Little Girl Tribeca Edition

07zCRITICAL1-superJumboThere's a strange sort of ambivalence in this week's Thursday Styles where we will find Critical Shopper Alexandra Jacobs' review of Tribeca's La Garçonne, "the physical manifestation of an almost decade-old clothing website for Francophile minimalists whose budgets and sartorial daring have graduated from Agnès b. and A.P.C. to more-obscure brands like Vetements and A Détacher". Most of it appears to stem from the boutique's location in TriBeCa, that deceptive Manhattan enclave of wealth, most of it ensconced without irony in former industrial buildings. Suspicion of rich people will always be commonplace and was a particular peeve of O.G. Critical Shopper Alex Kuczynski where it morphed into a strange sort of self-suspicion, and then, we suspect, full-on dementia, but we digress.

In the fashion and retail world, these sorts of misgivings are especially unseemly, since given the current staggering cost of luxury goods, the fashion industry would have completely collapsed sometime in the last century without the enthusiastic support of the wealthy for whom price tags are mostly irrelevant.
Who do you think keeps the Rodartes of today in business?
It ain't their Facebook fans, that's for sure.
Anyway, we digress once more...

Back to Ms. Jacobs, who is visiting La Garçonne with a friend who was having more success in shopping the sale. Our shopper proceeds to try on things that sound unattractive and are indeed unflattering.

"...I virtuously resisted a Jil Sander dress that could have doubled as a parachute and more-upscale version of the Uniqlo cardigan I had tied around my waist.
Then there were the drop-crotch lyocell carpenter shorts by R13 ($365), which I could not only not pull off, but also could not pull off fast enough. 

And yet she vows to return, undaunted by price or questionable design. It's the eternal love/hate of fashion (and Manhattan neighborhhods, really). We love the clothes. We hate how much they cost, and by extension —just a little bit— the people who can afford them. And yet, we keep coming back.

Critical Shopper: Off the Web and Into TriBeCa By Alexandra Jacobs (NYTimes)
La Garçonne 465 Greenwich Street between Debrosses & Watt Streets, TriBeCa


Fellow Barber & Shinola Team Up To Give Dad A Father's Day Makeover

Last month it was flowers for Mom, and, now, for Father's Day, Shinola's Tribeca flagship (pictured above) is teaming up with Fellow Barber, the men's mini-chain (originally known as F.S.C. Barber) that is dedicated to the revival of time-honored barbershop traditions including classic cuts and straight razor shaves. In fact there is a barber chair in the Tribeca store right now offering barber services, apothecary goods and more. The event will be running through Father's Day on June 15th, and the special twist here is that it will be available by appointment only, which is a departure from the usual first-come-first-served policy at Fellow Barber's West Village, Williamsburg and SoHo shops. We have been told that Sam Buffa, the company's founding barber whose chair time is extremely coveted by loyal customers, will be among those providing cuts, so this may be a rare opportunity for barber shop enthusiasts to experience his skills without a long wait. Book soon, however. There is only one chair in the store, and you may not be able to breeze in at the last minute for a quick cut and shave.
Click through for full details and appointment instructions.

Continue reading "SHORT BACK & SIDES PLEASE:

Fellow Barber & Shinola Team Up To Give Dad A Father's Day Makeover" »


Spring Comes To Shinola With A Flower Pop-Up & Block Party With Steven Alan

ShinolaStevenAlanBlockPartySpring, it seems, is finally here for real, and our friends at Shinola are celebrating. You would think that a brand from Detroit would be less rattled by the horrible Winter we have all just endured, but they seem happier than anyone to look ahead to warmer days.

The Shophound stopped Shinola's TriBeCa boutique earlier this month to see how the unconventional brand revival was faring. We hadn't been in since it opened last year, and it seems that things are more than humming along nicely. The Detroit factory can't seem to make those smartly designed watches fast enough, and there are more styles than ever, with many of them out on the counter for you to peruse and try on at will. The smart leathergoods collection continues to expand with new styles and colors, and even the bicycle division is growing, including a special loaner program that puts guests from the nearby Greenwich Hotel on a Shinola Bike to cycle around the city during their stays. Not content to rest on its own community-minded business model, the store has regularly spearheaded additional initiatives, including a program with Brooklyn's Public-Supply which offers a classic box of 12 No. 2 graphite pencils in signature Shinola Orange for a mere $12. whose profits will support creative arts classrooms in Detroit Public Schools.

But it's this week that the store is extra busy.
Starting with Thurdsay evening May (click the image above to enlarge) 1 at 6 PM, Shinola is hosting a Franklin Street Block Party along with neighbor Steven Alan to kick off their road-show and celebrate the new season. Alan will be offering 20% off his private label line in his stores, and Shinola will be offering free monogramming for the event. There will be Roberta's Pizza for all and complimentary drinks from George Dickel (provided you have ID, of course).

