrangements at the venue, is full of menswear. In particular there were tons of men's shoes at the press preview ranging from $25 for flip flops to a measly $125 for the most expensive Italian-made shoes and boots plus collectors' styles from a collaboration with legendary English shoemaker John Lobb which retailed for $1,295.
That might be the best bargain anyone will find all season. There are also stacks of art, photography and fashion books from the boutiques as well as other tableware and gift items priced with color coded dots that top out at a mere $40.
Suits are going for $450, and most apparel is in the 60% to 80% off range or even more. The friends and family preview was pretty packed this morning, so we would imagine that this will be a busy sale that could get picked clean pretty quickly by Paul Smith devotees who have been waiting for this one for a long time. Shop early, and look for a partial list of prices after the jump along with some looks inside.

Yesterday morning, a few more important sale notices hit the web including PATRIK ERVELL's sample sale which is a seasonal mainstay for stylish New York men. It begins on Friday the 2nd and runs through the weekend in SoHo where up to 80% off retail prices on clothing and accessories is promised.

Another late-breaking event that the city's men won't want to miss is KENT & CURWEN's sale starting on Thursday the 1st in Trump Tower in Midtown. The venerable British brand has been trying to raise its U.S. profile over the past couple of years with updated creative direction by industry favorite Simon Spurr. Currently it can be found in Bloomingdale's and Saks, but its sprawling Madison Avenue flagship abruptly closed recently after barely a year, and the label just announced a major new creative collaboration with David Beckham that has again left Spurr out in the cold (Somebody please reunite this designer with his label already!). We don't know exactly what will be included in this week's showroom sale, but it is likely to be a housecleaning of Spurr's collections which is good news for the designer's many fans still mourning the collapse of his beloved signature label.

As usual, all details can be found in our SALE ROLL sidebar at left along with any late-breaking listings

Continue reading "SALE UPDATE:

The Paul Smith Sale Is Packed With Goods + Late Additions From
Patrik Ervell And Kent & Curwen
" »


Mike Albo Goes Shopping:

Outer Borough Sale Shop Edition

25critic.span This week's critical shopper Mike Albo discovers that in the world of Paul Smith, service levels directly correlate to discounts in the designer's various boutiques around the city.
The longtime Smith fan finds disappointment at the designer's recently opened sale shop in Williamsburg when the discounts are underwhelming and the sales staff's demeanor and storekeeping skills are downright disagreeable.

When I walked up to the new Paul Smith store in Williamsburg, one of the salesclerks, a young woman, was busy texting in the doorway. She looked up from her keypad. “Hihowareyou,” she said under her breath, with a dead face. (I am fluent in the language of retail, and this means: “Oh, great. A person.”)
“Oh, don’t worry!” I said, like the overfriendly doormat that I am. “You can keep texting!” She glared at me, turned and walked into the store.

Welcome to Williamsburg!
And yet, a few days, a bit of tidying up and, most importantly, a jump in the discount from 30% to 70% makes all the difference for Mike, just as it would for us.
We have to wonder, however, if Smith's year-round clearance store has anything to do with the vexing absence of a Paul Smith sample sale this season, which would be a bummer for us provincial Manhattanites. Are we now to trek to Williamsburg for our seasonal Paul Smith fix instead of having it practically carted to our doorstep via a jumbled room of bargains at the Chelsea Market? Such are the trials we have to suffer for our vocation.
Critical Shopper | Paul Smith Sale Shop: Where Happiness Is on Clearance By Mike Albo (NYTimes)
Paul Smith Sale Shop 280 Grand Street between Roebling and Havermeyer Streets, Williamsburg


Surprise Move Of The Week:

A Paul Smith Outlet
For Williamsburg?

