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More Online Shopping:

Daily Candy Joins The Online Sample Sale Fray

We suppose it was only a matter of time before this happened. In fact, we're surprised it took so long. DailyCandy, the nearly 10 year old fashion and shopping newsletter and site is launching a private sample sale e-commerce site called Swirl, Sample Sales by DailyCandy much in the same vein as Gilt Groupe and Rue La La., offering limited time sales of merchandise at up to 80% off. The site will be available to DailyCandy subscribers only in Beta form beginning on the week of November 16th before its official début in January 2010.
To quote its press release, the new site "will translate its quirky aesthetic and curated editorial approach to a superior e-commerce sample sale experience, one that is currently lacking in the marketplace. Since most sample sale sites replicate the same random experience a traditional outlet store or offline sample sale offers, DailyCandy’s trusted editorial eye will lend much-needed credibility to the category." And furthermore, "Swirl won't include everything — it won't necessarily include the most expensive or most popular, but it will feature the best and brightest from every price point and corner of the Earth."
So let's clarify. Swirl will be offering a random experience, that won't include the most popular things.
Contradictory press releases aside, Swirl's hook is that DailyCandy's editors will be curating the sample sales. The real strength here, however, is that rather than building a customer list, the site starts out with a vast reservoir of subscribers already waiting to be pitched to every day. With parent company Comcast's resources behind it, we expect Swirl to become a major player in the fast growing category almost instantly.
Swirl-Sample Sales by DailyCandy Launches (Shophound Inbox)
DailyCandy to Launch E-Commerce (WWD)

Upcoming Imports:

Fast Shirts From Italy
Coming To Madison Avenue

Get used to pronouncing Camicissima.
This Italian chain is taking over The Body Shop's former corner at 509 Madison at 53rd in midtown for its North American début. The no-nonsense store sells only shirts and ties at affordable prices. Calling itself the Zara of the men’s shirt business, the shop is aiming to bring fast fashion to New York businessmen selling four cotton shirts for $99.90, and three silk ties for $39.90. It almost sounds too good to be true, but we will only have to wait a few weeks to see just what kind of quality we get for those rock bottom prices. The store is set to open on November 27th, the day after Thanksgiving. At the very least, it should be a godsend to young, entry-level executives who need to build up a wardrobe for work.
Included in WWD's story on Madison Avenue's newest entry to is a hint that retail rents are easing up considerably. Liberio Romano, managing director of Camicissima’s U.S. operations tells the paper, “We thought it would be two years before we came to the U.S., but the rents are down and we saw the opportunity to come into an expensive market.” The chain's goal is to become bigger in the U.S. than they are at home in Italy, and at those prices, it's looking entirely possible to achieve.
Italian Shirtmaker to Open First U.S. Store (WWD)
Camicissima (Official Site)

Shopping Party Redux:

Fashion's Night Out Returns In 2010

FNO2010 Like any blockbuster, Fashion's Night Out is getting a sequel.
The immense shopping and entertainment event will be restaged again on the eve of Fashion Week on September 9th, 2010, with every indication of it becoming an annual occasion. While last September's inaugural edition snowballed into a behemoth including 700 stores in New York alone, the plan is to make it even bigger, which hardly seems possible. The CFDA's goal is to expand the event beyond New York to other cities. Though many participating stores reported more drinking and partying than actual shopping, most retailers appreciated the positive attention on their businesses, though many designers would surely have preferred a bit more distance from Fashion Week. For them, it's like having to throw a big party while they cram for final exams.
On the plus side, everyone agrees that a much longer lead time will allow for better planning and organization. In other words, they'll know exactly how much booze to order.
Fashion's Night Out to Be Repeated in 2010 (WWD)

Today In Jumping The Gun:

In Which We Get Annoyed By Christmas In October

So yesterday, The Shophound was sauntering through Bloomingdale's thinking that they really did do a nice job reconfiguring their cosmetics floor, and that their men's department is probably one of the best retail renovations we have seen in years, when we happened upon the above display.
On the one hand, we were happy to see Bloomingdale's give some space to Simon Spurr's menswear (which is as handsome as it is staggeringly expensive) but on the other, we couldn't help being distracted by those pointy, sparkly pylons. We realized that these were meant to be little Christmas trees, and it's not even Halloween yet! The irksome things along with graphic banners in fuchsia, green and white, were popping up all over the store, ruining what had only moments before been a perfectly enjoyable rainy day shopping excursion.
There used to be an unwritten rule that Holiday decorations went up during the week of Thanksgiving, so that the store would be properly turned out when the Holiday season officially began on Black Friday, but over the years, some retailers have been pushing their decorations earlier and earlier until we have gotten to this point, where a store might see itself as efficiently accomplishing the huge task of decorating an enormous store, but customers just see it as untimely and tacky.
We don't care how gorgeous and inventive your holiday decorations are, we don't want to see them before mid-November at the earliest.
That is all.

