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Weekend Planning

A Socialite's Sale & Other Events

FrancesWard For those of us city-bound this weekend, there are plenty of sales to go around. In fact, it's clearance time, so if you are sick of rummaging through sample sales, you can now take pleasure in shopping in regular stores, most of whom have begun or are about to begin seasonal clearances.
For those of you looking for a more esoteric shopping experience, the estate of the late model/actress/social figure Frances Louise Ward of Manhattan, Hollywood and Locust Valley, NY is staging a one day sale of 500 of her items at the Tribeca Grand Hotel on Saturday the 30th. Her impressive wardrobe included the most desirable labels of the 1940s and 50s including Ceil Chapman, Tina Leser, Lilly Pulitzer, Mollie Parnis and Adele Simpson. Prices will start at $20 for a belt and rise to a couple grand for furs. The event is being touted as a treasure trove of vintage clothing, shoes and accessories, and will open at 12 PM for those willing to pay an "early shopping" fee of $10, and from 1 - 7 PM for all the rest of the non-fee-paying riff raff. We'll be interested to hear from anyone who hits this event.
Frana's Closet Sale at The Tribeca Grand Hotel, Church Lounge, 2 Avenue of the Americas, Tribeca
In other Weekend News:

ADAM by Adam Lippes will be taking a page from John Bartlett and holding a pet adoption event with the Humane Society of New York this Sunday the 31st. We are promised Burgers, Bloody Mary's and Dog Biscuits from 2-4 PM, but adoptions will be live all day long. 678 Hudson Street between 13th & 14th Streets.
• In Welcome-But-Not-Terribly-Shocking news, SAVE FASHION will add another two weeks to its sale schedule at Port Authority's Blank Sl8 space and will be taking some nice, hefty discounts on the remains of its men's and women's assortments. 641 8th Avenue at 41st Street), now through June 13th or 14th (?)
ALOHA RAG is having a one-day sale on Saturday the 30th (presumably in advance of permanent markdowns) featuring 40% to 70% off its achingly hip stock if. 505 Greenwich Street near Spring Street.
• Artist Terrence Koh is staging his own intriguing Pop-Up, EVERYTHING MUST OUT GOING, through June 6th at his Asia Song Society (yes, that's ASS) which will include art objects and clothing for $100 and under (and maybe some over). Expect some serious kookiness. 45 Canal Street; 11-6 PM daily through 6/6.

Designers In Danger:

Trouble Looms For Christian Lacroix
& Veronique Branquinho

Lacroix1 This is inevitable news, and frankly, we are somewhat surprised that we haven't heard of more designers who are taking legal measures to either protect their businesses or shutter them. Christian Lacroix SNC has filed court papers equivalent to Chapter 11 Bankruptcy in Paris to protect itself from creditors. Rumored to have been put on the block by its current owner, the Florida based Falic Group who closed diffusion lines and positioned the brand as pure luxury (including a new New York flagship on East 57th Street), the object is to continue running the business and perhaps find a new owner. Troubles stem mostly from a 35% drop in Prêt-à-Porter orders for Fall, despite a critically acclaimed collection. Ironically, it is the extravagant Haute Couture collection that has been the most stable business for Lacroix due to its loyal clientèle and in-house production. The designer plans to show a scaled back presentation in July as well as a Spring 2010 RTW collection in the Fall.
Branquinho1 Things look less promising for Veronique Branquinho, the acclaimed Belgian designer who will close and liquidate her house after 11 years in business. Branquinho also experienced a dramatic reduction in Fall orders as well as cancellations for Spring, and Belgian courts have put her company in a three-month liquidation process. Fortunately for her, the designer has a back-up job as the new director for the distinguished Belgian leathergoods house Delvaux.
Perhaps she can get them to add a ready-to-wear collection.
Lacroix Seeks Court Protection From Creditors, Veronique Branquinho to Liquidate by Miles Socha (WWD)


Mistrial Called In
Forever 21/Trovata Case

After the jury came back deadlocked, U.S. District Court Judge James V. Selna declared a mistrial in Trovata's lawsuit against retailer Forever 21 for allegedly copying its signature trade dress. The offending designs are pictured above (Top row: Forever 21, bottom row: Trovata) clearly, there is copying going on, but the issue is over specific details like buttons and trim that identify items as Trovata's signature style. That's where things got complicated, and so ends a bizarre trial which included one of Forever 21's founders testifying that she had little idea what the volume of her company was or where the merchandise came from.
Industry watchers were hoping that this trial would clarify copying issues, since the U.S. still lacks copyright protection for fashion design. It is the only one, so far, of many similar suits against the retailer to go to court instead of being settled.
Presumably, a new trial will be set, though the issues under current law may not any less murky when that happens.
Mistrial in Trovata, Forever 21 Copying Case (WWD)