Paulsmithimage1aIs Williamsburg set to become the new Woodbury Commons?
We heard that Paul Smith is set to open a shop in the hipster haven this month, joining A.P.C.'s Surplus store on Grand Street with a discount outlet of his own.
Material Interest tells us that the new shop will sell at 30% off. It seems that the retail focus of Williamsburg is shifting from Beacon's Closet to Designer Discount. We have no word yet on whether or not the shop will keep regular hours, or like it's cult label neighbor, will have more limited availability, but we love the idea of having a permanent source of cut rate Paul Smith to peruse at out leisure instead of waiting for the crush of the seasonal sample sales.
We'll let you know more info as soon as we have it. The shop is said to be opening at 280 Grand Street between Roebling and Havemeyer, and already has a phone number, (718) 218-0020.
We still don't think they're ready for their own Apple Store or Barney's Co-op, but if we could just get Prada and Jil Sander to follow suit, we wouldn't even need to shop in Manhattan at all.
Sir Paul's Brooklyn Bow (Material Interest)

UPDATE:
WWD confirms that the store will open on October 16th, and will sell a revolving selection of markdown goods. "Styles will be priced 30 percent below regular retail prices, but the company spokesman insisted the store isn’t an outlet store," whatever that means. Everything's reduced, but it's not an outlet. Call it what you want. It's a sale store, and we'll be there.
A Brit Grows in Brooklyn: Paul Smith Opens This Month (WWD)


Oh! The Horror: Paul Smith Sample Sale

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Usually we look forward to the Paul Smith sample sale. This season, we really felt that The Shophound's closets were bloated enough, and yet we couldn't resist, and found ourselves making some lame excuse to go down to Greene Street. The potential for piling up goods was high, as the prices were low as usual, however, the scene, as you can see, was chaotic to put it mildly.
In the past few seasons, the sale has been held at the Chelsea Market, and moving the sale to the smaller open space at 76 Greene Street (formerly Bagutta, UNIQLO temporary store and countless other short term and pop-up stores) has ramped up the frenzy and created the worst sort of sample sale havoc. Moving the sale to busier SoHo has naturally increased traffic. We saw all sorts of things to buy, Including things we had our eye on form the boutique, but actually getting to them and taking the time to rummage for sizes hit way above our 'I can't be bothered-get me out of here' threshold. It was with some relief that we skipped out without a purchase.
See, we can exercise restraint.
Of course, there is that slim possibility that we may have to stop by on Saturday to check out the last-day-price-slash.
Paul Smith Sample Sale, 76 Greene Street through Saturday March 13, SoHo


Horacio Goes Shopping: Paul Smith Ambivalence Edition

23crit2190We didn't want you to think we were blowing off last week's Critical Shopper column just because it was Thanksgiving and written by stand-in Horacio Silva. We were simply out of town and busy deciding whether to gorge on apple pie or homemade marble cookies (from a recipe by Angela Missoni no less). In the end the answer was simple. Why not both? Now as we radically rethink our nutritional habits, we are playing catch-up, but Horacio's visit to the new Paul Smith shop in SoHo (which we visited last month) also gives us an opportunity to follow up on one of last weeks clerks, Mark Haldeman of the same store.
we went back a second time yesterday, and we must say we liked the place even better this time. It's just full of appealing stuff, and was made for gift shopping as the front room is filled with jewelry and accessories at a variety of prices, and non-apparel items are scattered throughout the store. Smith adds unique details to everything he makes, so it's no place for minimalists, but if you appreciate subtle details, it should become a home away from home. Horacio discovered that not everyone is a fan.

To the devout fashion flock that worships only at the shrine of aggressive modernism, Mr. Smith is a deliberate-compromise option for the mild-at-heart. (When I asked a fashion editor friend of mine to accompany me to the new Paul Smith store on Greene Street, he told me he would rather eat glass.)

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Paul Smith Finally Shows All

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Paul Smith's Boutique on Fifth Avenue heralded the Flatiron District as a retail destination, but in the 19 years since its opening, Smith's collections have long since outgrown the modestly sized shop. Never one to settle for the wrong space, the designer has finally opened an expansive flagship-sized emporium in SoHo that showcases the full breadth of the Paul Smith universe with room to spare. Over the years a cult of fans have developed who appreciate his traditionally based styles with unique details like contrast stitching, one oddly colored button on a suit, or a surprise floral lining on the inside of a shirt cuff. Having purchased the entire building at 142 Greene Street, Smith eschews the usual big, airy loft style so common in the neighborhood in favor of a series of five interconnected rooms whose sprawl is belied by the typical SoHo storefront. Never a minimalist, he has filled the store with the quirky details that made him famous, including a re-creation of the façade of Willoughby House, his Nottingham flagship.

More after the jump

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