Did you buy some spanking-fresh, white Adidas Stan Smiths a couple of years ago?
Have you been dutifully wearing them with everything?
Are they now a little bit (or a lot) less bright and white than they once were?
If you have been searching for ways to restore their fresh look, then you may have stumbled upon Jason Markk, who has turned sneaker maintenance into a new industry by creating products that allow collectors, enthusiasts and just regular old sneaker wearers to stave off the inevitable moment when their beloved kicks finally, just "die" from wear and tear. Markk's sneaker care kits have shown up in retailers ranging from J.Crew to footwear temple Kith, and he has finally opened his own flagship concept store in Los Angeles (pictured right) where you can drop off your shoes for a refresh just as if it were a dry cleaner. Services range from a $10 Classic Clean to the $65 Purple Label Detail featuring a deep cleaning and reconditioning of beloved sneakers. The good news for New Yorkers is that, according to the New York Times, Markk is bringing this in-store service to New York City with a pop-up shop from June 18th to the 26th at the Footaction store on 14th Street. Hopefully, this will be a test for a more permanent East Coast outpost, because you don't have to be a raging sneakerhead to feel the pangs of regret at eventually having to relegate a favorite pair of hard to find Nikes or Adidas to the trash heap because you have chosen to actually wear them instead of keeping them preserved for posterity.
Did you buy some spanking-fresh, white Adidas Stan Smiths a couple of years ago?
Last week, we suggested that athletic giant Under Armour lacked the prestige to make a case for a major flagship store that might appear in the GM Building.
We may have spoken too soon.
This morning, Business of Fashion announced that Belgian born, New York based designer Tim Coppens would be adding to his duties at his own label and joining Under Armour as executive creative director of Under Armour Sportswear, a new, more upscale casual sub-brand for men and women to be known as UAS that will appear in stores this fall (see the logo at left). While Coppens has long incorporated athletic elements in collections for his own five-year old label, and designed for Adidas and Ralph Lauren's RLX performance athletic wear line, the UAS label will be Under Armour's first collection not designed specifically for sport, but for every day casual wear. The label will include apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women as a complete lifestyle statement, but aside from the brand's flagships in New York and Chicago, the line is expected to be found in department stores which do not typically carry the main Under Armour label, and have yet to be identified.
“It’s not activewear. It’s not athleisure,” Ben Pruess, Under Armour's senior vice president of sportswear tells BoF, “It’s very specific to this idea of young, ambitious, new generation of clothing.” Coppens calls the line “casual, lifestyle-directed” and promises that it will incorporate the technical innovations that the brand has pioneered in athletic wear into casual clothes for what he calls an "ambitious generation".
It's a natural brand extension for the athletic brand which is already worn as casual wear by many of its customers, but it is also the company's pitch to gain the kind of prestige that Nike and Adidas and even Puma have acquired over the years. Those brands have sub collections that are regularly found in influential fashion stores like Barneys, Opening Ceremony, Colette and Dover Street Market. They can boast of collaborations with celebrities and designers like Raf Simons, Rihanna, Pharrell Williams, Rick Owens, Undercover's Jun Takahashi, Riccardo Tisci and Olivier Rousteing, whose latest Nike collaboration happens to launch today. It remains to be seen if UAS will be able to scale those fashion heights, but including the CFDA darling Coppens will go along way toward ingratiating Under Armour to the kind of fashion insiders who are in a position to get the label in front of the customers it seeks. Under Armour has clearly been working to be counted among the likes of Nike and Adidas as a brand that goes beyond just providing quality athletic gear, and now, all we need to see is whether or not they can produce a product that will get them there.