But that's not all. On Saturday the 3rd, Shinola will be hosting a Mother's Day Flower Store Pop-Up with Fox Fodder Farm where customers can order arrangements for Mom (or whoever you think needs some flowers) in advance or buy them right there.
And stay tuned for June, where there will be another special pop-up for Father's Day.


Precious Menswear Edition

30CRITICAL_ALTSPAN-superJumboAs if on cue, Today's Thursday Styles features Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica at the store menswear blogs have been buzzing about for the past few weeks. The Armoury, in unlikely TriBeCa, describes itself as "Artisanal Clothiers" which should be a red flag for anyone who has a low threshold for clothing purveyors who may take themselves just a bit too seriously. Caramanica has, on occasion, been just such a person, but today he is completely enthralled by the store, which also has a sibling in Hong Kong. Even a $65 pocket square with hand-rolled edges seems irresistible. "You wanted to buy a whole summer suit just to have something to wear it with," he writes. Somehow, The Armoury has made the usually rarefied clothes that get salivated over on Tumblr and Instagram more accessible.

Reblogs do not a style make. But the Armoury makes a certain refinery almost approachable, and appealingly intimate. Just ask the Drake’s cashmere turtleneck ($500) that loved me so much, it clung to me tightly and didn’t want to be taken off. Now it’s calling me, texting me at all hours. “When can we be together,” it wants to know..

Oh, we have all been there.

Critical Shopper: In TriBeCa, a Savile Row Fantasy By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
The Armoury 168 Duane Street, Tribeca


Knowing S#!? From Shinola Edition

22zCRITICAL1-articleLargeWell, we couldn't resist the headline. In fairness, it is fitting, because in analyzing the unlikely reinvention of shoe-polish brand Shinola in today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica finds surprising parallels with the company's Detroit-centric focus and the kind of global "Fair Trade" businesses that have emerged over the past decade or so supporting developing countries.

Buying something made in Detroit, in this calculus, is not much different than buying a fair trade Andean sweater. You’re buying a small piece of the revival of a great American manufacturing city gone to seed. Or at least, you’re buying into the liberal idea of what supporting a distressed economy means.

In a particularly merciless mood this week, Caramanica pulls no punches in evaluating the goods available. The bicycles are handsome but stunningly expensive. The watches are attractive, but reminiscent of styles from Fossil, a brand not coincidentally owned by the same man behind Shinola's revival. There is also little charity for him as Caramanica calls him "a midprice watch mogul looking to go luxury under the cover of charitable business practices." Well, I suppose one could be called worse.

Critical Shopper: The Next Branding of Detroit By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Shinola 177 Franklin Street between Hudson & Greenwich Streets, TriBeCa
Brand New Vintage: On The New Shinola Store And The Allure Of Faux Nostalgia


Urban Alpha Male Edition

NYTcritical In this week's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper John Caramanica makes his way to the heavily publicized Best Made Co. in Tribeca. What can you say about a store that opens in Tribeca in 2013 to sell $300 axes? Who needs an axe, anyway? Caramanica decides to embrace the store, even though he notes that this sort of hyper rugged lumberjack-chic peaked a couple of years ago when Sweden's Fjällräven opened its gear-filled shop in NoLiTa. Our shopper is ultimately seduced by the surprising, primal appeal of holding a finely made, chopping implement.

Some people dress a certain way to feel more like a man, and some people buy an ax. Or at least think about it, dream about it, while their better halves are curled up in the bed, facing the wall, like in Hopper’s “Excursions into Philosophy.”

Is there really a customer for such high-end ruggedness here in Manhattan? It turns out that the urban metropolis has its share of folks who long to camp under the stars away form the city swirl, but only in a particular, high-quality-minded style. We don't know any of them, but we'll take Caramanica's word for it.

Critical Shopper: Brick and Mortar and Cold Steel By Jon Caramanica (NTimes)
Best Made Co. 36 White Street between Broadway & Church Street, Tribeca


Steven Alan Hosting
A Designer Swap Meet This Month

Re-ClosetIt's unusual for a retailer to encourage customers to bring clothes back to the store, but then, Steven Alan has always been an unconventional sort of shopkeeper. Later this month his Franklin Street showroom will be hosting an event with the online re-selling community Material Wrld called RE-CLOSET in which customers are invited to either bring in 5 to 10 pieces of clothing they would like to sell, or come a few days later to buy what is being offered —or both.

You won't be allowed to dump just anything in a bin and collect your cash, however. They will be accepting only women's and men's designer or high-end vintage clothes, accessories or shoes in excellent condition that can be resold for above $50 at the minimum, so no H&M castoffs or odd pieces that got a drink spilled on them. On the plus side, this could be an excellent opportunity to shed some of those ill-advised sample sale purchases we all have hiding in our closets. Specifically, they warn, "No handmade, mass brands, fast fashion, odors, counterfeit items, children’s clothing, and no tears and stains," so be warned: all donations will be scrutinized. Sign up HERE to sell.

If you are looking to buy, however, you can RSVP HERE to shop on Sunday April 28th where thay will be serving hors d'oeuvres, complimentary drinks and are even promising a Taco Truck parked at the curb.

