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Tansition Watch:

Rag & Bone Coming
To Christopher Street

When we heard that Rag & Bone was set to open its first boutique this Fall on Christopher Street, we immediately assumed that they had found a spot at the genteel start of the street near Greenwich Avenue, where it would be a neighbor to shops like [hus], Lucien Pellat-Finet and Diana Broussard.
But no, they had chosen a spot at number 104, on the other side of Sheridan Square where it will be next door to shirtmaker Lord Willy's, but also just across the street from... The Leather Man?
Look out Christopher Street.
You're about to get Bleeckerfied.
Traditionally, the fashion retail component of Christopher Street has been of the fishnet tank/rainbow thong/black leather vest variety. It has proudly been the gayest street in the city for decades, full of bars and a choice of places to purchase porn, lube and leather gear, but happily lacking the grim seediness of the old Times Square. After all, it is the historic home of the 1969 Stonewall riots, and while it's not quite the gay epicenter it was in the 70s and 80s, you can still see the rainbow flags flying down the street. Despite the fact that it crosses designer laden Bleecker Street, Christopher has mostly remained its same old super double extra gay self, unless, that is, you have noticed a few more empty storefronts lately. Now that is has officially been invaded by an up-and coming sportswear label started by a trio (now a duo) of straight guys, we can see the Bleecker spillover taking root and grabbing rents that have not been inflated... yet. We can't really compare this to Marc Ecko's misplaced store in Chelsea. This time it looks as if the street's unique character may finally fall victim to the wave of gentrification that has already swept through most of the West Village.
If you are a fan of those lube and leather shops, don't get too attached to them. We have a feeling that in a couple of years, you may be looking at a very changed Christopher Street.

Oh, The Irony Of The Extinct

Nothing like a trip to Urban Outfitters to make us feel like Methuselah.
Anyone who recognizes the logo on this t-shirt will probably understand the flash of nostalgia that hit us when we saw it earlier today.
For those of you unfamiliar with Peaches Records & Tapes, imagine a big barnlike store filled with bins of vinyl 33 RPM LP record albums as well as cassettes for those fortunate enough to have a Walkman portable tape player.
OK, this goes back a good couple of decades. Let's just say that Peaches was the place to be on the day that the new Pat Benatar or Police album came out. It was suburban record store heaven.
Now of course, Manhattan's once bountiful music retailers have been reduced to a pair of Virgin Megaastores, soon to be only one or possibly none, and Peaches, now long shuttered, is but an ironic reference for a young hipster who probably never owned an actual turntable record player.
Yeah, we know. Time to order that walker.

Project Runway Follow-Up:

Christian Siriano
Selling Out Online?

As the fourth Project Runway winner, Christian Siriano has basically shown everyone how to play the game after you have won the show's competition.
He has been on what has seemed like a nonstop publicity jag even before he was named the champ, appearing all over the place, but where are the clothes?
Well, in relatively short order, Bluefly, one of PR's sponsors, announced a capsule collection by the young designer yesterday, and 24 hours later, by our casual observation, we can report that the selection has dwindled rapidly, and several items are available in spotty size ranges, if they are left at all. We are guessing that a full sellout may occur by the end of the week, and betting that pieces will start appearing on eBay sometime next week.
Suede_projectrunway_ecodress_natali Has the elfin Siriano found the secret to translating reality-show triumph into real life success? What does this say about the other winners' conspicuous lack of commercial presence?
Additionally, last night's winning eco-dress (pictured right) by the thoroughly irritating Suede can be pre-ordered for $280, which actually sounds relatively inexpensive considering how it was made. There will be 150 pieces produced, although no delivery dates have been announced
Christian Siriano (Official Site)
Christian Siriano on Bluefly
Order Suede's Winning Dress on Bluefly

Sports News:

Ralph Lauren's Olympic
Gear Now Available

Olympichopefulrowing_guiseppelanz_2 Those of you who are under the impression that the Olympics are a celebration of the world's greatest athletes, prepare to be disillusioned. The Olympics have become a worldwide marketing extravaganza. The athletic competition component seems to have become an entertaining byproduct.
Beijing's Opening Ceremonies start two weeks from Friday, which will also mark the opening of the Nike Sportswear store on Mercer Street as well as (the store) Opening Ceremony's all-night Olympics party.
Ralph Lauren has the jump on both of them. His official Olympic and Paralympic collection is available now to athletes and athletic supporters spectators alike. Ralph has made himself a popular official sports outfitter, and as in the past, he has smartly chosen to show the line on bona fide athletes.
That's Olympic rowing team member Guiseppe Lanzone in the pucture, giving Ralph's favorite athlete, polo player Nacho Figueras, a smoldering run for his modeling money. If the sports thing doesn't work out (and even if it does), we feel confident that there will be plenty modeling opportunities for Giuseppe in the future.
You'll notice that the giant Polo player logos familiar from Ralph's U.S. Open and Wimbeldon gear has been replaced by giant Chinese characters which read Beijing, as well as the expected Olympic insignia.
Brace yourselves, this is only the beginning. We fully expect to be clobbered by Olympics marketing from now until mid-August.
More beautiful athletes after the jump:

Continue reading "Sports News:

Ralph Lauren's Olympic
Gear Now Available
" »

Mike Albo Goes Shopping:

Beach Shopping Edition

24crit600We're not the only ones struggling with a slow news week.
The New York Times released Mike Albo's Thursday Styles Critical Shopper column on Tuesday afternoon, which makes it either very early or hopelessly late. We're not sure.
This week, Mike rails against the disturbing persistence of the Abercrombie & Fitch look as he shops around that predominantly gay Summer paradise known as Provincetown, MA.
Any visit to a such a community will quickly dispel the widely held assumption that all gay men are naturally stylish.
Albo eventually discovers the town's Marc by Marc Jacobs boutique, which by all logic should have usurped A&F as the clone clothier of choice by now, but, sadly, Marc's relatively small chain of stores is no match for Abercrombie's vast network of mall-based stores.
Marc's P-Town store appears to stock a good selection of the throwaway items you will be familiar with from his Stuff store on Bleecker street, including the t-shirts, flip flops and totes that anyone would want to have handy at the beach.
Some familiarity with Provincetown (of which we have none) might increase one's appreciation of Mike's report, but he seems hopeful that that the Cape Cod resort town can benefit from Jacobs' stylish influence without suffering the same designer invasion that sucked all the charm out of Bleecker Street.

With luck Provincetown can hold on to its lovable eclecticism. It’s actually not that easy to get rid of because there is only one lucrative season and Commercial Street lies within the historic district, where merchants must comply with strict guidelines regarding facade, renovation and construction — 1,000 square feet is considered a big store space here. That should be enough to discourage Dolce & Gabbana from coming with a line of luxury slutgear and matching chowder bowls.

Keep your fingers crossed.
Critical Shopper: Marc by Marc Jacobs-Marc Jacobs’s Excellent Vacation By Mike Albo (NYTimes)
Marc by Marc Jacobs 184 Commercial Street Provincetown, MA

Relocation Update:

Dunhill Not Done Yet

The dog days have come early this year.
Is it this Summer's multiple heat waves? It does seem awfully steamy to be schlepping around town trying to find a copy of Italian Vogue (Don't bother. They sold out within hours) or looking for that new Rick Owens store.
We did find the new Dunhill boutique, which really wasn't hard since it's conveniently located at the corner of 55th and Madison. Unfortunately, they were not ready for us, since finishing touches were still being applied.
We're guessing that this weekend should find its doors open, and from what we can tell, it looks like Dunhill will be able to stay put for a while after a few years of moving about various locations in midtown.

