You'll Get The Hard Sell At The HIKE NIKE Pop-Up On The Bowery

It's a constant struggle in stores to find the correct balance between being welcoming to customers and smothering them with attention, information and "experience". At this month's HIKE NIKE pop-up on the Bowery, we aren't sure thatchy are even bothering to try.
A typical complaint in New York City stores is that people either can't find sale help or are treated dismissively by the ones who are available. Not so at Hike Nike. The moment The Shophound walked into the temporary store a couple of days ago, we were descended upon by a genial Nike representative who proceeded to give us a lengthy spiel about the store and its various attributes, which while informative was also slightly oppressive. Let us breathe Nike people. It's not that the store doesn't need a bit of explanation. The front room serves as a mini-museum of sorts featuring the evolution of classic Nike styles such as the iconic Cortez into the more rugged ACG styles that fuse sneakers with hiking boots. If that designation sounds familiar, you may remember the ACG sub-brand from the '90s when it was created for the brand's trail running and hiking styles. Now, ACG is being relaunched more for style under the Nike Lab division, aimed at the city dwellers who probably accounted for much of the brand's success the first time around when they snapped up now classic styles like the Lava Dome and the Terra Humara. The store has even organized a series of "city hikes" over the course of the month to re-acquaint New Yorkers with the concept. Upstairs, there is a preview display of the sleek new ACG capsule collection launching on December 2, and in the back room visitors can try on ACG items to purchase or pre-order —and you will get a lot of help. In fact, we couldn't even enter the back area without making sure we were registered with Nike.com. Once past the gate, the new Nike Lab Sneaker-boots on display looked great, mixing classic Nike looks and flyknit styles with heftier, more rugged soles in serious shades of black and army green. Getting the fashion right has never been Nike's problem, but a lighter touch on the service might do a bit better on selling the Hike Nike concept.

Hike Nike NYC 135 Bowery between Broome & Grand Streets, Lower East Side
Have a look inside of the store after the jump

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You'll Get The Hard Sell At The HIKE NIKE Pop-Up On The Bowery" »


The Manolo Blahnik Sample Sale Is Happening RIGHT NOW

Well, we heard that due to some chaotic behavior at the last one, the Manolo Blahnik Sample Sale might take a different form this year. We know that there will be a benefit sale in Connecticut on the 14th of this month which some thought might supplant the one in New York, but no. The NYC sale is happening RIGHT NOW at its usual Warwick Hotel location on 54th Street and Sixth Avenue on the second floor until 5 PM. There was, obviously, no advance notice, so maybe you won't have to contend with lines of people who got up at the crack of dawn. Prices are promised to be from $125 to $550, approximately 80% off. Cash Only.
Run, run run!
Good luck shoe mavens!


Fancy Feet Edition

17SHOPPER4-master180-v2Today's Thursday Styles brings us Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica's visit to shoe guru Louis Leeman's new boutique on Madison Avenue. Before taking on Leeman's store, Caramanica takes the opportunity to assess the current craze for extremely expensive, highly embellished designer sneakers. The term sneaker is relative here, as none of these shoes are actually meant for real athletic activity, but then, most of the covetable instant sell-out Nikes that get customers to camp out on the sidewalk for days in advance will never see the floor of a basketball court either. Our Shopper is more amused than appalled, and he calls Leeman the love child of his Madison Avenue neighbors, combining the craftsmanship of John Lobb with the unbridled glitz of Giuseppe Zanotti.
Ultimately, this is what seems to flummox our shopper. We never really thought he would go on a spree there, but it turns out that, along with noticing some consistency problems, Caramanica finds that the Leemans he tries on are neither  flamboyant enough to be outrageous nor classic enough to be elegant.

Maybe it was the lighting — diffuse, soothing, slightly yellow — but in the mirror, they seemed almost dull

It turns out that on Madison Avenue, the middle of the road takes you nowhere.

Designer Louis Leeman Puts a Swagger in His Shoes By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Louis Leeman 793 Madison Avenue at 67th Street, Upper East Side


Totokaelo from Seattle and Repetto From Paris Set To Enter SoHo

Cue the Trumpian Xenophobia.
Two retailers from far, far away are set to enter the shopping fray in SoHo as the Fall influx of new stores starts taking shape.
First off, Seattle, Washington boutique Totokaelo (keep practicing saying that) will be opening its first satellite location at 54 Crosby Street between Broome and Spring Streets right next to the backside of Bloomingdale's. The store will occupy 8,400 square feet over five floors (rendering pictured above) and two outdoor areas in a narrow building with dramatic, open skylit spaces. Like the mother-ship in Seattle, the new store is expected to carry a curated mix of directional designer clothing for women and men like Haider Ackermann, Dries Van Noten and Ann Demeulemeester to name a few, along with home furnishings and objets d'art. The folks at Totokaelo are so dedicated to the store's expansion that they have moved their creative and merchandising teams to New York permanently. We won't have to wait too long to find out if the risk was worth it. Totokaelo is set to open just after Labor Day on September 10th.