Inclement Web Surfing:

Links For A Gloomy Wednesday

It's even gloomier today than yesterday, so here's a bunch of stuff that has been entertaining without getting our feet soaked.
Band of Outsiders and its sister label Boy (above) are launching at The Corner, a new retail site powered by Yoox focusing on young, independent designers. (Shophound Inbox)
• Graphic Designer and Chief Obama Propagandist Shepard Fairey will be on hand on Thursday to launch his Obey x Levi's collaboration with a live installation and free poster signing at the Levi's store in Times Square (Hypebeast)
• The bad weather wasn't enough to keep people away from the Yves Saint Laurent sample sale, and inside it was a grabby frenzy for handbags. (RACKED)
Ricardo Tisci is in no hurry to do a H&M style diffusion line with Givenchy. "It's too early. I'm still building the brand, and we want to stay on image" (Fashionologie)
• Small, independent retailers are working hard to save their Christmas business without slashing prices. That may mean putting Holiday merchandise out earlier than ever. Like tomorrow. (Wall Street Journal)
Christian Lacroix's future was to have been finalized today, but has now been delayed a few more weeks. (AFP via The Cut)
• A talk with LA fashion queen Ilaria Urbinati of our new favorite store, Confederacy (W Editor's Blog)
Next month, Phaidon, the art book publisher will launch a pop-up shop through January with their sites are focused on Taschen. (Cool Hunting)
• A look at what has survived Carmine Street's gentrification. (Jeremiah's Vanishing New York)
• The first look at H&M's ads for Sonia Rykiel's lingerie line features relatively buxom models Lara Stone (as a brunette), Caroline Trentini (as a redhead) and Anne V. with little rosettes perched on their nipples. Awfully amusing, but definitely not for wearing under a sweater. (Nitro:licious)

Retail Finally Finds A Growth Category:

Rue La La Is Sold For Big $

Ruelala It's a gloomy, dreary (slow news) day, and we didn't want to be the umpteenth person to tell you that Ruffian was doing a collaboration menswear line for Macy's or the layoffs at W, but here's a piece of fresh news: Online discounter Rue La La was sold this afternoon for $350 million. Its parent company, Retail Convergence will be purchased by GSI Commerce which provides e-commerce and multichannel solutions to online businesses. You probably haven't heard of them, but you have probably shopped on websites they power which range from Ralph Lauren to Adidas to QVC. Retail Convergence also includes the older, more mass oriented site SmartBargains.com.
Like Gilt Groupe, Rue La La is a private site offering limited time sales on designer clothes for men and women, accessories, home furnishings and travel. Both companies are only a few years old, and have been greeted with a customer base that has been growing exponentially with no sign of letting up anytime soon. More details will be available tomorrow.
GSI to Buy Rue La La (WWD)
Invitations to Rue La La available HERE and to Gilt Groupe HERE

A Critical Shopper Falls:

Mike Albo Goes Shopping No More

Daily Intel tells us that Mike Albo, who shares Critical Shopper duties with Cintra Wilson in the Thursday Styles has penned his last column for the New York Times.
The kerfuffle stems from a "Jetmystery" media junket sponsored by the email newsletter Thrillist and JetBlue in which invitees were instructed to appear at the airport with their bags and a passport for a trip to points unknown. Those who showed up (including Albo) found themselves in Jamaica (that's the island, not Queens) where unforeseen calamities sent some to the hospital.
But the significance here is that The New York Times, has strict rules about accepting such lavish free entertainments which extend to its freelancers, including Mike.
We'll miss needling Mike about his idiosyncrasies and shopping neuroses, but this may not be the last we have heard from the multitasker. His comment to DI: "I look forward to trying on cashmere sweaters I can’t afford for other publications."
On a related note we want to make it clear that here at The Shophound we are bound by no such strict rules, and are happy to accept all swag, which we will duly report about for better or worse (unless, of course, The Times comes calling). Keep that free stuff coming. We ain't gonna fire ourself.
Thrillist Junket Fallout: Times Freelancer Mike Albo Fired & Thrillist Jamaica Junket Sends Partiers to Hospital (Daily Intel/NY Magazine)

Beyond The Pumpkin Patch:

This Week's Sales

Above please see the Old Navy Pumpkin Patch which took place over the weekend in the Meatpacking District. Unfortunately, the folks at Old Navy wound up with a gloomy, drizzly day for their Halloween festivities. The patch was "technically" free, and if you are looking to spend some cash, the sample sales continue to charge along at an unrelenting pace. It's worth noting that this is the time of year that used to see the beginning of the sample sale season, so we should be seeing more current in-season goods at the sales, which now are on a constant rotation.
From our inbox to you:
• PRATESI's bedding, towels, robes, table & baby collections will hit Soiffer Haskin's midtown sale facility at up to 75% off this weekend, and you'll have an extra hour of sleep that night, so it'll be that much easier to get up earlier.
Saturday, October 31st through Tuesday, November 3rd, 9 AM to 6:30 PM
317 West 33rd Street just west of 8th Avenue.