Tim Coppens Designing New Line for Under Armour (Business of Fashion)
Olivier Rousteing's Nike Collaboration Just As Shiny As You Would Expect
Another hot designer has joined the ranks of sneaker behemoth NikeLab's collaborators. Over the weekend, Balmain's creative director Olivier Rousteing announced via his Instagram that he would be joining forces to launch a NikeLab x Olivier Rousteing: Football Nouveau collection by posting a a new logo featuring the famous swoosh and his own initials in a regal shield shaped crest. The gold-and-black color scheme reflects the increasingly baroque sensibility that he expresses in his fashion collections, but, like his fellow designer Roberto Tisci of Givenchy, Rousteing's team up will be under his own name, or initials, rather than under the auspices of the Parisian label that brought him fame. Whether this is a pattern that will follow through future designer collaborations remains to be seen, but it does seem that, like Tisci, whose initial items focused on a reimagining of Nike's iconic Air Force 1 sneaker, Rousteing's collection will center around a particular theme, soccer, in this case —and lots of gold trimmings. New product images released this morning show the designer himself as model in simple black t-shirts with gold logo decals, some gilt-trimmed sweatpants and lots of golden soccer balls. He even shares one image with star footballer Cristiano Ronaldo decked out in the collection (pictured above) shot by Nick Knight. Items, also photographed on pro-footballers, include jackets, tops and pants all in black touched with gold trimming and zippers, and four Nike soccer shoes, Footscape Magista, Free Mercurial Flyknit, Roshe Tiempo VI and Free Hypervenom 2 re-imagined by Rousteing. The collection will be available as soon as next week on June 2. we are expecting the collection to appear at the NikeLab store in SoHo and at Dover Street Market as well as select other sneaker outlets that focus on the brand's more fashion-y offerings —more likely at Barneys than at Foot Locker. Get ready for another hot collaboration rush sometime this summer, and have a look at the promo video of Rousteing at work below and more of the images including some spectacular shots by Knight for Dazed and Confused magazine after the jump.
Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica returns in this week's Thursday Styles to take on the dismayingly resilient trend of luxury designer sneakers by visiting the newly expanded Giuseppe Zanotti Design boutique on Madison Avenue. Designer sneakers are nothing new. They go back decades, but the current iteration, mostly aimed at men, has resulted in increasingly embellished and costly athletic shoes that are further and further removed from any actual sports that they were originally intended for. While Zanotti is hardly the only designer offering such footwear, he does make some of the most baroquely adorned models. Our shopper compares the designer's style to the "brazen, sexy vulgarity" of the 1980s, although as someone who lived through that decade, we can assure that Zanotti's designs far surpass the glitz of that decade with higher heels and flashier materials than anything anyone wore back then.
In fact, it is the glitz of the actual store that first strikes our shopper's eye, but it seems almost too humble a setting for Zan0tti's ever more lustrous offerings. Our shopper isn't blinded by the gleaming surfaces before him, however. It turns out that the increasingly impractical shoes are not all that comfortable. "All of the sneakers I tried on had the first-wear inflexibility of shoes, and the leather began to visibly crack with the first steps," he writes, describing them as "like wearing huge pieces of candy on your feet." The token apparel items presented to complement the shoes seem similarly shiny, impractical and uncomfortable. Ultimately, our shopper never really gets to the bottom of whom this store and its crass sneakers are for. Who is the guy (as usual, Caramanica mostly ignores the larger women's side of the store) who wants to drop $1,250 on an extravagant, bejeweled variation on a pair of $150 Nikes? We never really find the answer beyond the suggestion that it is not our shopper.
Critical Shopper: The Store With the Golden Sneakers By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Giuseppe Zanotti Design 806 Madison Avenue between 68th & 68th Streets, Upper East Side
The game of Musical Stores on Madison Avenue will continue as famed Swiss shoe and accessory brand Bally will move from its current home in the GM Building to Georg Jensen's shop at 687 Madison. Georg Jensen, by the same token will relocate further uptown to 698 Madison.
what may seem like lateral move for both companies may in fact be something of marginal improvement for Bally, which has endured continuing efforts to reposition and improve its fashion image in its GM building location through a series of creative directors. The move will have it taking the entire southeast corner of 62nd and Madison including not only the Jensen store but also the adjacent former Church's shop which has been closed for several months now creating a total of about 3,000 square feet. It is a somewhat more favorable location just a block up from Barneys with a much more intimate scale than the cavernous GM Building space.
