Disturbingly Fast Growing Chains:
Upon Fifth Avenue
Upon Fifth Avenue
October 7, 2008
The steroid-enhanced version of Juicy Couture opened on Fifth Avenue yesterday.
It seemed not so long ago that Juicy was a cheeky little denim and t-shirt line that sold in exclusive shops. Then came the sweatsuits, and then came Liz Claiborne Inc.
Now, it's been quickly accelerated into a mega-brand with one of the most bloated flagship boutiques on Fifth Avenue.
They're poised to make a fortune.
Somewhere along the way, cheeky turned into cutesy, and now the store, like the clothes it sells, is festooned with slogans, and filled with Pepto-pink versions of every possible garment and licensed product.
Fifth Avenue is the perfect place for it, nestled among other overblown retail projects like the NBA store and the soon to depart Disney store. Juicy, with its two vast levels dwarfs them all.
The main floor holds an endless array of bubblegum-meets-Chola-girl accessories. No regular guy would have the patience to make it upstairs through all that Juicyness, so back towards the right, a separate area holds the men's line, which is in the midst of being rebranded to the somewhat more butch "Dirty English" label.
The entire store has been transformed from the sleek modern interior that once housed Mexx to a sort of Magic Castle Baroque with graffiti. It's the sort of heightened visual cacophony that we have now come to expect from Juicy, but with the added space, there's just so much more of it. A faux storefront has been installed just behind the new plate glass façade, and up a new corner staircase one finds the majority of the women's apparel including a small alcove dedicated, as in the label's other 3 stores in the city, to the deluxe Couture Couture collection. As usual, this collection is mostly ignored by the customers, many of whom are the sort of people for whom a velour tracksuit is still a valid form of dress for all occasions. By the same token, here in the Juicy Store, putting salesmen and male mannequins in t-shirts and kilts is still meant to represent some sort of iconoclastic West Coast Rock & Roll transgessiveness.
Juicy was already packing them in on its first day, and though the brand itself continues to descend towards banality, its volume grows, making it the current star of Liz Claiborne's stable of brands. We have a feeling that Abercrombie & Fitch has finally found it's match for senseless tourist magnetism.
Juicy Couture 650 Fifth Avenue at 52nd Street, Midtown
More pictures after the jump