New Yorkers will be somewhat more familiar with Repetto, the French footwear label best known for ballet flats in myriad designs and colors. The brand is set to open its first New York store on November on West Broadway in a 2,350 square foot space near Anthropoligie, Ralph Lauren's RRL and fellow Parisian Ladurée. The store is set to open just in time for the company's launch of the Opera line, its first collection of high heeled shoes. The label will also have space for its new ready-to-wear collection as well as fragrances, a special dance section and an atelier which can offer customization with a choice of 250 colors. Uptown Repetto fans can look forward to another another location near them, probably on Madison Avenue, to be announced soon as the brand embarks on a plan to dramatically increase its presence in the U.S. market and makes the transition form exclusive ballet-shoe resource to fully-fledged fashion brand.

Totokaelo Readies Crosby Street Location, Repetto to Open First Store in Manhattan (WWD)


Adidas Originals Will Move To Spring Street This September

Adidas Originals has a distinctive store on Wooster Street (pictured above) with a retractable garage door-style front that opens up to the street when the weather permits. It's a cute, memorable store that does a great job of representing the sub-brand's image only a few blocks away from the big Adidas flagship at Broadway and Houston Street.
For a corporately owned showcase, it has some personality.
So it's moving.
The Observer reports that Adidas has leased a 3,100 square foot space with another 2,100 square feet in the basement for 10 years at 115 Spring Street between Mercer and Greene streets that used to be the Opera Gallery, one of the few remnants of the days when SoHo was really a gallery district with a few high fashion boutiques scattered throughout. Reportedly, the gallery's lease was bought out by the landlord, apparently to snare a more lucrative retail tenant.
Though it is currently on a desirable but relatively quiet block of Wooster between Houston and Prince Streets, the new space will bring Adidas Originals a little bit closer to the hustle and bustle of SoHo's Broadway stretch on the more heavily foot-trafficked Spring Street. The store is eyeing a September opening, but it is unlikely that the open-air front will be replicated in the landmarked district, so enjoy the airy Wooster Street shop while you can.

Adidas Relocating Soho Store to SL Green Property (Commercial Observer)


What Happens When A Sample Sale Gets Out Of Control?

RackedManoloSaleThis has been a big week for Sample Sales. The Shophound checked out a few yesterday, and found a patient line outside of Band of Outsiders, eager shoppers still scooping up bargains at the ICB/J.Press/York Street/Cardigan sale and a calm shoppers perusing The News showroom where there were still good items to be found from Tim Coppens, Public School and Common Projects among others. Even the Sferra Sale at Chelsea Market was also relaxed but doing good business, with no pushing or shoving. Perhaps the advantage of an abundance of sample sales happening at the same time is that the crowds get spread out making it easier to shop all the sales —a theory that might hold true until you get to Manolo Blahnik.
Yesterday, the crown jewel of every Sample Sale season took place as it always does at the Warwick Hotel in midtown, but all reports have all hell breaking loose as shoppers fell into the worst possible behavior to be found when there are bargains to be had. It's not like this is a rare occurrence. We know there will be a Manolo Blahnik sample sale every season, but this time they were cagier than usual, with rumors circulating that it would be last week, and then confirmation that it would happen for sure yesterday without any specific hours announced. Manolo's folks really weren't out to make getting inside easy for the non-VIP, but enough people knew the drill for about 100 of them to get in line on Thursday morning to get an entry ticket. What happened when they were let in was, reportedly, total mayhem. Our friends at Racked report that what was once a relatively civilized event that often had André Leon Talley holding court and advising shoppers had devolved into a circus of hoarders who had ransacked the place, indiscriminately filling the sale's own plastic bins from under the tables with as many pairs of shoes as they could grab and hauling them to the cashiers.
This is what is commonly known as eBay reseller behavior, but it is rarely demonstrated with such blatant zeal. On the one hand, some companies really don't much care who buys the goods at their sample sales as long as they clear out of their old merchandise, but on the other, sample sales are not meant to be de-facto wholesale opportunities for small-time online entrepreneurs who can make a nice profit when prices start at $100.
How the folks at Manolo Blank will react to the eBay invasion remains to be seen.
Will they shrug their shoulders and carry on as always?
Will they impose a limited number of pairs to purchase per customer? After all, does anyone really buy more than 6, 8 or 10 pairs just for themselves at this sale?
Or, will they just abolish the sample sale altogether? (All together now: This is why we can't have nice things)
Maybe they will move it to another city like L.A. or Chicago where they can count on a sophisticated population who would jump at the rare chance to have a Manolo Blahnik sample sale in their own city.
We will have to wait and see.
The Shophound has certainly seen more than our share of eBay resellers at sale events, but they tend to maintain some degree of discretion as they load up their arms with goods. If it comes to the point where they are hoarding the goods away from everyone else, will we see the end of our favorite sample sales as designers turn to alternative methods for disposing of their overstock?

