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As usual, lots of stores have Halloween windows up this year, like Marc Jacobs' annual monsterfest and fake cobwebs everywhere, but the scariest window we saw was at Butik, model Helena Christensten's Danish themed store on Hudson Street. You've seen one monster mask, you've seen them all, but those decrepit baby dolls with oranges for heads really give The Shophound the creeps. Of course, given the store's vaguely macabre aesthtic, it's quite possible that the window wasn't specifically meant for Halloween at all.
They sell those dolls all year round.
Now that's scary.
Butik-Christensen & Sigersen 605 Hudson Street, West Village
Previously: Celebretail/Hide and Seek: Helena Christensen's Danish Treat

Kors Is Coming Along

KorssohoWasn't it only a few weeks ago that Jerry's closed?
The folks at Michae Kors haven't wasted a minute transforming the Prince Street space from a deluxe diner into a boutique. The shiny white shelves are already up. We don't know exactly when their official opening date is. Will they be filled with handbags by the time the Holiday season begins? At this breakneck pace, we wouldn't be surprised.

Bye Bye Bodum

So, exactly why would anyone give up a prime Meatpacking District location just as a huge Apple store is set to open a few doors down? Bodum is shutting its doors after December 31 and is currently running a deeply discounted clearance sale on almost everything except their core coffee and tea products. Did early neighborhood pioneer's lease run out leaving them with a staggering rent hike or did they finally realize that their sprawling store was a bit bigger than it needed to be? At any rate, you've got about two more months left to shop at Bodum on 14th street, if the merchandise lasts that long (it's dwindling already).
The big question is who's moving in?

Hickey Makes its Retail Debut on Grand Street


Well, call us surprised. A few weeks ago, The Shophound didn't have much faith that Hickey would be able to get its act together to open its store before the holiday season, but late last week they managed to open the doors of a fresh new store.
Hickey Hickey, the fashion conscious division of the venerable American clothing brand Hickey Freeman, was created to attract a younger, hipper customer to the super-traditional label. Originally launched as an updated suit and sportcoat line, Hickey soon developed into a complete collection including sportswear and accessories. The new store, Hickey's first, provides a great showcase for the young brand's slim suits and neo-preppy sportswear. American menswear designers are currently fixated on recutting classics to make a tighter, sleeker silhouette which takes Hickey only a stone's throw from its roots as a traditional clothing manufacturer. While many designer collections include tailored suits, they tend to be either incredibly expensive or, unfortunately, not quite as well made as they should be for the price. While Hickey's suits and sportcoats are not cheap (they run from around $800 to $1200) they offer a modern fit and design with all the manufacturing expertise of their parent company, an excellent value.
The airy store is a classic, eclectic SoHo shopping environment, with a professional staff that managed to be attentive without smothering us with attention when we visited on a slow, rainy afternoon during their first week of business, an impressive accomplishment.

Den Showcases Tim Hamilton


East Village revolving pop-up store Den seems to be moving increasingly upscale in its offerings. Starting with affordable Swedish sportswear resource Cheap Monday, they then moved to the more upscale Rag & Bone. Now they are featuring the relaxed but luxurious collection of menswear designer Tim Hamilton. One of an emerging group of American menswear designers, Hamilton, like Tony Melillo and Michael Bastian puts his own sumptuous spin on familiar, basic items. In other words, why make a wool sweater when you can use cashmere? Hamilton's approach is a casual one, so his gray herringbone tweed jacket is soft and unconstructed. Matching pants are also available, but perhaps to be worn on their own rather than as part of a suit. Everything is washed and rumpled for a lovingly worn effect, including jeans (with selvedge seams, of course) which are given a light rinse for softness but, thankfully, no self conscious distressing and whiskering. Hamilton's knits are particularly notable including featherweight striped t-shirts for layering without bulk. As a young designer label, however, Hamilton is unable to take advantage of the economies of scale available to larger brands, so small production runs keep prices at the upper end of next-door parent boutique Odin's scale. $1,200 seems a bit high to us for a lightly constructed tweed sportcoat, but that is one of the pitfalls of young designer collections. If, however, price is less of an object, there is much to like about Hamilton's line which is given a much better showcase (however temporary) here than it can get in bigger multi-brand stores.
Next up for Den are Karen Walker (the New Zealand born designer, not the "Will & Grace" character) and Menswear designer Robert Geller.
Tim Hamilton at Den 328East 11th Street between First and Second Avenues, East Village

Friday News and Events: Live Nudes at Marc Jacobs

Nothing's like a t-shirt for stirring up excitement.
Earlier in the week we mentioned that several of Marc Jacobs' handsome staff members volunteered to pose for his latest round of nudie t-shirts benefiting NYU's melanoma research initiatives, giving you the opportunity to buy a shirt from the actual person pictured on it.
This Saturday, October 27th,  Andrew, Kyle, Chico and Owen will be appearing au naturel (or very nearly so) at Marc's Bleecker Street stores to sign their shirts for customers. Having seen the boys and their shirts in person, we can strongly advise you to get there early.
Guaranteed mob scene. (click image below for a better view)


