After leading a nomadic existence for the past several years, Fendi's residency in SoHo will finally become permanent when it moves into its mew location for the foreseeable future at 99 Greene Street. The fabled Roman luxury brand has taken out 6,000 square feet where it will be able to spread out and present its full offerings after occupying a series of pop-up along the same road. Joining Fendi will be Italian outer and casual wear brand Herno which has also taken space in the building. As far as we can tell, this will be Herno's first U.S. store, designed to raise the European brand's status in the U.S. from cult label to mainstay. Both stores are expected to debut sometime this spring, and they will join a host of tony brands on the block including Dior, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton and Jimmy Choo among others.
Real estate in New York City is a pretty ruthless business. There are fights between developers and cummunity boards and local politicians all the time, but it is unusual for the opening of a 55,000 square foot retail flagship to have its grand opening legally halted just hours before the doors were to be unlocked. That, however is what has happened to the new Nike store that was to open last Friday on the corner of Broadway and Spring Street in SoHo.
In a feud pitting Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, Community Board 2 and various other local officials against the Department of Buildings, the long awaited Nike store sits fully stocked and presumably staffed with its opening indefinitely postponed. The complaint concerns building regulations about the size of the store allowed in the space and the permits issued to redevelop 529 Broadway, the building that contains it. The protesters want Nike's certificate of occupancy recinded because, the company and the developer allegedly did not apply for the special permit required for stores over the 10,000 square foot limit imposed by the area's zoning rules. In addition, it is alleged that the DOB issued an alteration permit to build the building rather than demolition one. All of these discrepancies require greater public and oversight. Brewer and her cohorts allege that they were denied their rightful input by the DOB's arbitrary permit granting policies which allegedly favor developers over community input. Further arguments include details about party walls and how much of the original building on the site was retained that fall into the category of real estate arcana. The upshot is that Brewer and company have chosen the Nike Store to make their stand against the DOB. Now eager sneakerheads who were erroneously lined up outside the store on Friday morning will be waiting indefinitely until an agreement between all parties can be reached to grant Nike the temporary certificate of occupancy it needs to open its doors.
Brewer and company probably feel that a huge multibillion dollar corporation and presumably greedy developers are easy and suitably high-profile targets for their cause, but perhaps they shouldn't have waited until hours before the store was to open to throw a wrench into everyone's gears. The building has been under construction for years. Nike's plans for the store were also not a secret. Did they really need to wait until the last minute to protest improprieties? Now, there are not only eager customers waiting to shop at a major new store from one of America's most popular brands, but also a whole staff of workers for the multilevel store who expected that their jobs would start last Friday. It is not known how long Nike will be willing to pay managers, sales and stock staff for a store that is not being allowed to open and isn't selling anything. The company has already had to cancel at least one of the new product launches that bring customers streaming to their stores. Hopefully, the parties will be able to resolve their dispute in a timely manner. It seems unlikely Nike will actually have to pack up its big new store and find it another home, but now wonders if the city is really doing itself any favors by forcing it to sit idle right at the point it was ready to open.
New York shoppers were disappointed to say the least last year when Pearl River Mart, the beloved Asian emporium in SoHo, was forced out of its Broadway home by a fivefold rent increase. The company has switched to an online business model since then, but the void it left has been glaring. There's good news for hopeful fans of the store, however. Pearl River Mart is set to return with an 8,000 square foot pop-up store on November 17th at 395 Broadway in Tribeca. In February, the pou-up will close for a build-out to become a permanent store. It will not be a replica of its 30,000 square foot SoHo predecessor (pictured above), however. Due to the smaller space, the store will forgo some of its more arcane departments such as traditional Chinese medicine and musical instruments. Some of the outsized decor items such as giant buddha figures will also be gone from the assortments, but popular departments like apparel and home and kitchen goods should be represented in abundance. According to Joanne Kwong, the new president of Pearl River, the new store will dedicate space to presenting Asian and Asian-American culture with a rotating assortment of products from designers and artists meant to educate shoppers of Asian traditions with special events and demonstrations.
The new store is still relatively close to Pearl River's SoHo and Chinatown roots, and hopefully, longtime fans will have not trouble finding it once it reopens.
It has been the retail equivalent of couch surfing for Fendi in SoHo for a while, now. While the brand has found the block it wants, it has been bouncing around from pop-up to pop-up for several seasons. First on the corner of Greene and Prince Streets, a space absorbed by the Louis Vuitton boutique, and then a few doors down in an awkwardly long and narrow store that subverts its visibility almost entirely. Multiple reports, however have the LVMH-owned luxury label in talks for a more appropriate, permanent space just across the street in the former home of Space NK at 99 Greene Street. Pushed aside in favor of bigger siblings Vuitton and Dior no longer, the brand will be able to settle comfortably in its own 6,000 square foot store in the middle of the block between Spring and Prince Streets. Look for a more spacious new store to appear there sometime next year.
