« December 2006 | Main | February 2007 »

Fashion News: Chloe Dao Heads to QVC • Roland Mouret's Next Act


In the "whatever happened to..." category, we find Chloe Dao. Remember her? She was the second winner of Project Runway, and after her triumph, she retreated back to Houston, Texas to quietly continue building her business at her boutique Lot 8 far from the spotlights of either coast. She hasn't been heard from much until today which brings word that Dao will be creating a collection for QVC called Simply Chloe Dao debuting in May.
Chloe Dao Partners With QVC (WWD)

Rolandmouret1 RM will be the name on the label when Roland Mouret officially unveils his first collection after leaving the company that bore his name. The collection, is a prêt-à-porter line that will be shown off the official schedule during Paris Couture Week this July, and is the first complete line under his joint venture  with "American Idol" producer Simon Fuller called 19RM. Mouret's special collection for Gap Europe caused a frenzy in London, though it's limited stateside distribution was kept almost entirely under the radar. This will be Mouret's official return to the high fashion fold, and the line will start appearing at retail in November. If that's too long to wait, then the designer has a special preview for a lucky few early birds. Mouret has made 36 pieces of a dress that will be available starting Monday only at Bergdorf Goodman, with individually signed labels. Call your salespeople now.
Roland's Return (Vogue UK)

Is Skinny Finally Over?

SnejanaoThe whole skinny model controversy is a lot like Janet Jackson's right boob. Most people weren't remotely aware of it until they were instructed by the press to be outraged. Now that it's a full-blown PR nightmare scandal, and New York Fashion Week starts on Friday, what everyone is wondering is not what the clothes will look like, but if any designers will have the nerve to hire Snejana Onopka, Irina Lazareanu or any of the other disturbingly thin models that have been stalking the runways for the past few seasons. Or will those girls put on a few pounds and abandon their skeletal silhouettes? WWD reports that as the CFDA and other international fashion organizations are trying to save face by issuing guidelines and suggestions for models weight, designers like Karl Lagerfeld are bristling at the suggestion that anyone other than themselves should have the last word on who walks their runways and stars in their ads. Lagerfeld called the new guidelines and restrictions "politically correct Fascism."
Them's fightin' words!

Continue reading "Is Skinny Finally Over?" »

Is This Store Ever Opening or What? DvF's MePa Palace

Dvf1It seems like forever that Diane von Furstenberg has been renovating the southwestern corner of 14th and Washington Streets, and we would have guessed that she would want to open it with a splash during Fashion Week Dvf2 this season, but now that the scaffolding has come down, The Shophound can see that the future showplace is nowhere near ready to open. In fact the only element close to being finished is the grand staircase that was inserted through the roof several months ago. DvF is one of the smartest designers around, so we wouldn't expect her to rush anything, but haven't they been working on this building for, like, years already? Since the scaffolding (a blight on sidewalks all over the city, but particularly on this one) is finally gone, the rest of the block is actually usable again, and von Furstenberg has opened a small temporary store directly next door to the future flagship. It is currently home to her once again crowd pleasing collection including an ample selection of her classic wrapdress designs. So..maybe the big store will be ready in the fall?

Diane von Furstenberg                                 444 West 14th Street, Meatpacking District

Goodbye Old Japan: Marc Jacobs Multiplies on Bleecker

NewmjMarc Jacobs is angling to become the King of Bleecker Street.
The designer who is probably the most responsible for the luxury direction that has transformed the fromerly quaint shopping strip has reportedly just signed a lease for another shop 382 Bleecker Street. The 600 square foot former home of Old Japan Inc, a remnant of the old Bleecker, will become Jacobs' third location there (or his fourth if you count his men's & women's stores at 403 & 405 as two separate but connected stores). We don't yet know what he is planning for the typically compact shop, but he continues to emphasize Bleecker as a coveted address for companies that want to raise their fashion profiles even if the stores are generally too small to make a major impact on these large brands' bottom lines. WWD reports that Tod's and Lancôme are among the international firms looking for space there. We hope that stores like Leo and Clary & Co., two of our favorite independent retailers on the street can withstand the onslaught of corporate cash.

Luxe Factor Gets Boost on Bleecker

Celebretail/Hide and Seek: Helena Christensen's Danish Treat


The Shophound had been meaning to visit supermodel Helena Christensen's store Butik for a while now, but we only just realized that we have walked by it about a thousand times as it sits in that section of the Village that connects Bleecker Street with the Meatpacking District. What looks like someone's cluttery front yard is actually the entrance to this eccentric little shop. Christensen opened the store a couple of years ago with Leif Sigersen, a fellow Dane, to bring a little bit of Copenhagen to their adopted home. They came up with a clothing and interior design shop, but if you are expecting a showplace for sleek Scandanavian minimalism, think again. Butik is an intentionally jumbled little store that begs you to explore, as long as you have the patience for it. New apparel from Danish designers hang along with vintage finds and accessories. Occasionally one stumbles across the inscrutable, like a large leaf-shaped bowl displaying some battered "vintage" baby dolls, several with missing limbs priced at about $12 each. We're not sure what one would do with them besides creating a creepy tableau, but that's part of Butik's charm. It may not be everyone's cup of Danish tea but it is entirely original, and intriguing, an accomplishment in itself these days.
Butik Christensen & Sigersen 605 Hudson Street, West Village  