This Week's Deals

Has the barrage of Sample Sale notices slowed since Memorial Day unofficially kicked off Summer?
Here's some of the better ones we have weeded out of our inbox:

CHRISTOFLE silver tableware & TEMPLE ST. CLAIR jewelry
Through Saturday, May 30th
Wednesday - Friday: 9:00am to 6:30pm
Saturday: 9 AM to 5 PM
Soiffer Haskin
317 West 33rd Street, NYC west of 8th Avenue
ISAIA men's suits, shirts & tuxedos
June 16 - 18
Tuesday: 10 AM - 7:30 PM
Wednesday & Thursday: 10 AM - 6 PM
730 Fifth Avenue, Suite 1004 between 56th & 57th streets
TORY BURCH apparel, handbags, and footwear
May 31 - June 5
Sunday: 11 AM- 5 PM
Monday - Thursday: 10 AM - 7 PM
Friday 10 AM - 6 PM
Clothingline , 261 W 36th Street between 7th & 8th Ave 2nd Floor
Gentlemen patrons are invited to trade in a current shave cream, from any brand, at least a 4 oz. size, in exchange for a 5 oz. Ultimate Brushless Shave Cream formulation.  Patrons can choose between Kiehl’s White Eagle, Blue Eagle or Green Eagle formulations.
May 29 - June 7 only at Kiehl’s free-standing stores:  visit www.kiehls.com to find your nearest Kiehl’s store - one shaving cream trade per customer.
CHARLOTTE RONSON clothing and shoes
May 27 - 29,
10 AM to 7 PM
1071 6th Avenue, Suite 301 between 40th and 41st streets
May 28 - 30
10 AM - 6 PM
495 Broadway, 5th Floor at Broome Street
• This Week GILT GROUPE is featuring invite-only sales from JUST CAVALLI clothes & Accessories, RALPH LAUREN men's clothing, shoes & accessories, RAG & BONE Men's, and Women's, JIL SANDER Clothes & Handbags & Shoes, JACK SPADE, and PAIGE PREMIUM DENIM among others. Click HERE for your personal invitation.

Mike Albo Goes Shopping:

Kind Words For Tommy Edition

Tommy05_600 This week's Critical Shopper Mike Albo expresses a much more charitable opinion of Tommy Hilfiger in tomorrow's Thursday Styles than The Shophound has held. Mike visit's Tommy's Bleecker Street boutique, which has updated and added menswear, and finds it surprisingly charming, though he still cannot release his conviction that the world is going to hell and nobody has any business buying anything but the barest necessity.

Bleecker has a natural magic that gives stores that zing of authenticity that merchants so desperately try to capture for their wares. The quaint street, rustly trees and narrow storefronts make everything in the windows look delectable, buyable, wearable — even some whore-ish miniskirt in Juicy Couture appears timeless. ...And in the future, when our currency splinters and pinto beans are used as coinage, people will still walk up and down this street deliriously, buying overpriced purses.

Thank heaven for those people, otherwise neither The Critical Shopper nor The Shophound would ever have anything to write about again. In the very worst of times, there are still people with money, and they have to shop somewhere —even, apparently, at Tommy Hilfiger.
Though it's hardly the most extravagant store on the block (in fact it's sort of low-end for Bleecker), from Mike's descriptions it still sounds like the poor-man's-Polo we have come to expect from Tommy, though with an extra degree of cloying salesmanship. Mike describes the staff as, "A hovering bright-eyed and bushy-tailed staff is on hand to help you find your way around the mix of vintage, new and marked-down apparel."
Sounds like we aren't missing much.
Critical Shopper | Tommy Hilfiger: Spend Some Time, if Nothing Else By Mike Albo (NYTimes)
Tommy Hilfiger
 375 Bleecker Street between Perry and Charles Streets, West Village


