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Coach is Looking Punctual


Coach has announced that their Legacy store on Bleecker Street will open in October, which starts Monday, and from the peek we got earlier today it look like they are far closer to meeting that goal than many of the other stores that are supposed to be open this Fall. We can't say that we are any happier to see them on Bleecker than we were to see Tommy Hilfiger across the street, especially since they displaced the charming Clary & Co. antique store. We will, however, give them credit for punctuality, and it appears that they have restored at least part of the storefront on the building which earns them preservation points on our private little tote board. We will reserve full judgement for later on this month, but at least it looks like we will lose a bit of scaffolding soon.

Tommy Hilfiger Breaches Bleecker Street


What's with the big grudge for Tommy Hilfiger?
What is it about Tommy that is so irksome? Are we just being unfair to him because he's just not cool enough, or is there simply something hopelessly B-list about the brand?
Maybe it's the utter lack of originality that detractors have groused about practically since the brand appeared, and the absence of any effort to ever prove them wrong. You can't argue with financial success, and yet the Hilfiger Brand has had ups and downs lately. The designer's perennial attempts to trade his label up to a more affluent customer have typically fallen flat, but he is trying again with a new women's only store on Bleecker Street that opened today. It's a valiant effort, but we can't help being distracted by that other huge American designer Hilfiger is constantly being accused of copying, you know, the one who already has three shops down the street.
To his credit, Tommy has ordered up an eclectic interior that feels less derivative than we expected with black floors and dark blue walls; kind of a funky boho-'70s look.  We saw all sorts of interesting accessories and shoes that caught our eye, but soon discovered that they were all "vintage" items which have been liberally peppered throughout the store (just like that other designer) The clothes were Hilfiger's typical bridge-ish fare, inoffensive with the occasional smart item, but overall not terribly interesting, and again, whenever we noticed something unusual it also turned out to be "vintage". We use the quotes because we can't say Hilfiger will be giving Resurrection any competition, and the pieces are priced like desirable designer items salvaged from the past, but we saw none of the prized labels that would warrant it. You would do better at the weekend flea markets or at least a few blocks away at Cherry on Hudson Street.
And that's the trouble with this store. It's hard to accept the idea that it isn't just another of Hilfiger's attempts to add luster to his name by elbowing his way on to a sought-after street as if to say, "Me too! Me too!".
Tommy Hilfiger 375 Bleecker Street, West Village

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping: Not Impressed on Madison Avenue Edition

Photograph by Donna Alberico for The New York Times

One would have thought that Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson would be as charmed by a visit to the newly refurbished Chloé boutique as she was by the remodeled Miu Miu shop that sent her into a rapture, but this week's Thursday Styles finds her in a less forgiving mood. Cintra, it seems, is having none of the new look of Chloé that Designer Paolo Melim Andersson is offering, or the new look of the store, for that matter. The boutique has been remade in a stripped down style that reflects Andersson's more architectural sensibility, a departure from the girl-friendly approach of his predecessors Phoebe Philo and her former boss Stella McCartney. Cintra is not amused, as reflected in her sidebar where she writes, "Chloé’s hippie girl is being forced to eat mushy peas and told to be quiet.

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The Metropilitan Museum to Get All Bloggy

Diorgown The Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art is going hi-tech for its next exhibition to be titled, "blog.mode: addressing fashion" (lower-case letters intentional, like kd lang). To encourage interaction with its patrons, the museum will be installing a "blogbar" with 10 computer terminals so you can tell the curators just what you think of the show and the various individual pieces on display. That will apparently be the theme of the 40 piece show which will consist of items acquired since 2000. Curator Andrew Bolton told WWD,  "It's something we thought about for a while, observing visitors' behaviors in the different galleries of the museum...In the Costume Institute, it's always so lively and everyone has an opinion about fashion."
Well you know what they say about opinions being like a certain part of the human anatomy where the sun don't shine, but, hey, our comments are open so why shouldn't theirs be? We're not sure if the folks at the Met are aware of the potential can of worms they might open, or the possibility that if they get some of The Times' Cathy Horyn's faithful but long-winded followers, they might have a huge editing job before them, but it's their show, and we have to give them credit for trying something new. Of course, it's also way of disguising the fact that this show is a recent acquisitions survey rather than one of the museum's more cleverly themed outings. The blog will be accessible through the Met's website during the course of the show, and then select comments will be incorporated into the catalog to be published after the end of the show's run.
This blog thing might just catch on.
Blogging at the Met: Costume Institute Courts Instant Feedback (WWD)

