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Thursday Evening Spree


• The MacBook Air arrives on Friday. Prepare for pandemonium. (AppleInsider)
Crocssoho_4• The SoHo Crocs store is to be delayed until Fall. We are just Shattered. (RACKED)
Target falters. Is Wal-Mart on the rise, or are we speculating prematurely? (WWD)
• Fiat scion Lapo Elkann is getting into the jeans business. Naturally they are exclusive and expensive (DNR)
Chucks_crop_2 • Sometimes high-tops go too high. We don't think this was what Chuck Taylor had in mind. (Kempt)
•Bazaar editor Mary Alice Stephenson takes the questionnaire . Turns out, she's a Fosse fan! (The Fashion Informer)
Vcajeans_4 • Apparently, beauty bloggers are total swag-whores. We are shocked and scandalized! (NYTimes)
• Dying to pay more for your jeans? Van Cleef & Arpels and Earnest Sewn have joined forces to help. (Fashion Week Daily)

Fall '08 New York Fashion Week Day 0: Starting Uptown with Jackie Rogers

For Fashion Week this season, The Shophound is planning to focus our reporting a bit more for several reasons, one being that running all over town to any show that invites us is too damn tiring. Having said that, we were  wondering if we could make the Jackie Rogers show relevant to our readers. We probably can't, but since the show was being held in The Cotillion Room at The Pierre, we figured we'd go since we had never been there. How could we resist such a swanky location? Now we can say with confidence that the next time The Shophound throws a cotillion, we are totally having it there. Frankly we also wondered who else would show up. Many have speculated that with so many actors out of work due to the writer's strike, the front rows of Fashion Week should be overflowing with stars.
So far, not yet.
Above, you can see who did appear: Liz Smith, Christine Baranski, perennial event attendees Baroness Sherry von Körber-Bernstein and Sylvia Miles (whom we love a little more since we found ourselves watching "Evil Under The Sun" in an attack of insomnia the other night), and, scraping the bottom here, Downtown Julie Brown. Yes, really. They were joined by a crew of ladies with taut, shiny faces and wrinkly hands, obviously clients.
Jackierogersfinale As for the clothes, just like their audience, they were also in search of youth, and succeeded sporadically. Rogers did best with sleek cocktail and evening looks, but her day suits and blouses will probably be customer favorites. They looked well made, elegant and expensive, and a lady of a certain age could certainly do worse.
Rogers has been in business a while, and runs a fairly small luxury ready-to-wear line with a select clientèle and little press coverage. She makes a lot of her association with Coco Chanel, and her invitation featured a picture of herself with Marcello Mastroianni on the set of Fellini's "8½." Outfits were named for European actresses from the 1950s and 60's, all wildly misspelled in the program (seriously, Anuck Aumi? Claudia Cardinelly? Sophia Lauren? It goes on and on.)
We have to say that we wish every show was being held in such posh surroundings, and it was a pleasure not being faced with crowds and pushing, but when the shows officially start tomorrow, we'll really see what's going on.

Fortunoff On The Rocks...And We Don't Mean Diamonds

Fortunoff57th Fortunoff is reportedly considering its options for the future which could include Chapter 11 reorganization. On the heels of opening a new Manhattan store, the company has apparently, stopped paying its bills. The retailer has been making efforts to polish its image lately, but the results have apparently missed their mark. Those familiar only with Manhattan's jewelry-focused branch wouldn't realize that their larger Long Island stores carry a much more varied merchandising assortment including home furnishings and housewares.
We were a little tough on Fortunoff's new West 57th Street store, but in hindsight, we can see a clearer picture of why so many corners were glaringly cut in that particular case. We saw Fortunoff as a valid, local business that needed some good guidance to update its image, not necessarily one that was totally irrelevant and ready to be euthanized. Hopefully they will weather the storm with some strong fiancial backing and direction. We don't think they are ready check out just yet.
Fortunoff Said Considering Financing Options (WWD)