The Monday Spree:

• It's Christmas in July at Hermès. (RACKED)
Express is continuing with its buzz-free Celia Birtwell collections (Nitro:licious)
• Steven Alan talks about his Lark & Wolff line for Urban Outfitters. (Selectism)
Coming Soon is here now. Odin's Lafayette Street store has the first delivery of  Yohji Yamamoto's new (well priced?) label. (The Cut)
• Searching far and wide: The best thrift shopping in Madrid. (The Moment)
Miguel Adrover returns to New York Fashion Week this fall, and not a moment too soon. (WWD Blog)
• Ultra-luxe Swiss label Akris quietly clobbers the designer competition. (Wall Street Journal)
Opening Ceremony will celebrate the Olympics... wait for it... Opening Ceremony with special merchandise from Nike and a 24-hour Pop-up party. (Fashion Week Daily)
• Browse The Strand's bookshelves on your iPhone or iPod Touch (Apple App Store)
• If that's not enough for you, you should probably have the Chanel application which will pipe in runway shows as well as direct you to Chanel merch wherever you may be. (Selectism)

Belated Rumour Update:

Nike is Opening
On Mercer After All

Usually, we can follow up on rumors a little bit faster than this.
Only about sixteen months ago, we reported that Nike may have been interested in some space on lower Mercer Street in SoHo.
Finally, we get word that the sneaker titan will use the space for one of the first Nike Sportswear stores, which will open on August 8th, that's 08-08-08, the day the Olympics begin in Beijing.
How will it be different from NikeTown? For starters, it will be much smaller, and will exclusively carry the newly launched "sportswear" line, which, as far as we can tell, is the new classification for Nike's more fashion oriented, non-performance collections. Translated: There will be Dunks as far as the eye can see in there.
It sounds like a response to the highly successful Adidas Originals line, which has it own shop in SoHo, perfectly timed to take full advantage of the mammoth global marketing opportunity known as the Games of the XXIX Olympiad.
Previously: Nike Eyeing Lower Mercer in SoHo?

Bleecker Street Update:

Eve Salon To Exit
Making Way For Kate Spade

In  the dark conspiracy to make Bleecker Street ever less interesting, Eve Salon has posted its moving notice. The salon will close its current location at the end of September, making way for the previously announced Kate Spade shop. Earlier, we were unsure which of the two stores at 400 Bleecker would be moving. Unfortunately, we shouldn't read this as some sort of saving grace for The Biography Bookshop, the address's other tenant. While it has not yet been displaced by a designer interloper, its lease will be up in about a year, and while nothing official has been announced, the sort of untenable rent hike that has displaced most of the street's former longtime merchants is fully expected.
In an interesting twist, Eve will be moving to West 8th street, a popular but somewhat less charming shopping stretch that in the past couple of years has been relieved of many of its tackier stores. (does anyone really miss the redundantly named Man + Plus?). Are we hypocritical for suggesting that a mild gentrification could improve West 8th while an invasion of luxury brands has sucked all the charm from Bleecker?
We say no.
Let's face it. Most of the stores that were ejected from West 8th constituted a parade of jank, and if you are reading this, chances are you wouldn't have been caught dead shopping in them (Wet Seal? Bang Bang?). Since there still seems to be some empty space there, perhaps the folks at Biography Bookshop should be checking it out for their next home.
Quick before Kate Spade gets there.
Previously: Endangered Sites: Kate Spade Horning In On Bleecker Street
after the jump, the full notice...

Continue reading "Bleecker Street Update:

Eve Salon To Exit
Making Way For Kate Spade
" »

Today In Collaborations:

Gap & Pierre Hardy
Turn To Men For Fall


It's official.
The GAP is back.
High powered PR for its new creative director, Patrick Robinson aside, take a walk into your local branch and it's a world away from what you would have seen a year ago. Enter a flashback to when you actually saw stuff there you wanted to buy and didn't care that it was coming from a giant chain.
A corner has been turned.
Along those lines, Gap has been making an effort to extend its "Design Edition" love to the guys lately. This past Spring's white shirt collection included menswear designer Michael Bastian, and this Fall, the collaboration with Parisian shoe maestro Pierre Hardy will offer styles for men.
The good news is that the desert and combat boot models will be perfectly in sync with the new classicism currently accenting men's fashion at the moment.
The bad news - well, not bad exactly, but disappointing - is that the prices are more Barneys Co-op than Gap. The desert boots will retail for $178, and the combats for a whopping $298. Sure, by Pierre Hardy's usual stratospheric standards, it's a pittance, but for the Gap, it's quite a bit pricier than we would have expected.
Still, these shoes look perfectly proportioned. We may have to save up our pennies.
Back to black [and tan] (Material Interest)