• BLACK FLEECE by Thom Browne for Brooks Brothers will be holding its first Warehouse Sale for Women Only at Lighthouse International promising prices of 80% off retail. Items will be priced by category meaning that coats that were originally $2500 to $5500 are now a mere $499, the sale's highest price point. Sexy secretaries should mark their calendars.
Thursday October 29th:  8 AM - 7 PM, Friday the 30th: 10 AM - 7 PM, Saturday the 31st: 9 AM - 2 PM
111 East 59th Street between Park and Lexington Avenues

• CARLOS FALCHI's famous exotic skin bags and accessories will be marked down as much as 70% this week.
Wednesday October 28th - 29th, 10 AM - 7 PM
260 West 39th Street between 7th & 8th Avenues, 7th floor

• JOHN HARDY will be discreetly holding a one-day sale at 60% off in a hotel suite. Unfortunately, you will have to brave Times Square, but for Hardy fans, it should be worth it.
Wednesday October 28th, 8:30 AM - 7 PM
Westin Times Square Pearl Room, 9th floor, , 270 West 43rd Street between 7th & 8th Avenues

• ACNE, FILIPPA K, NUDIE JEANS and other Swedish labels at Want Agency will be on sale. This sale is usually laden with tiny sample sizes, so be warned.
Wednesday October 28th - 29th, 11 AM - 8 PM CASH ONLY
267 Elizabeth Street between Houston & Prince Streets,

• MAX & CO., Max Mara's younger line will be at the Chelsea Market this week at up to 80% off.
Wednesday October 28th - Sunday November 1st, 10:30 AM - 7 PM
Chelsea Market, 75 9th Avenue between 13th & 14th Streets.

• We have been wiped out by the Black Fleece sales on Gilt Groupe today, but those of you still solvent will want to know that along with kid brother site Gilt Man, they will be offering online sales from Donna Karan, Doo.Ri, Royal Copenhagen, Marc Jacobs handbags, Nespresso, Alessi, Kidrobot & YMC, Duncan Quinn, & Harry's of London. Click HERE for your exclusive invitation.

Weekend Washouts:

Is Gucci's Sneaker Pop-up A Bust?

As you can see from the picture above, Gucci was prepared with velvet ropes for the hordes of people that were expected to descend upon opening of the heavily promoted Gucci Icon-Temporary store in SoHo last weekend.
So where were they?
When we stopped by the Crosby street store last Saturday at around Noon, there was not a soul in the place, let alone anyone waiting outside, except for the properly decorous staff, smartly turned out in crisp white shirts. So what went wrong? Was it the weather? Though it was gloomy, there was hardly the kind of rain that would keep an enthusiastic shopper home on a Saturday. Perhaps confusion over the opening caused problems, as Gucci had earlier announced last Friday, not Saturday as the opening day. Was it location? While Crosby Street is just off the beaten path in SoHo, it's hardly so obscure that people wouldn't notice the big neon Gucci signs behind Bloomingdale's (though the Meatpacking District would have been a far better choice).
Maybe it's none of the above. Perhaps the folks at Gucci miscalculated when they thought that in 2009 they should be centering a costly promotion around sneakers that sell for for more than $500 (including some styles going for up to $1400)  —superDJ Mark Ronson's participation notwithstanding. While the Gucci Icon-Temporary shop was set up to attract collectors, it appears that the luxury brand has limited clout among sneaker folk. After all, sneakers are hardly their stock in trade. Limited edition loafers? That might have attracted some interest, and made rather a bit more sense for the brand. Maybe a couple of years ago, when mindless extravagance was the order of the day, they could have whipped up more excitement among shoppers, but it's a different world now —and apparently a different Gucci. The shop itself is a well executed, crisp white interior, like the inside of an expensive shoebox, and Mark Ronson's boat shoe/sneaker hybrid, designed in collaboration with Gucci creative director Frida Gianini, is an interesting design, but most of the other styles look like Nikes or Adidas that have had their logos replaces with Gucci flair and perhaps a touch of alligator here and there. Apparently this is not enough to get the same masses who will spend hours in line in front of A Bathing Ape for every new release.
Perhaps things will pick up over the next two weeks of the shop's appearance. Maybe Miami, the store's next scheduled stop, will be more receptive to the merchandise before the whole affair heads off to London and Tokyo and other international destinations. If the rest of the world seems to be as underwhelmed as New York, however, this might be a good opportunity for the folks at Gucci to ponder exactly what they think their label is supposed to stand for.
Gucci Icon-Temporary Crosby Street between Spring & Broome Streets, approximately through November 7th (?)

White Collar Update:

Free Shirt Frenzy Overwhelms
Rockefeller Center?

We're glad we stood in line yesterday because our friends at RACKED tell us that USA Network's White Collar Thomas Pink shirt giveaway at Rockefeller Center gas gotten totally out of control. One of their commenters has reported that as of 8:20 AM the line was already closed and the wait was estimated at a whopping six hours!
Sorry folks. You just might have to wait until the next time USA launches a show that has a clothing related title.
Total Shirtpocalypse at Rockefeller Center (RACKED)
Today In Complimentary Items: How Long Would We Stand In Line For A Free Shirt?