Employee Of The Week: Peter Neville of Tent & Trails

Peterneville070205_198It's been a few weeks since New York Magazine has sent us scrambling all over town to seek out the weeks chosen sales professional. Our favorite feature is back, however, and on this frigid Monday we found ourselves all the way down on Park Place to search out Peter Neville of Tent & Trails. If The Shophound were to take up hiking (and that's a really big if, but just go with us here), we would probably take ourselves to Paragon or Eastern Mountain Sports, but now we have learned that those stores are just for amateurs. Tent & Trails is the store for hard core enthusiasts, which we could tell by the Tenttrails décor which was, well, nonexistent. In fact, this is not really a store for browsing at all, because the relatively small store is literally crammed to the rafters with goods, and nearly any browsing would require assistance. Another indication that Tent & Trails is not for the casual shopper is it's location on Park Place which is convenient to...City Hall? It's definitely a destination to be sought out, but worth the search. Today there was a rack full of popular Nuptse jackets from The North Face on sale for $75, an excellent buy if you are an XXL or bigger.
As for Peter, he was busy helping a customer, demonstrating how the shop may be low on ambiance, but it is very high on service, and as if to prove that their focus is the serious hiker/camper,

NY MAGAZINE I saw you also have dog packs.
PETER NEVILLE Yes, we sell backpacks that you put on your dog. It’s a really great way to bring your pet out on the trail as long as you’re not going to do something super-super-technical; he can carry your food in his pack.                      

NYMAG By the way, are you a former Boy Scout?
PN I am not; it’s not something I regret.

We feel the same way, but probably for very different reasons.

Tent & Trails 21 Park Pl., Financial District


The Tents Go Up...For the Last Time?


The giant tent complex to be known as Olympus Mercedes Benz Fashion Week is rising in Bryant Park as you read this, but take a good look, because we won't be likely to see it again. The Bryant Park Corporation that runs the public space has indicated that as much as the bi-annual event has done for the park, it has outgrown its space, and they are weary of shutting down park operations for weeks at a time to accomodate what they see as a corporate run trade event. They are not entirely in the wrong. In this case it means closing off most of the park at it's most popular times, for most of September and dismantling what has become a very popular ice skating rink about two months earlier than they would have otherwise. We can remember back to the first year that 7th on Sixth collected the shows in two freestanding tents called Gertrude and Josephine, and they went a long way towards improving Bryant Park's  needle strewn image at the time. The shows were almost evicted for this season, but Mayor Bloomberg and the CFDA intervened, convincing the park that there wasn't enough time to find a suitable alternative. The big question is, what that alternative will be, and where we will be seeing the Spring '08 collections?

Estée Loves Hilary: Rhoda Officially goes Super

Hilary_rhoda_estee_lauderFirst of all we have to apologize for the erratic posting this week. What can we say? Life intervenes, and frankly it was just too damn cold to schlepp out to DUMBO to follow up on Alex Kuczynski today (but we will eventually). Having said that, we had to give a quick little bit of attention to our very favorite runway girl (and hometown girl! well, almost) Hilary Rhoda of Chevy Chase, Maryland (and New York, Paris, Milan etc.) who just landed herself a plum contract with Estée Lauder. They couldn't have made a better choice. After all the fuss over superskinny models (and we find them as disturbing as anyone, having seen them in person) nobody walks the runways with more charisma than the lovely Miss Rhoda. Here's a triumph for (relatively) healthy looking models. Hilary joins the cosmetic giant's other spokesmodels, Carolyn Murphy, Liya Kebede, Anja Rubik and celebrity faces Elizabeth Hurley and Gwyneth Paltrow creating an impressive lineup rivaled only by Revlon's stable of Oscar nominees and winners.

photo by Craig McDean for Estée Lauder

You Like UNIQLO? Get Ready For MUJI

MujiIf you are a fan of UNIQLO's global flagship, (and you know we are) then get ready for the home furnishings and accessories version coming this year. Japanese design retailer MUJI has announced two store openings in New York during the second half of this year, with details soon to follow. Like UNIQLO, MUJI has been expanding their market in Europe, and is now ready to take on the US with their intriguing, stripped down, utilitarian aesthetic. Up until now, their products have been available exclusively at the Museum of Modern Art stores, which gives you an idea of how they are regarded in design circles, but we can expect a much wider range of products when they open here.

Muji to Make U.S. Footprint With Two New York Openings (WWD)

Position Open: CEO With B***s of Steel for the GAP

Gaphelpwanted The other big news today is more an inevitability than a surprise. Gap CEO Paul Pressler has finally resigned at the request of the company's board, apparently without much protest. Why did they wait so long? Even with only eight months left on his contract he is still eligible for $14 million severance package. After seasons of muddled direction, and a disastrous recent Holiday season, the board is reportedly searching for someone with the kind of deep merchandising experience and fashion sense that Pressler, who came from Disney, sorely lacked. They are looking for someone like Millard "Mickey" Drexler who was similarly dismissed by the board only to go on to engineer a spectacular turnaround at J.Crew that only emphasized Gaps woes by contrast. For now, Pressler's responsibilities will be assumed by Robert J. Fisher, son of the company's founder, whose family is still the majority stockholder. Best of luck to the board on their search.

Under Fire, Gap Chief Steps Down by Michael Barbaro & Andrew Ross Sorkin (NYTimes)