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Fashion Week Previews:

Custo Barcelona Moves On Up

CustoWoman New Yorkers will be familiar with Custo Barcelona from its SoHo boutiques, and the Spanish label has been a mainstay at the Bryant Park shows for the past twelve years.
Unfortunately, the flamboyant label's expansion to the Upper West Side has been stymied, though the advertising on Columbus Avenue sadly remains as a ghost of the store that was not to be.
Moving forward, designer Custo Dalmau is stepping things up in a different direction next week by moving into the big Tent at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week for his runway show.
As you can see from the preview sketch at left, Dalmau will be serving up more of the flamboyant prints and patterns his fans have come to know and love, this time for a much bigger audience.
Custo Barcelona (Official Site)
Showing at Mercedes Benz Fashion Week on Sunday September 13

Click image for a larger view in a new window.
After the jump, a men's look.

Continue reading "Fashion Week Previews:

Custo Barcelona Moves On Up " »

Closure Aftermath:

Hickey Lives!
(With A Sample Sale This Week)

Last week we reported that Hickey's Grand Street boutique had quietly closed after a rocky tenure, and expressed our concerns for the Hickey label in general.
This morning, however, the fine folks at Hickey have assured us that a new boutique in a new location is in the works and set to open early next year.
The Shophound is genuinely relieved, and in even better news for the immediate present, Hickey will be holding a showroom Sample Sale this this Thursday at 745 Fifth Avenue (the building that houses Bergdorf Men's)  from 10 AM - 4 PM to get rid of this Fall's samples. If you are a sample size (a slim Medium or 40 Reg) this is a great opportunity to get this Fall's suits for a meager $199, or sportcoats for $150.
Hickey (Official Site)
Fall Sample Sale: September 3rd 10 AM - 4 PM 745 Fifth Avenue between 57th & 58th Streets, Midtown


Hickey Goes Dark On Grand Street
Is The Label In Danger?

Hickeyclosed We were hoping that they were tougher than that.
Soho's Hickey boutique has quietly darkened its windows and shut its doors after nearly two years, possibly as a casualty of parent corporation Hartmarx's prolonged bankruptcy proceedings earlier this year.
Now that the U.K.'s Esmerique Brands has fully acquired Hartmarx and saved its various labels, there has been something of an executive exodus not unexpected after a changing of hands. While the more traditional Hickey Freeman boutique was moved to Madison Avenue several months ago to shed its costly Fifth Avenue lease, funky younger brother Hickey remained in the Grand Street location where it had survived a messy leak that shuttered the shop for five months only a few weeks after its debut.
While we are disappointed to lose the shop, word comes that Hickey has also lost its Creative Director and Brand Manager to Rogue's Gallery and J.A. Apparel respectively.
Hickey has a unique combination of unmatched brand heritage mixed with contemporary, yet accessible styling made in traditional, American clothing factories. Unfortunately, the label's website has no new Fall goods for sale even in late August, which is not a good sign, although Bloomingdale's is featuring a page of merchandise for pre-order. We certainly hope the brand doesn't get lost in the reorganization shuffle.

Cintra Wilson Goes Shopping:

Comfort Zone Edition

27crit600.1 We can't help wondering if it is mere coincidence that finds New York Times Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson treading much safer waters in today's Thursday Styles. Her acerbic bite has been dialed back to a playful gnawing as she visits the latest location of Jonathan Adler's growing chain of home furnishing boutiques. We can only hope that this is a temporary response to La Cintra's recent, much publicized misadventures in Middle America. Adler's whimsical stores would seem to be aimed squarely at the “1,300 women in Connecticut and urban gay guys in Manhattan”whom Wilson previously perceived her readership to be. Of course, we have no problem with that demographic whatsoever. Adler's aesthetic, which appears to have been imported directly from the Valley of the Dolls, really does Wilson's work for her. Adding a mordant edge to his already twisted sense of humor would seem to be gilding a ceramic lily.

But the pottery is where Mr. Adler’s gifts really sing through a bullhorn. My friend Bradford is gaga for his lidded ceramic jars, labeled with such giddy subversions as “Uppers” and “Downers” and “Dolls.” The stores are currently sold out of the jar reading “Quaaludes,” but should they be remade, I will buy one ($135).

Now that Wilson is a target for the disgruntled, we expect that some killjoy will take offense at these dangerous, ceramic jars despite their likely destinies of holding nothing more harmful than sugar or cotton balls.
Its not that Wilson is totally toothless this week, but we have come to enjoy a little bit more conflict in her columns.
Let's get this woman to a Kohl's!
Critical Shopper | Jonathan Adler: Take a Sunrise, Sprinkle It With Dew by Cintra Wilson (NYTimes)
Jonathan Adler 378 Atlantic Avenue between Hoyt and Bond Streets, Brooklyn

Fashion Week Previews:

PORTS 1961 Wins
The Invitation Prize

The Fashion Week invites are coming in, and we have an early winner for the cleverest invitation.
Ports 1961 has never held back when it comes to inventive (and probably expensive) invites. Last season it was printed on a pleated cotton scarf, but this time form and function have come together. While many designers are cutting costs with simpler cards and email invites (which, by the way, we have no problems with whatsoever) Designer Tia Cibani has created the Ports invite on a folding fan, which will definitely come in very handy at some of those tiny, off-site venues on a hot September day, especially if (God forbid) someone has to wait outside for any amount of time.
As for Ports' location, it will be neither tiny nor off-site. Business at the new boutique on Gansevoort Street must be good, since Cibani has moved up to the big Tent in Bryant Park, again bucking the downsizing trend. The last two shows have featured live musical performances, so we can just imagine what she must be planning for a bigger space.
As for this season's theme, if the fan didn't tip you off, the Asian inspired preview sketches below should give you a pretty good idea.
PORTS 1961 (Official Site)