SoHo News: Nothing's Open Yet but Another Brazilian is Coming

Bucklergrandstreet We thought we would take a jaunt down to SoHo to check out all the new stores slated to open this fall on Grand Street, Vivienne Tam, Buckler and Hickey only to find all of their windows still covered with paper. They are all expected to have been open by now, yet it's almost October which means -at least in fashion seasons- Fall's almost over!Bucklerdetail
We know Vivienne Tam previewed her shop to editors during Fashion Week, but the public is waiting. Hickey is highlighting its Grand Street address in national advertising, yet the doors remain closed, and Buckler advertised "Coming this Fall" on it's elaborate window coverings, but a peek inside the store yesterday showed an interior nowhere near ready to open. Muji and CB2 remain under wraps around the corner, though we are expecting them to be open for Holiday business in late November. Vera Wang's Mercer Street space appears to have barely been touched, so perhaps Spring will bring her shop? Evisu? Also waiting to be unveiled. Even the Crocs store looks to be months away.
People, what's the holdup?
Iodicehouston The Shophound is a hungry shopper and we need more stores! We are counting on you. Don't let us down.
Adding to the list of Brazilian designers to set up shop in SoHo is Iodice, set to open a sizable store on the corner of Houston and Green Streets. Joining its fellow Brazilian brand Osklen, it appears to be the brand's first U.S. store, but we don't yet have an opening date for them. From what we can gather, it's a contemporary-ish priced line, which you can hardly lose with these days, but we're tired of waiting for all these stores to open.
Get cracking people!

Kitana Gets a Speedy Start in SoHo


You know how a store will just suddenly appear without warning. We got that  "where did you come from?" feeling  this week when we discovered that Kitana's first U.S. store had magically appeared in the midst of the Zara-Forever 21-A|X cluster on Broadway in SoHo. They opened up so fast that nobody had time to obliterate the remnants of previous tenant Terranova's signage. Combine that with a black decal sign on the window, and it's hard to notice the name of a new store at all.
Insidekitana Though it sounds like a Japanese name, we are told that Kitana is part of the Teddy Group, an Italian company with nearly 500 stores around the world, including previous tenant Terranova. A switchover has taken place which makes a perplexing debut in an important market for these new labels. As they apparently rushed their opening, we can't say much for the décor, or even that there is any to speak of. We hope that's the reason why. The mezzanine space was full of racks, but closed to the public. As for the clothes, most of it runs in the $50 to $300 range so we are guessing that they wanted to beat Spain's MNG by Mango, their likely competitor, out of the starting gate. Everything we saw had a prominent "Made in Italy" label, which should please customers tired and now leery of merchandise made in China or who knows where else. As such, the designers liberally borrow inspiration form their more famous countrymen with a little Gucci here, a bit of Prada there and generous helpings of Cavalli and Dolce & Gabbana. Another confusing point is that most of the goods we saw had the Rinascimento label. Kitana, from what we could discover on line, is actually the label of the brand's plus sized line, yet the store showcases the "trendy girl's clothing" label. Whatever. Finesse is clearly not this store's strong point. We're guessing they will still do just fine with the throngs of eager shoppers that regularly haunt this section of Broadway.
At some point they may want to fix that sign, though.
Kitana 594 Broadway between Houston & Prince Streets, SoHo

Marc Jacobs on Bleecker: A Teeny, Tiny Mistake

It's ironic that after singlehandedly turning Bleecker Street into a retail destination, Marc Jacobs has fallen victim to one of its chief pitfalls.
It took us a while to get to the new Marc by Marc Jacobs men's store, and by the time we finally made it there, it was week-old news. Frankly, we're not sure why there was any mystery about what the new store would be. The Shophound reported definitively (and confirmed with Marc's PR office) that it was going to be a men's store last March.
There's plenty to like about the store. The Marc men's collection looks better and more appealing than ever. The cheeky window display lampooning hypocritical future ex-gays like Ted Haggard is funny, timely and political; vintage Marc. Then there are the exclusive items like Marc's knock-offs of his own signature cashmere thermal crewnecks and henleys at only $160. Compare them to the ones for around $600 currently hanging in his SoHo main collection store. They are cleverly labeled "Jacobs by Marc Jacobs", indicating that they are exclusive to Jacobs' own shops and won't be found in Barneys Co-op or Saks. We may not be able to get through the season without getting one. There is, however, one problem with the store that overshadows everything we would like about it.
It's too small.
Inexcusably so.