Simon Doonan's "Beautiful People":
Episode 1

Are we to resist writing about a TV show that begins and ends in Barneys' window?
Certainly not.
Last night saw the U.S. premiere of Beautiful People, a comedy series based (loosely) on Barneys' Creative Director Simon Doonan's childhood memoirs of growing up fabulous in a dreary British town surrounded by a bunch of wackos (to be rebroadcast several times over the next week, check Logo listings).
Since a bunch of wackos is basically The Shophound's recipe for perfect TV, our DVR is already recording automatically.
We'll admit that we have not yet read Doonan's book, so we are judging the show on its own merits. Most of the action has been transposed from the 1960's (Doonan's actual childhood) into the 90's with lots of music references to British pop bands that never really made it in the U.S. like All Saints, D:Ream, M People and of course, Kylie Minogue in her mid '90s Euro Superstar/U.S. Obscurity period. The premiere episode, "How I Got My Vase" is bookended by a "contemporary" adult Simon ten years later, in his signature paisley shirt, putting the finishing touches on a window display at the corner of Madison Avenue and 61st Street as he tells his assistant (played by a clearly British actor hopelessly overdoing his best American Gay accent) how being a "slightly fey" teen in England was nothing compared with the crazy people with whom he found himself surrounded. There's his best friend Kylie (né Kyle), who is given to addressing Simon as "Girlfriend", and with whom the young Simon forms an intellectually superior yet socially inferior pair; his gin loving mother, Debbie, whom it is generally concurred to be much more agreeable when drunk; his unrelated Aunty Hayley, a blind, former amphetamine addict the family has taken in; his trampy sister, Ashlene, who blackmails her brother into doing her hair in a giant fountain of curls like M People singer Heather Smalls ( hardly a punishment, one would think); and his father, Andy, a mild mannered plumber with talents for winemaking and attracting the attention of the neighborhood housewives.
The general tone here is "Absolutely Fabulous" style lunacy, and while the show doesn't quite reach that series' high pitched silliness, it does have its satisfying moments. When Simon is caught experimenting with with cross-dressing, his mother is furious, but only because she is insulted that instead of using her own perfectly good wardrobe, he has pinched a dress from Kylie's mother.
On the plus side, the cast is full of skilled actors expertly selling the unlikely stories, particularly Myra Syaal as daffy Aunty Hayley and Olivia Colman as the peroxided Debbie Doonan.
On the downside, Many of the musical references and British colloquialisms will likely fly over the heads of American audiences, and while the first episode makes it clear that Simon is not so popular amongst the other schoolkids, we are bracing for the episode where he inevitably gets beat up. Perhaps that will be next week's installment, "How I Got My Nose".
Beautiful People Tuesdays at 10:30 on Logo
Simon Doonan: Musings on his LOGO show, 'Beautiful People,' and Adam Lambert's 'guts' (Entertainment Weekly)

Electrical Logo News:

Tomorrow Is Burberry Day
New Stores Coming This Fall

Burberry Such a fuss over flipping a switch.
Tomorrow night, Burberry will officially light up the sign that has been newly affixed atop 444 Madison Avenue. Older New Yorkers will remember this space as one that once held the Newsweek sign and, more recently, one for New York Magazine, but now it belongs to the British luxury brand who has won the signage by taking four floors in the building for its headquarters serving both North and South America.
What does this mean for shoppers?
Nothing much, really, unless you are on the boilerplate list of social and entertainment figures invited to the splashy party on the 54th floor of the Palace Hotel (with a perfect view of the sign). After all, most people don't go shopping in the showroom, which is basically what we're talking about here. We're not sure what it entailed to get the mayor to declare tomorrow "Burberry Day", but it may have something to do with the newly established Burberry Foundation created to distribute $500,000 to local youth charities.
What shoppers will get are two new boutiques in the building between 48th and 49th streets slated to open this Fall. One will be dedicated to the most popular, classic Burberry London collection featuring lots of trenchcoats and Nova checks. The other will feature the revamped contemporary lifestyle collection, now called "Burberry Brit" featuring jeans and casualwear. This sounds like a new version of the line known as "Thomas Burberry" which has not been significantly distributed in the U.S. before (but somehow is sold at Urban Outfitters in London). The premium Prorsum collection will remain ensconced in the East 57th Street flagship.
So expect lots of party pictures of people like Peaches Geldof, Alexa Chung and Nicky Hilton blah blah blah this Friday, but it won't be until the Fall that the new stores appear.
Burberry to Unveil New York Headquarters (WWD)

Where We'd Like To Be...

It's looking like a gorgeous Memorial Day Weekend, and we're willing to bet that a lot of people are already out of the office, and so are we. Here are a few things of note to amuse yourselves with over the weekend if you aren't going to be at the beach.

