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Curb Your Vocabulary

Here are some words The Shophound is dropping from usage, and he suggests you do the same:
This one is just plain overused. What does it mean anymore? Creative? Innovative? Or just messy and a little ugly? If someone tells you something is edgy, then it probably isn’t anymore. Move on.
This one has always been irksome. It’s an unlikely contraction of “Fashion”(self explanatory) and “Sandinista” (a member of the leftist political organization that ruled Nicaragua for roughly a dozen years from 1979 to 1990.) One day, someone dreamed up this word, and, suddenly, anyone with a mild interest in fashion was some sort of Marxist dictator of style. It is not only inappropriate (unless you are famous ex-communist Miuccia Prada), but also, overused.
Now, if The Shophound understands correctly, this term refers to some sort of height challenged deity known as “Tom” and his concubine “Katie” who, apparently, are the first two people to actually make a baby themselves. Evidently it took several months, and the concubine grew it in a part of her body called a uterus. Astonishing! This all sound pretty messy, and like an awful lot of work when you could just order one from a stork like everyone else. Anyway it was this huge news story and people can’t stop talking about it. Well, The Shophound will, and you should too. If it shows up on TV, change the channel. If you hear people talking about it, then scold them until they stop. It works!

Wandering The Home Depot

Img_0676One day The Shophound needed some plywood, so he made his way over to The Home Depot, the one where Alexander’s once stood on Lexington Avenue. It is said that you could build a whole house from what’s carried in a single Home Depot store. While the possibility is entertaining, The Shophound didn’t need to build a house, he just wanted some plywood, about a 4 foot square of it to be exact. So he descended the escalator to the maze of aisles with their exhaustive stock of home items. You see, the Shophound isn’t just about boutiques and fashion. He can appreciate a good hardware store as much as the next guy, and The Home Depot is a hardware store on steroids, even better.
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Hide and Seek part II: Nom De Guerre

It’s all about hiding these days. The first time The Shophound tried to visit Nom de Guerre, he had to walk the block several times before he realized that it was actually underground. What a clever way to keep out the riff raff and Slack-Jawed-Tourists.Img_0520Why, the sign was right there, painted on the pavement, almost totally worn away. The bright Copy Shop sign provided easy cover for this stealthy little shop.
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Alex K. Goes Shopping: Prada Edition

Prada2It’s Thursday and you know what that means. NY Times Critical Shopper Alex Kuczynski has gone shopping again. In the past few weeks, she has broken bombshells such as the discovery that Barney’s is expensive, and Pier 1 is cheap and reeks of stinky potpourri. Thanks Alex. Where would savvy New Yorkers be without you? This week, instead of disclosing embarrassing personal details (she hoards her Barney’s shopping bags and took 10 years to work up the nerve to walk into the place), Dedicated Dress Barn customer Alex K. has wisely chosen to focus on the store at hand and makes yet another startling discovery. Prada in SoHo is pretentious!
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Hide and Seek with Maison Martin Margiela

Img_0478Do you know what Martin Margiela looks like? Neither does anyone else. He refuses to be photographed. He is the only major designer who has actually never had a logo. Is it any surprise that his first boutique in the U.S. is practically hidden from view? He is either hopelessly pretentious, or incomparably clever, or both depending on your point of view. Nevertheless, since he is the first prominent Belgian designer to open a boutique on these shores, The Shophound decided to hunt for this mysterious new shop, and nearly walked right by its Greenwich Street location because it’s disguised as a dingy junk shop. It even has a realtor’s sign pasted where a window should be. More after the jump

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Patricia Field: Up From the Underground

Img_0558Before Patricia Field became famous for dressing four slutty sexy ladies on TV, she was famous for dressing the denizens of the hottest clubs in New York. Her original 8th Street shop was a landmark to goth girls and go-go boys alike with its daring windows and drag queen staff. When it moved to SoHo, however, it never seemed to fit in the increasingly tourist clogged neighborhood. Now Field has moved, once again, to a more appropriately gritty locale, the Bowery, and her new store looks right at home again. Only a few steps from CBGB’s, it is comfortably nestled among the restaurant suppliers. Except for a short lived outpost on 6th Avenue, Field’s shops have always occupied those sub-street level spaces, where one could literally descend underground into her glittery, feathered world. This time she has finally ascended up to the sidewalk, and the additional sunlight has done nothing to diminish the louche appeal of her store’s latest incarnation. Now enjoying well deserved success as a costume designer, Field hasn't neglected her first calling. The airy shop features all the flamboyant frippery her clientele has come to expect, and then some. While The Bowery looks to be getting sleeker and shinier by the minute, Field’s street cred should go a long way to save it from total yuppie banality while benefiting from the traffic generated by the Whole Foods soon to open nearby on Houston. Welcome up to the street level, Pat!

Patricia Field 302 Bowery New York NY 10012

Don't Be Caught Dead: Chapter 2

Img_0525Look, We all like a cupcake or two, and The Shophound himself has been known to stop by The Magnolia Bakery on a quiet afternoon to satisfy his sweet tooth. It’s a charming, little outpost on Bleecker selling old fashioned lemon coconut cakes and snickerdoodle cookies. But seriously, You do not want to be seen lining up for sweets! I mean, really, if you are feeling even the slightest bit chubby you are going to feel like a hog waiting to get into a bakery. Img_0531_1Sure, the cupcakes are tasty, but hardly extraordinary, and they are self-serve, so God only knows how many people have been breathing who knows what on those things while crammed in that tiny shop. We must remind ourselves that just because they were on “Sex And The City” once, a few years ago, doesn’t mean they are the end all and be all of cupcakes! The show is gone. We must move on. Besides, Magnolia’s popularity has spawned a whole trend of retro bakers like Billy’s Bakery or The Buttercup Bake Shop who keep their (much better) cupcakes safely behind glass.

Empty on 8th Street

What’s happening on West 8th Street? During a recent walk on this key corridor connecting the East and West Villages, The Shophound found no less than fourteen empty storefronts from 6th Avenue to Patricia Field’s still vacant original shop between 5th Avenue and University Place. Img_0542Now, I’m not sure anyone will miss the pimpy distinctive fashions of the redundantly named Man + Plus, or some of the other charming boutiques featuring hooker clothes women’s club wear, but change appears to be afoot. Still open for business are Untitled, the lone purveyor of designer apparel and Rugged Sole with it’s expertly chosen assortment of sneakers.Img_0540Rest assured, there are still plenty of those stores full of scary stylish shoes, but why the sudden abundance of available retail space? Did these shops all fold simultaneously? Have rents on this seedy but busy thoroughfare suddenly shot up, or is there an organized gentrification program looming? Even Wet Seal is finally gone, though Bang Bang still remains. Could this be the next Bleecker Street? Stay tuned, We will be watching.

Don't Be Caught Dead: chapter 1

People! The Thai Lime & Chili Peanuts are not that good! In fact they’re kind of disgusting. It’s 4:30 in the afternoon and there is still a big line outside Trader Joe’s like it’s The Palladium (on whose cherished site it stands). Well, Junior has left the building! This is New York! We do not stand in a line for a grocery store like it’s Communist Russia or a sample sale.