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Alex K Doesn't Go Shopping: Conran Revisited

Alber1600Well, it looks like we are going to have to rethink this feature, as Alex Kuczynski seems to have relinquished her New York Times Thursday Styles post to a variety of newcomers. This week, Elizabeth Hayt takes the Critical Shopper reins and visits The Conran Shop. While she opens up about her failed marriage and nostalgia for the old Conran's Habitat, the revelations pale in comparison to our Alex's usual disclosures because Elizabeth appears to be...uh...sane. Apparently, she could connect no childhood trauma to an Eames chair, or at least none she wanted to share with Times readers. That's great for her and hers, but not so much for us. We are still hoping that this is a brief summer vacation for Alex, but we're not holding our breath.

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Bamn! The Automat Lives!


Falling in the category of things we never thought anyone would ever bother reviving is the automat. And therein lies the charm of Bamn!, the first new automat the city has seen in decades. "Satisfaction is Automatic!" reads the sign above the bank of hot food compartments. Not a restaurant, exactly, it's sort of a giant vending machine on steroids with heated shelves. offerings include all manner of fried things, chicken nuggets, pizza wontons, even wings among other comfort food choices, all for $2 each or less.

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Breaking News: Olivier Theyskens Landing at Nina Ricci?

Theyskens In what has to be one of the shortest job hunts in fashion history, Women's Wear Daily and Vogue UK are reporting that Olivier Theyskens, only just axed from Rochas, is just moments away from finalizing a deal to take over creative duties at Nina Ricci, rather than relaunching his own label. Theyskens' existing relationship with Ricci parent company Puig's Fashion Group president Mario Grauso is cited as one of the main reasons for this move, which has apparently been in the works for quite a while. In fact, Puig had offered to buy Rochas outright, but Procter & Gamble wanted to hold on to the profitable fragrances. Ricci is a house with a long tradition of Prêt-à-Porter and its Haute Couture collection was closed only in 1998, after Puig purchased the house from the family owners. It would be an easy fit for Theyskens' rarefied aesthetic. Puig also owns Carolina Herrera and Paco Rabanne, and is not likely to be daunted by the demands of running a luxury fashion brand like his previous employer was. Ricci's bottom line is kept aloft by a robust fragrance and cosmetic business led by the classic scent, L'Air du Temps. As for departing designer Lars Nilsson, he is rumored to be close to signing his own deal here in New York, and there is a resounding chorus of "No comment!" from all parties in question, except for Oscar de la Renta, whose executives have expressly denied speculation that Nilsson would be working there. In publicityland, of course, that means he is probably deep in discussions with them.

Olivier's Next Gig:  Nina Ricci Said Close to Signing Theyskens
Theyskens Arrives (Vogue UK)

Links For Another Bright Sunny Day

It's looking like another gray, drizzly morning here in NYC. Here's some entertaining stories while we wait for the onslaught of fall store openings:
Kate1Fishbowl NY has discovered Kate Moss' 12 steps to her continuing supermodel superstardom.

(Fishbowl NY)Kimora

The Daily reports that Baby Phat has already informed several prominent editors that their runway show is totally full, and will not be able to accommodate their presence...before they requested any tickets. And we thought it was just us.

(The Daily)

Rivers The Washington Post's Pulitzer winning fashion scribe Robin Givhan gives us a profile of lifelike resilient showbiz barnacle red carpet queen Joan Rivers, and then gives us her own wry take on Emmy Fashions.


We've already talked about the state of shoes. A recent visit to Bergdorf's & Barneys found the battle lines drawn with the sleek and elegant Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Christian Louboutin on one side and the superchunky Prada, Chloé and Marc Jacobs on the other. Fashionologie is going ape for the chunk, so what do we know? She also identifies the nearly unrecognizable star models in the new Lanvin ads. Such a useful girl!


Emmy Fashion Excess

14mWith all the fuss over Emmy fashion reviews on every TV show, really the best thing to do if you didn't sit through the show already, is to go to Style.com and decide for yourself. For our part nobody looked chic-er than Julia Louis-Dreyfus of all people in her white Narciso Rodriguez, and the prettiest girl on any red carpet always seems to be Evangeline Lilly from "Lost", this time in purple Versace. Sadly, Katherine Heigl's stunning retro effect was marred by some unfortunate under-boob sweat. Live and learn, Kathy. Whoever at E! decided that Debbie Matenopolous and the two Jays from America's Next Top Model are fashion experts has to be just a little bit impaired.12m Sure they are entertaining, in an unintentional sort of way. Debbie sound so very white when she repeatedly says "badonkadonk", despite her deep ochre spray tan. (Seriously, does anyone in Hollywood actually remember what color natural skin is supposed to be? I'm talking to you, Nancy O'Dell.) And who can take Jay Manuel seriously with that fried hair (and those clothes)? We do sort of love the way Jay Alexander will simply dismiss someone with a wave of his vogueing-ball trained hand. And as for TV Guide's Joan Rivers and her delightful daughter, the less said the better, although there is always camp value in watching prissy Leon Hall go to town on someone's hairdo. This is the time to go to Go Fug Yourself for the very best in fashion criticism. Well, it's always the time, but right now it's like Christmas over there, and the knives are out, so make time in your busy day for Jessica and Heather's unique point of view on all things Celebrity and Fashion.