John Bartlett will be holding his Bi-Annual North Shore Animal League Pet Adoption Event on Sarturday the 23rd from 12-5 at his West Village boutique. Come down and meet John along with Tiny Tim, his three legged dog and mascot at 143 Seventh Avenue South.
• Today begins the last leg of Save Fashion's month at Port Authority featuring great prices on collections from Alejandro Ingelmo shoes, Black Fleece by Brooks Brothers, Doucette Duvall, Hayden Harnett, Katy Rodriguez, Lorick, Shipley & Halmos, Staerk and Sue Stemp among others. If you haven't stopped by yet, we strongly recommend a visit before next Wednesday.
Gilt Groupe is having a special clearance sale of their leftovers at Samples For Eco (Compassion) in NoHo. These events are always be hit-or miss, and require some effort on your part, but it took only a few minutes of rummaging for us to find Trovata polo shirts for $10. That's a good deal by anyone's standards. They are probably still opening boxes of merch, and the advantage here is that you can walk in and see the goods for yourself at 2 Great Jones Street between Broadway & Lafayette Street.
• In the event that it starts raining and you just want to stay home, Gilt is open for business all weekend featuring Memorial Day sales of Women's Accessories, Men's Sportswear and Men's Designer Collections as well as lots of other good stuff. Get your exclusive invitation by clicking HERE.
Madison Avenue Spy and The Choosy Beggar continue to give excellent info on boutique markdowns, so keep an eye on them for Spring sale and Pre-sale dates.
• Our friends at Racked tell us that the best of what's left of Bendel's apparel merchandise is landing at Gabay's Outlet in the East Village. Expect crowds at 225 First Avenue between 13th and 14th Streets.

Today In Camp:

Models + Comics
Coming This Summer

Modelsinc001_cov The only thing we appreciate better than a realistic portrayal of the fashion industry in the media is an unrealstic fantasy version. After all, we can't tear ourselves away from "America's Next Top Model", and we all know that show has basically nothing to do with actual modeling.
While we wait for someone to revive "Paper Dolls" (1984: Lloyd Bridges, Lauren Hutton, Nicolette Sheridan & Morgan Fairchild) we can console ourselves in the comics. The Times tells us that Marvel is launching a 4-part series late this summer called "Models Inc.", (which is emphatically not based on the deliciously awful '90s "Melrose Place" spin-off series). The funnybooks will incorporate existing Marvel Universe characters like Mary Jane Watson, Spider-Man's girlfriend, as well as the odd actual fashion industry character like, for example, Tim Gunn.
How perfect is that? Isn't Tim kind of like a cartoon character already? (which we mean only as the highest of compliments, Tim). Is there any way to get André Leon Talley involved with this?
The series will revolve around a character introduced in 1945 known as "Millie the Model".
Millie the Model!
Oh yes, she'll be updated for the 21st Century, but according to her Marvel.com bio, she is from Sleepy Gap, Kansas and stands a willowy 5',7" tall.
See? Totally realistic. Of course, the models will be solving crimes when they are not busy smiling with their eyes, because that's what models do.
It looks like the books are pitched to around a 12-year old girl's mentality, so they should be just the thing to help you cope with your "Gossip Girl" withdrawal, which should be kicking into high gear by August.
Front Row: Dressed for Action By George Gene Gustines (NYTimes)
The Models of Marvel's Models, Inc. (Newsarama)
Marvel.com (Official Site)

The Mayor & Vogue Team Up
To Save Retail With Shopping Parties

Fashionnight Yesterday, Mayor Bloomberg, Anna Wintour and a host of designers and retail executives appeared en masse to announce "Fashion's Night Out" in conjunction with the CFDA and NYC & Co. this fall to boost retail traffic in stores across the country without promoting markdowns. The program will include stores in 12 major cities on the evening of Thursday, September 10, just as Fashion Week begins. Stores will be challenged to create special events to draw customers into stores that evening. The event is to be extended internationally to all major cities where an edition of "Vogue" is based, and Wintour told WWD that the concept will be interpreted in each city to best represent the local cultures.
So far, few specific events that will be staged in New York have been announced, although Phillip Lim promises a live band in his Soho store, and Barneys seems to be arranging something to do with knitting classes. eventually, a website, Fashionsnighout.com, will be set up to detail specific events.
Knitting's always a big draw, right.
We certainly hope this works. It sounds like a lot of work, and we are pretty sure that most designers are kind of super-extra busy already on the eve of Fashion Week. In fact several runway shows and presentations are usually scheduled for that evening.
Here's what we know for sure: There are really only a few things that can be counted on to get customers into stores besides sales, and they are celebrities, free food and booze.
Get those bars set up early.
Calling All Shoppers: 12 Cities Plan Major Retail Initiative (WWD)
To Stimulate Retail, A Fashion Night Out (NYTimes/City Room)
Mayor Bloomberg Teams Up With Vogue for Fashion’s Night Out (The Cut)