Georg Jensen's new home will have be the former Kentshire shop where, between the ground floor and the basement, it will have 1,600 square feet to display the famous Danish jewelry and silver designs.
No word yet on who will takeover the current Bally store which is on the back end of a wing that features a temporary (or possibly not so temporary if rumors are to be believed) Cartier store, and if there is a new Church's store in the works, something New York City hasn't been long without in decades, then it is still under wraps.
Things couldn't be going better for Riccardo Tisci at Givenchy, where he may be the only designer at a luxury brand besides Karl Lagerfeld at Chanel and Fendi who seems secure and happy in his current role, but he is cleverly keeping his own signature brand alive by way of a hot collaboration with NikeLab that promises to get even hotter this summer. After his personal redesigns of the classic Nike Air Force Ones and Dunks, Tisci will be diving into activewear with a two delivery collection called NikeLab x RT: Training Redefined.
While it is likely that most of the collection for men and women will be worn as streetwear, it is designed to be fully compatible with the most intense athletic training which is why the preview image above features track-and-field star Sanya Richards-Ross and decathlete Ashton Eaton modeling looks form the line (Well, OK, they are also featured because they are potential Olympians who look fantastic in even the most mundane athletic wear, but they look even more awesome here).
What we know so far is that the first delivery in July will consist of jackets, tops, tights, shorts and footwear for men and women in black and white graphic patterns. The second delivery in August is timed and themed to tie into the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, and features lush floral prints featuring blossoms native to Portland Oregon where Nike is headquartered and was founded, Taranto, Italy where Tisci hals from, and Rio, home of this year's Olympics and a favorite travel destination of the designer. We are conservatively expecting this particular capsule collection to be huge, and it should be available at the NikeLab store in SoHo as well as other retailers that have previously offered the Nike x R.T. collaborations previously like Barneys, Dover Street Market and Kith, to name a few, though no official retailer list has been released.
Fans of shiny, plastic shoes will be pleased to hear that Melissa Shoes is reportedly moving its flagship store from a modest storefront on Greene Street to Tommy Hilfiger's former store at 500 Broadway (pictured above) right next door to Bloomingdale's. The Brazilian brand known for its leather-free footwear and collaborations with designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Vivienne Westwood and Jason Wu, to name a few, will enjoy a big step up both in profile and square feet nearly doubling the store's selling space and increasing visibility immeasurably. As for the store that the brand is leaving at 102 Greene Street (pictured below), it is rumored to be Fendi's next home at SoHo, suggesting that the odd, windowless space right next door that Fendi recently moved into is in fact just a temporary space for the main luxury brand as it waits to move into a more appropriately proportioned store.
Sometimes a short lead time is so much better than months and months of anticipation and buildup. If anyone was wondering whether or not there would be a follow-up to last year's collaboration between Nike and Givenchy creative director Riccardo Tisci, there will be.
After last year's colorful remaking of the iconic Air Force 1 sneaker, Tisci is taking on another beloved model, the Dunk. The NikeLab Dunk Lux High x RT re-proportions the classic sneaker with a higher high top, a bigger swoosh and a deeper sole that should already have fans lining up outside the few outlets where it will be sold. The black version with a white swoosh is the first to arrive on February 11th, and the reverse, white with a black or red swoosh will follow in the coming months much as the varying colorways were doled out in last year's collaboration. As the previous team-up was more about decoration, this time around it is a more minimalist take on the collectors' favorite. “The Nike Dunk has a fascinating legacy,” Tisci says in a press release. “It has been both mainstream and niche, adopted by communities of varying size and influence. But no matter the model, the Dunk has always had a cultural cachet that, as a designer, I’m quite drawn to.”