Tommy Hilfiger has announced that starting with the Fall 2009 season, Macy's will be the exclusive retailer nationwide for all TommyTommyhilfiger Hilfiger men's, women's and children's apparel. This partnership is Tommy's latest attempt to shore up his recently troubled brand, and he may be on the right track this time. The deal will not affect Hilfiger's own freestanding stores or licensed products like accessories, footwear and eyewear. New Yorkers probably won't notice the difference since Macy's is the only store in the area that carries Hilfiger anyway, but regional chains like Dillard's and Bon-Ton will have to phase out the brand with Macy's enhanced distribution making up for the lost business.
Macy’s and Hilfiger Strike Exclusive Deal by Michael Barbaro (NYTimes)

American Apparel's Lower East Side Billboard Saga: Neighbors Triumphant

Well, the neighbors finally got fed up.
This week, after someone defaced American Apparel's now infamous billboard at Allen and Houston Streets, the T-shirt chain has finally removed and replaced it with a marginally less offensive one. Rather than the typical vulgarity one usually finds scrawled on subway posters, this bit of graffiti features classic New York liberal anger, ("Gee, I wonder why women get raped?" for those having trouble making it out in the image above) and while we don't necessarily subscribe to the "porn=violence" theory, we admire the neighborhood's determination to make their feelings about the billboard known, especially in the face of the American Apparel's insensitive indifference and lack of respect for its neighbors and fellow merchants.
Thanks to faithful readers like Jessi for keeping us abreast of the situation.
How'd they get up there anyway?
American Apparel vs. the neighborhood pt II (
New billboard image: Billboards: American Apparel Does It Doggy Style on Allen (Racked)

Continue reading "American Apparel's Lower East Side Billboard Saga: Neighbors Triumphant" »

Coach Bleecker Now Open

Coach has finally opened its umpteenth Manhattan store on Bleecker Street. The official opening is set for today, but the cheery staff unlocked the doors of the brightly lit shop for a preview yesterday, and by cheery we mean much more than the requisite "new store" level of enthusiasm. All of the employees we encountered were beaming like they'd just had a baby or something, which was endearing even if it made us wonder what they had all had for breakfast, or if, possibly they had been brainwashed by being forced to watch endless hours of Rachael Ray.
The Bleecker location is actually the first of the brand's new "Legacy" boutiques, featuring a more expensive and exclusive collection for those who would like to pay more for a brightly hued Coach bag. We noticed the difference immediately when we saw a $20,000 alligator hobo bag near the entrance. The special luxury line also includes numbered, limited edition pieces based on vintage Coach styles mostly falling in the $800 to $1,200 range as well as shoes, belts and small leather goods. Knitwear and outerwear are also featured, perhaps as a precursor to a full apparel line. The store is designed differently from the brand's typical shops, with more elaborate moldings and details. The 1,200 square foot space is actually two stores linked at the back by a small corridor creating a snaky U-shaped floor plan. There is also a new retro version of the brand's logo featured prominently with its border and carriage design instead of the sleeker font used more recently to update the company's image.
The store replaces the much loved Clary & Co. antique store
that was forced out by a rent hike, much to the disappointment of neighbors and customers. To its credit, Coach has done a nice job of restoring the storefront's copper detailing. While Bleecker's many shoppers will doubtlessly be excited to see a shiny new store, we couldn't help noticing more than a few neighborhood types rolling their eyes and sighing at the continued mallification of their once quiet street.
Coach 372-374 Bleecker Street, West Village
Previously: Goodbye Clary & Co.: Coach to Officially Transform Bleecker Into a Mall


Muji Opening News

WallshelfOur current most anticipated store opening has been confirmed! Muji SoHo at 455 Broadway will be opening its doors to the public at 12 Noon on Friday, November 16.
To encourage its customers to conserve, the Japanese-based retailer will be giving the first 500 customers re-usable "My Bag" shopping bags along with a special gift. Continued use of the shopping bag will allow customers to accumulate points redeemable for special items, as well as offering discounts on special "My Bag" shopping nights.
New store giving away stuff? Get in line behind us.
Muji SoHo  455 Broadway just below Grand Street, SoHo
see a preview of available items here

Armand Limnander Goes Shopping: Just The Facts Edition

25crit4505Today's Thursday Styles brings a Critical Shopper unfamiliar to The Shophound. Armand Limnander makes a visit to the newly renovated Gant store on Fifth Avenue. Armand gives us a respectable, workmanlike review touching on all the pertinent points: fancy staircase, rejuvenated product line, alarmingly expensive children's line.
We went there a couple of weeks ago, so there wasn't much news for us.
But what about you, Armand?
Where are the irrelevant personal stories, the veiled anger towards various exes or at least the hallucinatory reveries and metaphors we have come to expect from this column?
Armand, we suggest you study up on your Kuczynski while we wait for the return of Cintra Wilson, or as we now know her, La Cintra.
Critical Shopper: Tangled in Ivy, With a Twist by Armand Limnander (NYTimes)
Previously: Meet the All-New & Improved GANT