Circuit City Set to Enter Lincoln Square


That plywood covered, scaffold obscured corner you see pictured above is what remains of the West Side Tower Records, which, according to the New York Post, is set to become yet another Cicuit City. We suppose it is somehow fitting that it's being taken by a retailer that sells music, though hardly approaching anywhere near the same degree of specialization as its predecessor. Something has been made of the impression that Circuit City is following Best Buy around town. Perhaps its due to their side-by-side midtown locations on Fifth Avenue. Circuit City already has a large store not so far up Broadway, so this may be a move rather than an additional unit. We don't think this store is actually so close to Columbus Circle to offer much head-to-head competition for Best Buy's lavish, new branch there. Knowing the site as we and so many other former CD shoppers do, it couldn't possibly match it's rival's tri-level showplace. Frankly, give a choice, BB almost always trumps CC in some way whether it's price, location, or even service.
Frankly, we're just kind of disappointed that the space couldn't have been taken by anything more interesting.
Museum Seeks Hangout (NYPost, final item)

Tuesday Evening Spree

Barneysfidi • Rumors are rumbling that Barneys is looking to return to the Financial District as its World Financial Center store never reopened after 9/11. Are they serious, or are real estate developers just throwing their name around?(RACKED)
• Investment firms have quietly acquired a major stake in mid-range department store chain Dillard's and are throwing their weight around to improve earnings. Expect to hear more from this story. (WWD)
AngiebradCathy Horyn is not above offering her opinions on the latest Red Carpet appearances, and she's not that impressed by the SAG Awards. (On The Runway)
• British designer Kim Jones is taking over at exclusive but slightly sleepy luxury brand Dunhill. Expect to hear more from him in about six months. (DNR)
Den's latest pop-up will show off Karen Walker, and opens this Friday, February 1st. (Cool Hunting)
Nordstrom1 • Thursday January 31st will be MUJI's first 'My Bag' shopping day, a quarterly event in which holders of the re-usable 'My Bag' will receive a 15% discount on all purchases made on that day. (Nitro:licious)
Nordstrom's latest ad campaign puts illustrator Ruben Toledo together with Photographer Ruven Afanador to create some startlingly beautiful images. Wake up, Bergdorf's, Barneys & Saks! A gauntlet has been thrown. (Fashion Week Daily)

Disturbing Real Estate News: Meatpacking District Pioneer Florent to be Ousted?

2008_01_florentFrom our friends at EATER comes the upsetting news that Florent, a beloved West Village institution and one of the first upscale (yet affordable) retaurants to brave the Meatpacking District is in serious danger of losing its lease to yet another exorbitant rent hike.
Florent opened in the mid-1980s when the neighborhood really was home mostly to meat packing plants and, of course, tranny hookers.
The all-night bistro lured adventurous diners and weary clubgoers alike, and has become a landmark of sorts in the neighborhood. Even as the area transforms, it can easily be argued that greedy landlords should thank tenacious owner Florent Morellet for bringing customers their way instead of punishing him for getting there first. We are quite sure that for years, the only reason many New Yorkers even knew the location of Gansevoort Street was because of Florent (or to find a tranny hooker, but that's another story of things vanished from the Meatpacking District). For his part, Morellet tells EATER that the doors have not closed just yet:

The timing of a closure is still unclear, even to Florent owner Florent Morellet, who we reached by phone today [Thursday 1/24]. He says, "I can't tell you [when we'll close]. Nobody will know until the fat lady sings, as we say. I'll fight with the last bone in my body."
"The rents are high in the neighborhood. Like I've said to a lot of people, I'm optimistic because I believe the world economy will collapse and so might the real estate prices in the neighborhood. Maybe people will get down to reality and realize that the sky's not the limit. We don't know. We'll know down the road.  It's not closing yet.  Not at all."