The NikeLab Dink Lux High x RT sneaker will be available at NikeLab retailers like the boutiques on Mercer Street in SoHo and inside Dover Street Market as well as other select stores who have remained unnamed but very likely comprise the usual suspects who sold the last collaboration (Kith? Barney's? etc.). It will also be available online at nike.com/nikelab, so set your alarms to line up early, and look for it to be the prized footwear of choice among runway showgoers as Fashion Week shifts into high gear for the women's collections.
So it's not exactly the best week to go out Sample Sale shopping what with the sidewalks piled waist high with heaps of snow and the propensity for more, darker, dirtier slush growing as the week continues, but there are some signs of life during this quiet stretch of the season.
Because of the blizzard, DENNIS BASSO had to cancel the weekend days of his sale at Soiffer-Haskin, but don't worry of you think you missed the boat. The sale is now extended through Friday, so there's still time to go nab that discounted sable coat.
While your shoe thoughts may be running to sturdy, knee-high waterproof storm boots right about now, you may want to shift gears for UNITED NUDE's seasonal sale which started yesterday at its NoHo flagship store and features both high-tech casual sneakers for men and women as well as more innovative high heels at an enticing 70% off. Shop through Saturday the 30th.
Starting today, Upstart fur outerwear and accessory label JOCELYN will be taking 70% off its collections in the Garment District. Look for bold, colorful and fairly well-priced coats, jackets and vests that have garnered a following amongst Instagram style stars. Shop through Thursday the 28th.
Tomorrow, THEORY will kick off its seasonal round of multiple samples sales at Chelsea Market. Known for running a series of sales (another one is already set for next month) this one is designated women's only and promises up to 70% Off through Saturday the 30th.
On Thursday, up and coming menswear designer ERNEST ALEXANDER is offering up to 80% off his men's bags, accessories and sportswear (pictured above) for two days only in his NoMad showroom. Look for one-off samples and prototypes along with regular stock.
Finally, gentlemen looking for savings on the most elegant hand-tailored clothing can be relied upon to converge upon Soiffer-Haskin for the seasonal KITON sale starting on Sunday the 31st. Look for the celebrated Neapolitan label's complete offerings to be available including suits, luxury sportswear, dress shirts and furnishings and shoes through Wednesday the 3rd of February.
See our SALE ROLL sidebar for locations and details as well as late breaking sales and schedule changes. Next week, keep an eye out for a women's PORTS 1961 sale and an ALICE and OLIVIA blowout in a new location. Shop well!
In today's Thursday Styles, this week's Critical Shopper Molly Young makes her way to Soho to check out the Repetto flagship or Mecca for generations of ballet flat fans. it is not, however, the eternal ballet flat that interests out shopper this week. She gives it its proper historical context (Brigitte Bardot, Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse etc.), and there are clearly lots of them to be had there for both professional dancers and civilians alike, but it is the other items at Repetto that really catch our shopper's eye. The well priced sportswear gets its due, although it seems a little bit too well-priced to have actually been made in France, but the item that sticks is a fawn-colored ankle boot. "It felt like having someone gently blow kisses toward my foot from a distance," she describes, which seems tough to resist, even for $425. And yet, the delicacy that makes it such a treat for her feet is also its chief drawback, How could such a dainty piece of footwear stand up to the rough sidewalks of New York? Of her trusty shopping partner she finally says, ". . .I’m grateful for friends who remind me of the important things in life — like keeping the maximum amount of shoe between me and New York City’s fathomless secretions," —perhaps finally remembering the heartbreak of having a new pair of shoes destroyed by the very streets of the city we call home. We have all been there.
Critical Shopper: Be a French Girl. Or Just Look Like One. By Molly Young (NYTimes)
Repetto 400 West Broadway between Spring & Prince Streets, SoHo