Saved Storefronts:

It this a food themed week on The Shophound? Maybe there's not much else going on (since we are not going to drag ourselves out to a Jimmy Choo Sample Sale. Sorry).
The latest encouraging news we have heard this week is that Vesuvio, the much loved neighborhood Italian bakery in SoHo that was shuttered after 80 years, will reopen as... a bakery!
City Bakery owner Maury Rubin has chosen the spot for his next branch of Birdbath, his eco-friendly offshoot chain, scheduled to open in October. In fact, Rubin fought for the spot as soon as it became available, and will be preserving more than renovating, most significantly keeping the famous green storefront.
“It’s an heirloom, it’s a treasure, it means the world,” he tells New York Magazine. “That I have a chance to have my bakery be in it is a gift.”
Its a gift to us too, considering what the space could have wound up as, or possibly just sat empty for a while.
History in the Baking (NYMag via EATER)

Sweets Reports:

Magnolia Curbs Expansion While
Little Pie Company Heads Downtown

Cupcake wars are a-brewing in midtown
Magnolia Bakery is getting its fourth and reportedly final Manhattan location ready to open sometime next month in the dining concourse at Grand Central Terminal. The company's president, Bobbie Lloyd tells the Village Voice that baking on-site makes more expansion challenging, though that hasn't stopped rapidly growing upstart Crumbs, which will have a new Grand Central location opening around the same time.
Meanwhile, The much loved Little Pie Company whose prime Grand Central spot is being taken by the upcoming Magnolia, will be leaving midtown and all that commuter traffic behind as it prepares to open a new location in Tribeca near Greenwich and Chambers Streets according to Eater. Presumably, this will be more like the charming pie café that was forced out of the Meatpacking District a couple of years ago, where you will be able to sit down and discreetly tuck into a warm mini-sour cream apple walnut pie.
We really need to go on a diet.
The Plywood Report: Little Pie Co., Kolache, and More (Eater)
Magnolia Regrets Its Trash, Says Its Grand Central Location Will Be Its Last in New York (Fork In The Road/Village Voice)
Magnolia Bakery (Official Site)
Little Pie Company (Official Site)
Cupcake Alert: Eating Trumps Seeing At Grand Central Terminal

Collaboration Anticipation:

More Jil Sander +J
For UNIQLO Pictures Surface

We're still hoping to get a look at more of the menswear from Jil Sander's +J collection for UNIQLO, but in the meantime, more of the line's lookbook images have surfaced on UNIQLO's home site where an official +J web page has appeared with specific prices.
Click on Sean and Isabeli above for a slideshow of the newest images of our Official Fall Wardrobe.
UNIQLO +J (Official Site)

Today In Previews:

Whole Foods Gives A
Sneek Peek Uptown

WFline Here's what we can report after last night's charity preview of the Uptown branch of Whole Foods Market opening this Thursday at 97th and Columbus.
The Shophound is still stuffed.
We are subconsciously drawn to free sampling of any sort, and last night's event filled the store with its signature tasting tables gathered from its many vendors and some local restaurants. All those bite sized morsels really add up. A partial list of what we sampled would include:

Oysters on the half shell
Indian food from Spice
Bits of what people who aren't from Maryland call crab cakes
Various flavors of sausages
A mini-sloppy Joe that was indeed sloppy, but not actually that mini
Several forms of goat cheese
A nice little chunk of Parmiggiano Reggiano
Double espresso gelato
Some truffles
Bits of a healthy snack bar that is composed of ingredients that we know will taste like mushy wood when combined but we try it anyway
Mini-tarts from Pearl River which we were interested to discover is a bakery in New York State and not the Chinese import store in SoHo.

WFbutcher There are no great surprises in store for neighborhood shoppers when the store opens. This enormous branch appears to have synthesized some of the qualities of Whole Foods' other NYC locations including Union Square's bi-level layout, Tribeca's raw bar and bulk grain dispensers and the Bowery's beer shop, a smaller version of which is tucked in a corner next to the cheese counters. Sadly, there was no Pommes Frites booth which is probably just as well considering the store's close proximity to us.
Not yet fully stocked, the well appointed store was only in preview mode, and not ready for actual shopping, but enthusiastic guests still lined up in anticipation to pay $15 (benefiting the Riverside Park Fund), get a look at the sleek wood and tile interior and scarf up those tasting samples to the sounds of two different jazz trios. In abundant attendance were the twin scourges of any New York grocery store: children and, how shall we put this, extra-mature people (Yeah, we are prepared for the nasty comments. Let 'em rip) both causing extra gridlock around the more popular tables in their own unique ways either by running around and getting in  your way or taking their sweet time deciding which flavor of chutney to try even as a long line forms behind them.
WFmums Candy_red After filling our tummy, and entering a drawing to win a special edition 90th Anniversary Kitchen Aid Mixer (which we have not an inch of space for but want anyway –it was so nice and shiny), we left with a copy of Cooking Light magazine and one of the potted garden mums that filled what will be the checkout counters.
We will do our best not to kill it, but we can't promise anything.
Whole Foods Market 808 Columbus Avenue between 97th & 100th Streets opens Thursday August 27th