It's been a minute since we talked about the Thursday Styles' Critical Shopper here at The Shophound because, you know, we've been doing it for a while, but today marks a first for the column: two Critical Shoppers combine forces as Jon Caramanica and Katherine Bernard explore the new Rick Owens boutique in SoHo together. After quite some time of each shopper ignoring the offerings for the opposite gender in the boutiques they have covered, we are finally getting a comprehensive assessment of everything all in one column.
So what have we learned? Not too much about what we didn't already know, though both critics concur that Owen's clothes, freeform-like though they may often seem, disappointingly appear to look their best on the willowy model-esqe type of person so beloved of designers in general. Though only one of our shoppers comes close to fitting that bill —Ms. Bernard is determined to be Tilda Swinton-esque in her angular haircut— they soldier on, noting the significance of Owens' sumptuous fabric innovations that aren't always apparent from afar. Ultimately, they conclude that Owens is more Rick-Owens-y than ever at his new, more accessible location on the corner of Howard and Crosby Streets. This is good for him commercially since the designer has been so pervasively copied in recent years that his signature look, though not exactly classical, now feels much less avant-garde than it once did. It's all still hideously expensive, though, even if the pre-Raf Simons era Jil Sander boutique it took over has been stripped of its polished marble in favor of humbler concrete.
A few flashes of lightning in the sky weren't enough to keep VIP sneaker heads away from the opening party at the new Adidas Originals store last night. This sub brand of the athletic wear giant made waves several years ago when it debuted its previous store on Wooster Street with an open air storefront and an abundance of those nostalgic sneaker styles we all remember from our collective youth. The brand —the one with the original Adidas trefoil insignia— has evolved quite a bit since then, and while still able to wield enough promotional power to launch a full-scale revival of its classic Stan Smith tennis shoe a couple of years ago, it has grown to encompass more modern cutting edge design as well as exclusive collaborations with influential stores, designers and, yes, pop stars. Having outgrown its SoHo showplace, Adidas has finally opened a new one on Spring Street with much more room to show off its latest revivals –the "Gazelle" is the vintage model du jour now— as well as hot collaborations and vastly enlarged wall of shoes (pictured above) to peruse.
It's a lot more store for Adidas lovers to shop, and that's saying something significant these days when every retailer is seriously reviewing the returns on its square footage. Standouts from last night's opening included graphic womenswear from Rita Ora's ongoing collaboration with the label as well as our personal fave, the White Mountaineering x Adidas collection (pictured below), a team up with the influential Japanese men's label.
Last night's party centered around a short film made in collaboration with rapper Joey Bada$$, and Adidas hung on to its old store just enough to usher guests there for a private concert but the hip hop performer and his crew before it gets turned over to a new tenant —kind of like throwing one last blowout party in your old apartment before you move out.
Hopefully Adidas will get their deposit back.
Well, maybe they don't care.
Adidas Originals now open at 115 Spring Street between Mercer & Greene Streets, SoHo
Jewelry designer John Hardy has built a strong business over the past few decades with his intricately handmade silver and gold creations sold mainly through major department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue and Neiman Marcus, but now that his label is under new ownership, its distribution is being re-thought with his first freestanding U.S. boutiques opening this fall. One will be in Houston TX, but the other, more prominently, will be on Prince Street in SoHo, number 118 to be precise (pictured above) which happens to be just a couple of doors away from his main competitor in the luxury silver jewelry game, David Yurman. It's never a bad thing to place your store near your competition. It only makes it easier to fight for the customers you share, although placing it two doors away on the same block might be just bit obvious. The 1,200 square foot store (rendering pictured below), formerly a BareMinerals location, is set to open in November, just in time for Holiday Shopping, and customers will see a newly elevated offering featuring more gold and precious stones alongside Hardy's famous Bali-crafted silver chains and bracelets.
Scoop NYC, the fast growing retail chain that rode the contemporary designer explosion of the turn of the 21st Century to great success is facing some new challenges. WWD reports that the chain has closed its 10,000 square foot flagship in SoHo (pictured above) and is mulling the future of other branches —possibly that of the entire chain.
The retailer's ailment is not sales, apparently, but its rapid expansion during a time when prime locations have been scarce and renting only at top dollar rates. Margins at scoop are said to be in excess of 46% of sales and over $1,000 per square foot, enviable business levels by anyone's standards, but they are being eaten away by rents that are too high and stores that are too big, hence the closure of the chains largest and possibly most expensive one.