Sellers will receive 50% of the ticket price if their items sell, so for those of you with no patience to re-sell on eBay or with other consignment shops (which is perfectly understandable) it can be a great way to squeeze some cash out of your own overstuffed closet.

Steven Alan x Material Wrld RE-CLOSET
Steven Alan Showroom 87 Franklin Street between Broadway & Church Street, Tribeca
Register to SELL on April 25-27 HERE
RSVP to SHOP on April 28th HERE


Steven Alan's Home Store Is Open

The fine folks at Steven Alan have kindly let us know that the retailer's long-awaited Home Furnishings store is finally open in TriBeCa. Located just a few steps down Franklin Street from the TriBeCa Annex. We have not gotten a chance to stop in yet, but we have been definitively informed that it will carry a full range of products for the home and garden including locally sourced goods like Good Candle, a curated selection of rugs and kilims by Susan Gomersall and Azy Schecter of KEA in Brooklyn, special glassware created in collaboration with Brooklyn Glass Studio, and home items from Fort Standard who also created the shop’s fixtures.

Alan tells us, “Typically, many design stores are predictable and feel like when you go in once, you almost never need to go back. This (Steven Alan Home Shop) is a quirky, eclectic assortment of things you want to buy; a space with both local and imported products from around the world. There’s a certain element of surprise, as the product will change frequently. Going in you won’t necessarily know what you’re going to find, but you’ll always want to take something home.”

The store is also launching Steven Alan's first furniture collection in collaboration with local furniture designer Jason Pickens. The line of made-to-order sofas in custom fabrics is called J Pickens for Steven Alan. The store is open now, so feel free to put it at the top of your weekend shopping plans.

Steven Alan Home Shop 158 Franklin Street between Varick & Hudson Streets, TriBeCa


Don't Miss Pop-Ups From John Bartlett & The Everlane Workshop This Weekend

There will be any number of pop-up shops materializing throughout the city between now and Christmas -way more than we can possibly catalog here- but two we won't want to miss are happening through this weekend.

The Everlane Workshop, which will be open through this Sunday, comes from the innovative web retailer dedicated to bringing high quality luxury basics to the public as directly as possible to keep prices stunningly low. Their workshop at the corner of Gansevoort and Washington streets will allow you to sample their tightly edited but beautifully made product lineup and order for yourself with a few exclusive extras. While the focus and quality is firmly at the luxury level, the prices are more chain store, and though they are not quite Uniqlo-low, they come pretty close. This week, the pop-up will be hosting special pre-reserved workshops that let customers make their own belt, necktie or add a customized cashmere patch to a featherweight cashmere sweater. The shop closes after Sunday, so you only have until then to see for yourself how Everlane's ribbed cashmere scarf that wraps around your neck twice like a cloud is a genuinely incomparable bargain at a mere $75.

PhotoOur friend John Bartlett is also revisiting the retail world this week to show off his latest Holiday collection as well as stage a sample sale at 174 Hudson Street in Tribeca through Sunday. In addition to that, this Saturday he will also add a pet adoption event in conjunction with Adopt NY, a league of rescue groups working to save animals from being euthanized and make New York's shelters No-Kill.

The Everlane Workshop runs through December 9th at 74 Gansevoort Street and Washington Street, Meatpacking District
John Bartlett's Holiday Pop-Up & Sample Sale runs through December 9th at 174 Hudson Street between Vestry & Laight Streets, Tribeca


Family Outing Edition

08CRITIC1-articleLarge The Critical Shopper is back in full force in today's Thursday Styles as Jon Caramanica returns from an extended Summer break and goes to an actual store. It is Tribeca's Patron of the New that brings our shopper back to action. In a new development, Caramanica, who has thus far focused his attention on men's departments or men's stores, offers his assessment of the entire store with the help of his shopping companion Ace. It is really the female progenitors in his family, however, through whom he filters his observations of the store, which is ironic for a store that focuses on directional, forward thinking fashion. Rocio handbags evoke great-grandma, and lady in the family is ascribed a garment that reflects her unique tastes.

On a rack at the back of the spacious store hung a black Denis Colomb wrap ($810) with echoes of Issey Miyake. It’s something my grandmother would have worn with neon Nikes for a day trip into the city from Sheepshead Bay to check out the Met. (On a day when she couldn’t be bothered to lift her Koos coat off its hanger, of course.) Nodding to my mother, whose vibrant, spangled early-1980s looks are captured in a series of photographs that I keep in my living room, there were slim pants by Thierry Mugler with rounded flaps at the hem, for equestrian events ($2,100), or the fringed belt by Ronald Pineau ($1,025), which suggested rodeo disco.

The Caramanica house sounds like it must have been a treasure trove of fashion. For his part, our shopper has a novel way of making his way through a store in a nostalgic haze that could prove to be an invaluable tool when it comes time to look for family gifts.

Critical Shopper: My Futuristic Family’s Closet By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Patron of the New 151 Franklin Street between Hudson & Varick Streets, Tribeca