Manolo Blahnik's Sample Sale Is a Stiletto-Strewn Hellscape of Hoarding, Aggression (Racked NY)


Line Up For Manolo Blahnik & Try Your Luck At Jimmy Choo + Bonobos, Sandro & Adam Lippes

As we get further into May, the Sample Sales will proliferate with less and less notice, so it's good to keep your ear to the ground this month. This week's big events are two of the most popular women's shoe sales including the incredibly popular MANOLO BLAHNIK* sample sale starting on Wednesday the 6th at its regular haunt, the Warwich Hotel. Regulars know the deal. Get up early and get in line for the public opening in the afternoon. Then just try to keep yourself composed while shopping.
Shoe superfans may have already been to JIMMY CHOO which starts today and may or may not be by invitation only. Venture at your own risk to the Metropolitan Pavilion in Clelsea to find out for sure.

Got enough shoes? Is there such a thing? If you are looking to clothe the rest of yourself, check out contemporary designer ADAM LIPPES' sale starting on Wednesday in the West Village. Look for a hefty 70% off his luxurious sportswear. 
Starting today, you will want to hit the SANDRO sale at 260 Fifth Avenue for men's and women's clothing and accessories from the leader of the current wave of French Sportswear designers that are taking New York by storm. Expect a crowd.
Looking for the French look by way of Japan? check out the men's and women's counterpart collections from PAS DE CALAIS and SAGE DE CRET in the basement of their SoHo boutique on Broome Street. They are promising a whopping 85% off retail prices.
If you are just a guy looking for pants, you will find them at the BONOBOS sale which kicked off yesterday near the Flatiron Building. You will also find their whole assortment of sportswear and accessories, but it's the perfect fitting pants you won't want to miss.

There will inevitably be more coming up next week including a presumed liquidation from Reed Krakoff, all of the cool brands at The News showroom, Prabal Gurung's, The AEFFE showroom featuring Moschino and Ungaro and much more. Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL at left for breaking news and the latest details.

The latest reports now have the MANOLO BLAHNIK sale on Thursday the 14th for one day only.


Look For New York's First TOMS Store To Be Mostly Coffee Bar

TOMSNolitaIt looks like the long awaited TOMS store on Elizabeth street is finally about to open any day now, after a bewilderingly long construction period for a modestly sized store. If you are expecting an endless array of the label's signature eyewear and casual shoes, however, then think again. The folks at Bowery Boogie got a peek inside, and discovered that the store will be more of a coffee bar than anything. The 1,000 square foot store is the brand's third in the U.S., and will be following the template of the others in promoting the band's responsibly produced coffee products. Sure, there will be shoes and glasses featuring the famous Toms one for one policy that donates one one shoe or eyeglass frame for each pair sold, but beverages are expected to be the focal point. The equally charitable coffee business supports clean water effort in 70 countries around the world.
Look for an opening by the weekend at 262 Elizabeth Street.

Charity-Minded Shoe Company Toms Opens a Cafe in Soho This Week (Bowery Boogie)
Is The First TOMS Store In New York Almost Ready To Open?


Is The First TOMS Store In New York Almost Ready To Open?

Last Summer, The Shophound spied an innocuous little sign indicating that New York would get the first  TOMS store on the East Coast by the end of 2014. As often happens, however, New Years came and went with no opening, and no particular signs of progress at the Elizabeth Street storefront in NoLita that the charitable brand had indicated would be its latest outpost. With Fashion Week upon us, the optimum moment to publicize a new retail venture is just around the corner, and it looks like, however tardy it may be, Toms is getting ready to open its doors. Last weekend we spied a new awning and new signage at the store (pictured above), so hopefully, it won't be too much longer before New Yorkers get to browse a comprehensive offering of the brand's exceedingly popular shoes, eyewear and other accessories, and take advantage of the company's now famous policy of donating one individual product to a person in need for every one it sells. So far, no official announcements have been made, but keep an eye on the block of Elizabeth Street between Houston and Prince Streets for any activity.

TOMS To Take Up Residence In NoLita


Carlo Pazolini Packs It In

Oh, the post-Holiday season is crueler than ever for a struggling brand this year.
On the heels of the C.Wonder shutdown comes word that flashy shoe and accessory brand Carlo Pazolini is shuttering all of its U.S. stores. After entering the U.S. market just a couple of years ago, the label which seemed to come out of nowhere, may have fallen to the same factors that knocked out C.Wonder: opening lavish, flagship sized showplace stores in expensive high-profile locations without benefit of a devoted customer base to support them.
Could the plummeting Russian economy be a factor in the shutdown? For those who haven't yet figured it out, there never was an actual person named Carlo Pazolini. It is a made-up name created by a Russian entrepreneur who wanted to create the illusion of Italian luxury brand. Of course, most of the brand's product is actually made in China, and the discovery that the brand's glamorous heritage was basically fabricated has left many customers cold. All of this can easily be forgiven if the brand has something else to offer, but the product proved itself to be fairly undistinguished in a super-competitive shoe and accessory market. Still, the shoes might become magically more appealing at $50 each which is what our friends at Racked tell us they are going for at the store's Closing/Sample Sale taking place over the next five days at the brand's Broadway store in SoHo, the last one still open in the U.S.
Whether or not the brand's website and wholesale division will remain open remains to be seen, but customers should beware, this year's retail casualty rate starting high. Hopefully, it will slow down sooner rather than later.

Carlo Pazolini Closing Soho Store With a Major Sample Sale (Racked)