England's Karen Millen Opens on Prince Street
December 18, 2007
Last week, British sportswear designer Karen Millen quietly opened the doors to her latest and most prominent U.S. store, yet another in a string of overseas brands who are scrambling to take advantage of the booming contemporary category on this side of the ocean.
(We won't say "pond". Does anyone really say "pond"?) It's worth noting that the brand is now part of the Baugur Group, the Icelandic company angling to purchase Saks Fifth Avenue, apparently working hard to make inroads in the U.S.
Millen's store replaces the Mimi Ferzt Gallery, (now on Greene Street) one of SoHo's few remaining art dealers, which was well known for Cybele, the statue by Mihail Chemiakin that stood at its entrance. The multi-bosomed fertility goddess turned heads and became something of a SoHo landmark.
Millen has moved in at an odd time putting her in the awkward position (along with Helmut Lang) of opening on sale, since pretty much nobody sells Fall clothes at full price by this time of year. The line, which includes shoes and accessories, is a trendy mix of colorful, sporty day clothes and glitzy, embellished cocktail and evening clothes that sometimes appear to come from totally different designers. Calling it disjointed might be splitting hairs, but it is a trendy, commercial line that will probably do well, especially among customers who are tired of seeing the same labels everywhere. At ther very least, the crowds of European customers will recognize the label as another they can buy here at bargain prices thanks to the exchange rates.
The store's stark gallery space has been reshaped into a shiny, mirrored, disco-like interior, as an approximation of Studio 54 has become the retail interior. To us, it looks like late '70's redux, which is probably around the time when most of Millen's target customers were born.
Karen Millen 114 Prince Street, SoHo
Hi - I'm an born and raised New Yorker and life long fashion maven now married with offspring and living in Los Angeles. I work in the apparel business and travel back and forth fairly frequently so I like to keep close tabs on the retail scene in the big apple. Thanks for helping me to stay informed regarding the goings on in my home town. Knowing the West Coast roster of stores as well as I do I feel compelled to offer up a correction for your December posting on the recent opening of the Karen Millen boutique on Prince Street. The SoHo location can't be the brand's first USA flagship as there has been a Karen Millen shop at the Beverly Center in Los Angeles for over a year. Just FYI.
Posted by: Lisa Anderson | December 22, 2007 at 09:48 PM