Various reports have the restaurant's lease ending at the end of March or May with the lease being shopped around for as much as $70,000 a month. OUCH!
Morellet, true to form, is fighting to stay.
Anyone organizing a "Save Florent" campaign can sign up The Shophound
SHOCK CLAIM: Florent Restaurant to Close This Year? and Florent Watch: Owner Confirmed, March 31st Earliest Closure Date (EATER)

Halston Relaunch to Offer Instant Gratification for Internet Shoppers

29ehalston1_2 This Internet Shopping thing might work out after all.
In what sounds like a first for Fashion Week, WWD reports that web retailer Net-À-Porter will exclusvely offer two looks from the about-to-be relaunched (again) Halston collection on February 5th, the day after the runway show. A daytime shirt dress for $1,495 and a silk evening  dress for $1,795 by new Halston designer Marco Zanini will be available for immediate order with same day delivery to customers in New York and Paris. A special mini-site will be set up to promote the relaunch of the brand and reconnect it to the label's legendary heyday of the 1970s (at left) rather than the succession of designers who created the line during the last series of relaunches.
That's one way around the rampant copying that has developed as fashion shows appear on line almost instantaneously but months before the looks can appear in stores.
Assuming anyone wants to copy them, that is.
Fashion Getting Faster: Net-a-porter to Deliver Halston Day After Show (WWD)

Monday's Spree

Shaunwhite • Gucci is so dedicating to make the new Trump Tower flagship store opening a mega-event that they have launched a special website called Gucci ❤ NY just to promote it. (Gucci ❤ NY)
• Flying Tomatoes to appear at Target this Fall. Olympic snowboarder Shaun White will be offering an exclusive line of men's sportswear this year just in time for back-to-school. (DNR)
• Are ThreeAsFour on tap to create a capsule collection for the Gap? (The Fashion Informer)
• Like the recently opened Palm store in Rockefeller Center? Don't get too attached to it. Clobbered by Blackberry on one side and iPhone on the other, Palm is shutting down all but one of its retail stores in the face of declining Treo sales. (NYTimes)
Tjsbrooklyn_2Old Navy is gearing up for a radical revamp. Out with the cutesy camp and boring basics and in with fashion and Todd Oldham. (WWD)
Trader Joe's greatest distinction still appears to be infuriating customers, or would-be customers, as its much heralded Cobble Hill branch has yet to begin serious construction, and still has no start date. (RACKED)
Bike1 • Cool Hunting is auctioning off a nifty customized Puma eight-speed urban mobility bicycle on eBay to benefit  World Bicycle Relief which provides people in developing nations and disaster relief situations with access to independence and livelihood through the power of bicycles. They certainly deserve it. (Cool Hunting)
The SAG Awards were last night, and the lack of Red Carpet events this season has given The Fug Girls plenty of time to sharpen their knives.
Enjoy. (Go Fug Yourself)

Posh Goes Nudie for Marc Jacobs

NudeposhYou can't beat Victoria Beckham for Love Her/Hate Her celebrity. While some still feel the need to needle her for her flamboyant fashion excesses and apparent interest in fame for fame's sake, it's getting hard not to love her for genuinely enjoying her just-over-the-top style without turning up drunk and disorderly all over Los Angeles like some other celebrities we barely need to mention. She has managed to garner the approval of Marc Jacobs in whose Spring collection ad campaign she amusingly stars. As if to say "Thank You", she is appearing in the designer's latest nudie t-shirt benefiting The Interdisciplinary Melanoma Cooperative Group at New York University. The shirt goes on sale this week for $35 at Marc Jacobs boutiques.

American Apparel's Latest Spawn

That oversized yet still skinny ass in the shop window means only one thing.
The currently posterior-obsessed American Apparel has finally made it to Hell's Kitchen. They will be opening a store on Ninth Avenue between 43rd and 44th Streets sometime later this year in at least part of what was once a grocery store. One wonders what took them so long to get to Midtown West, as they have pretty much covered every other neighborhood in the borough. It's worth noting that with what will be its twelfth store in Manhattan, AA is quickly catching up to Gap's nineteen units in the borough. Anyone who still wants to think of them as edgy and independent should think again.