Continue reading "Marc Jacobs on Bleecker: A Teeny, Tiny Mistake" »

The Inevitable ArmaniPhone is Coming

Armaniphone1You could say that Dolce & Gabbana were the first out of the gate, but we wouldn't call slapping a logo on a MOTORAZR designing a phone so much as it was a marketing opportunity. The we had the LG Prada Phone, a huge success in...well...not here where it was pulled from distribution. Now amid talk about making a personal statement with our phones blah blah blah, we hear news that Giorgio Armani is joining forces in a long term, strategic partnership with Samsung to create a super thin and flat phone with, get ready for this, a full touch screen user interface, 3-megapixel camera, music player and full web browser.
Sound familiar?
Of course, the leather case is a new twist, however predictable.
The phone will be available through Armani boutiques as well as electronics stores that have been deemed suitably upscale to carry the Giorgio Armani brand.
As with the Prada phone, no U.S. carriers have been named as partners as of yet, so while this latest little designer fetish item is expected to become available in Europe in November, we have no idea when or if it will be available Stateside at all. On the Continent, the retail price will be €650 which translates to over $900 at current rates. Surely we can expect similarly priced unlocked models to appear here just in time for Christmas.
Beyond the phone, however, Armani and Samsung plan to introduce an Armani/Casa LCD screen TV in January. Exactly what distinctions Armani plans to bring to television remain to be seen, but in the meantime, we'll wait for the rest of the fashion world to catch up. Imagine what must be coming; the PoloPhone, DKNY Mobile, GucciPhone, DiorPhone, etc. etc.
The mind reels.
Armani, Samsung Start Electronics Line (WSJ)
Samsung and Giorgio Armani team up on mobile phones, LCD TVs (Endgadget)
Previously: Prada's Phone Not Coming To a Store Near You

Oldham Navy: Todd to Become Creative Director for Old Navy

ToddoldhamIs Todd Oldham the designer who refuses to accept defeat? When his crowd-pleasing runway extravaganzas of the 1990's failed to drum up sales, the charismatic designer left fashion for interior design, photography, graphic design, TV hosting and furniture, most recently a collection for La-Z-Boy that spawned its own SoHo boutique. Now Old Navy has tapped Oldham to return to the apparel business as creative director for the entire brand, refocusing their merchandise to appeal to customers in their 20's and eventually adding his own label to the chain's offerings. Old Navy has famously been experiencing plummeting sales results lately, dragging down the fortunes of Gap Inc. Oldham starts work on October 1, and will split his time between his New York studio and Old Navy's California headquarters. Oldham has a love-it-or-hate-it aesthetic sensibility, but remains well liked in the industry and well known by the public due to frequent TV appearances dating back over 15 years to MTV's House of Style. As the charm of the chain's quirky, campy advertising appears to have worn off, and the celebrity-driven Steve & Barry's is surging, is the addition of a quirky, campy creative director the answer, or will it be quirky, campy overload amid stacks of "Brady Bunch" style striped t-shirts?
Seeking Cachet, Old Navy Turns to Designer by Michael Barbaro (NYTimes)
Todd Oldham Gets Lazy
Old Navy
(Official Site)

Attention Nordstrom: Space Available!

Our friends at RACKED have confirmed that the Chelsea Barnes & Noble will be closing which leaves a big old chunk of retail space in an affluent neighborhood close to subways and PATH trains up for grabs. What better space for Nordstrom than...a historic department store building? We know they're looking hard.
Do you hear us in Seattle?
Chelsea Barnes & Noble Space Officially On The Block (RACKED)