Samsonite Black Label Lands on Madison


The fall store openings are about to begin, and Samsonite Black Label is getting a head start on the competition with its just opened Madison Avenue location. Samsonite has joined every other designer on the planet in differentiating their product lines by label color, so Black Label is the firm's premium collection, and its pitch for a foothold in the luxury category. To that end, they chose a prime spot between Cartier and Gucci to set up shop. And a tiny shop it is. The Shophound was cordially welcomed by three sales associates and a manager who must bump into each other regularly, but they all demonstrated the brand-new-store-eagerness we always appreciate, and nearly fell all over themselves to get information on products for us. This is no criticism. We only hope it lasts.

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Trend Warning: The Balenciaga Frankenfoot

Bal7 Bal6 Bal5


We have spent the last few weeks slogging through the Fall Phone Books magazines, Vogue, W, Elle, Harper's Bazaar, Popular Mechanics. Something we thought was simply a runway trick to make fashion shows amusing seems to have shoved its way through to the mainstream, and we're a little concerned. They remind us of those clodhoppers John Travolta wore in Saturday Night Fever. Even a couple of years later they were laughable. Frankly, we're surprised that we haven't heard from The Manolo on this issue, as he has never been silent about ungainly footwear like the dreaded Uggs. What started a few seasons ago as a charming revival of chunky 1940's platforms seems to have evolved into a whole new genre of steroid-induced footwear, like the Balenciagas pictured above, designed for the lady who walks into the shoe department and says,
"Hey, what have you got that will make me look like I have two club feet?"
"Got anything here that will make it really easy to twist my ankle?"
"I wanna look like a Clydesdale!"

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Alex K Doesn't Go Shopping: A New Critical Shopper?

24critic1650First of all, we apologize, because this column usually would appear bright and early on Thursday, but we felt it was important to catch the last few drops on beach sunshine we would see this summer. As we rode the ferry back into town, we thought about what crazy brain-fart we would find from Alex Kuczynski in her Critical Shopper column this week. As all regular Shophounder's know, we relish the Thursday Styles in the New York Times, just to see how our Alex will inject a little too much of herself into her weekly essays. Imagine our dismay when we saw this week's column penned by someone called Horacio Silva! Sometimes Alex will take a break, but this is the first time we have seen her column with a different byline. Is it curtains for Alex K? While it's too early to say if she has abandoned her adventures in consumerism, we remain hopeful that since this week's destination is the men's store Bblessing, perhaps the responsibilities were only temporarily assumed by a gentleman. What we read was a nicely observed survey of a new, hip emporium with just a dash of snark from both the writer and the store. Well, that's what we do. We don't need to read that from someone else.
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Fashion News: Vera Wang Finally Gets Engaged to Kohls

VeraCFDA Award Winning Designer, Bridal Queen and erstwhile Project Runway judge Vera Wang has finally ended years of rumors and speculation and signed with moderate retailer Kohl's to create Very Vera, a moderately priced apparel collection. We can expect to see it for Fall 2007 in Kohl's stores nationwide, that is if we ever manage to get to a Kohl's store. We don't actually know where one is. A lot of other people do, however, and Vera couldn't be happier to expand her customer base, especially because she is estimated to reap as much as $100 million from the deal.

Kohl's to Offer Designer Vera Wang Line (NYTimes)
Vera says 'I Do" to Kohl's (WWD)

Larsnilsson And the doors keep revolving. Nina Ricci designer Lars Nilsson has up and left the venerable Parisian house for unnamed "personal reasons." Nilsson had completed the Pre-Spring 2007 collection, and the Spring line will be completed by the remaining design team, but not presented on the runway. Speculation runs rampant that Ricci might be where outsted Rochas créateur Olivier Theyskens might land as Mario Grauso, the president of Puig, Ricci's parent, was seen at the last Rochas show. It seems more likely, however, that Theyskens will revive his own signature label. As for Nilsson, though Ricci's sales rose substantially under his creative direction, sources have him headed back to New York, where he once headed Bill Blass.

Nilsson Leaves Nina Ricci (Vogue UK)
Lars Nilsson Resigns at Nina Ricci (WWD)

Lohan It's no use dreading the inevitable. Ubiquitous starlet Lindsay Lohan is advancing her acting career by...creating a fragrance of course. Lohan tells Women's Wear Daily that she is in talks (which means her people are in talks) with Coty to launch a signature scent. You too can smell like a hard-partying post-teen starlet. Imagine that delightful aroma. Coty for their part refused to confirm or deny the story, which is wise. After all, remember when Lindsay announced she was costarring in "Mission Impossible III"? And then didn't.

Fashion Scoops: Eau De Lindsay? (WWD)

Happy Summer


The Shophound has never been one to take invitations to the beach lightly, even in the middle of the week. (Come on, it's August!) So in place of our usual programming, here is a pretty picture you should save and look at in February just to remind yourself that the weather will get better. As for today, get out from in front of your computer and enjoy the gorgeous last few weeks of summer. We will be back tomorrow with our usual mix of deeply important news and information.