Started just 20 years ago by Stefanie Greenfield and Uzi Ben-Abraham, Scoop helped pioneer the upper contemporary/ designer boutique chain by mixing prestige designer labels like Missoni, Margiela and Derek Lam with resurgent premium denim brands and more casual contemporary fare, and presenting merchandise by lifestyle rather than by label. The billed the store as "The Ultimate Closet", and their concept won acclaim and lots of customers. Eventually, menswear was added in the same manner, and though the results in that category wound up looking fairly middle-of-the-road in terms of fashion, commercially it was a hit, offering side-by-side shopping for couples. Similarly merchandised chains like Intermix and Barneys Co-op also thrived alongside Scoop in its heyday, But Barneys has discontinued the Co-op division and converted its locations to more upscale, small Barneys boutiques, while the broader expansion of Intermix is now backed by Gap Inc. Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Cos. acquired Scoop in 2007, and is said to have ruled out a bankruptcy filing, though liquidation may not be off the table. The chain still has 15 stores left, mostly in New York City and Long Island, but also in key cities including Los Angeles, Dallas, Miami, Chicago, Las Vegas and Atlanta but only with single units. Its most recently opened store is in Brookfield Place in the financial district. It sounds like we should expect to see a few more Scoop store closures in the coming months, but hopefully, the chain isn't ready to give up the ghost just yet.
Or maybe it is.
Over the weekend, Scoop stores started running 10% Off storewide store closing sales in all remaining 15 locations with merchandise expected to hold out for 8 to 12 weeks. The aforementioned overhead costs have reportedly clobbered the chain out of viability, with with unrealistic double digit comp numbers required to ensure profitability against high rents on oversized stores. In other words, there is no feasible path forward for the chain. In New York City, the remaining Scoop locations are on Third Avenue between 73rd and 74th Streets, Brookfield Place, and separate men's and women's stores on Washington Street between 13th and 14th Streets in the Meatpacking District as well as East Hampton and Wheatley Plaza stores on Long Island.
Much admired men's store Carson Street announced that it would close its doors at the end of June after just over three years in business.
Originally opened on Crosby Street as Carson Street Clothiers (pictured at right), the store recently made a major move to a larger but somewhat more out-of-the-way space last Fall coinciding with a new abbreviated name and distinct change in direction from a modern, updated classic point of view to a more progressive style. Perhaps it was too much change too fast. Trouble seemed to be brewing earlier this week when cofounder Brian Trunzo announced his exit from the company to pursue his own projects. The store's 2013 debut was highly anticipated by industry watchers as an audacious project from menswear fans but retailing outsiders Trunzo and Matt Breen. The shop's construction was chronicled on Esquire.com, and was greeted with praise when its doors finally opened featuring a well edited assortment of the most favored menswear designers of the moment displayed in a welcoming setting featuring a cozy lounge and friendly salespeople. The location was smartly chosen as Crosby Street became home to more and more complementary stores like Saturdays NYC and Miansai. The arrival of Seattle's Totokaelo last fall seemed to solidify the street as a prime destination for shopping, but Carson Street was already planning to relocate to a block of Greene Street that was further off the beaten path of shoppers.
A new, separate wholesale collection called Deveaux was launched earlier this year at New York Fashion Week Men's for this fall, which may have been one complication too many too many for the still growing company. That business will continue even as the store closes, and is expected to be found at Totokaelo, United Arrows and Spruce according to WWD.
The Shophound will miss browsing through Carson Street's racks, and its always sad to see a promising shop depart before its time, but the predictable silver lining remains what will have to be an excellent G.O.B. sale over the next couple of months.
A new Critical Shopper has arrived at the Thursday Styles today. We don't know if Katherine Bernard will take over Molly Young's women's shopping duties permanently, but she does give us a respectable survey of the new Balmain boutique that quietly opened its doors earlier this month in SoHo. Don't worry if you are concerned that glittering label's thirst for publicity is starting to wane. The official opening party is scheduled as this year's Met Ball after-party on Monday night. Now you can picture the requisite Kardashian/West/Jenner extravaganza, and our shopper reminds us that it is almost impossible to make mention of the Balmain brand without also using the words Kardashian and Instagram. She also notes pointedly that Instagram followers do not necessarily translate into throngs of eager customers. Despite Balmain's social media following of multiple millions, the store is a quiet and serene environment in neutral shades of beige and black when she visits mostly because clicking 'like' and 'follow' are free, but owning single piece of Balmain apparel beyond a $365 t-shirt requires four figure investment at minimum. And what of those clothes? They are tight.
These clothes are honest. They hold you. My designer friend tells me that the fabric embrace comes from technically advanced four-way stretch. There’s pull and lift. There’s no darting or corseting, it’s just extremely special fabric.
Ultimately, the experience seems like a taste of fantasy, complete with a salesperson impersonating a paparazzo. For better or worse, Balmain and its once reserved designer Olivier Roustieng has thrown their lot in with social media stars and red carpet glitz. The rabid rush for last Fall's H&M collaboration collection proved that, so if runway walking in glittery opulence is your aspiration (and within your means), your boutique has arrived.