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Scoop Falls Behind The Curve


You would think that by the end of September, everyone would be done with Final Clearances. Really, the Barneys Warehouse Sale should basically be the last word on that kind of thing. However, Scoop, the contemporary chain opened its Warehouse Sale this week at its Scoop Street unit on the corner of 14th and Washington Streets to, if bloggers' reports are accurate, not much fanfare at all. Timing is everything, and it's pretty clear that Scoop held out for a few weeks too many.

The last time we remember going to a big Scoop Warehouse sale, we remember walking out with a bag full of Dries Van Noten, Hartford and James Perse shirts for pennies on the dollar, so our expectations were high. What we were faced with yesterday, however, seemed pretty random. Crowds were nowhere to be seen and staff outnumbered customers. To be sure, there is always a prize for the patient forager. The folks at Racked found some worthwhile buys amongst the womenswear, but a lot depends on what size you are looking for, and some of the leftovers, like the Devi Kroell bags, were still awfully expensive even at 50% off the last marked price. Downstairs in the men's section, we would have snapped up a pair of those tweed Duckie Brown trousers in a second for just under $50 if all five of them weren't size 38. The same goes for their heavy wingtip Florsheim shoes which were only available in bigfoot sizes. There were an abundance of plaid and checked shirts, which can be said about any men's store at the moment, and a good portion of them were under Scoop's private label, but even with the deep discount, the prices were not much better than the end of the Barneys Warehouse Sale. A lucky few will find the chrome yellow Simon Spurr cashmere crewnwecks for around $80, one of the few true bargains we saw.

Except for the jeans. And the t-shirts

This being Scoop, there were tons of jeans for men and women at the sale, but when it comes to denim sales, buyer beware. When it comes to buying last season's jeans, you have to be careful to make sure you are not getting Last Season's Jeans, if you know what we mean. And as for t-shirts, Scoop's range of vintage-y prints looked tired at any price.

Mainly, the thing that was disappointing about the Scoop sale was the thing that has become disappointing about Scoop in general. A decade ago the store helped to lead the boom in the contemporary category, but lately, particularly since the departure of its founder, Stefani Greenfield, it seems to have lost some of its leadership, particularly in its mens shop, where the policy of merchandising by item rather than brand sometimes leads to a characterless rack of shirt, jacket, jeans, shirt, jacket, jeans, shirt, jacket, jeans, etc., that keeps it from having any fashion impact, leaving it to stores like Odin and Barneys to break new designers.

Still, it wasn't a total loss. We managed to get out of the Warehouse Sale with a pair of blue Adidas Sambas for a mere $24.50. Because you can never have enough Sambas, even Blue ones.

Scoop Warehouse Sale 875 Washington Street at 14th Street through Monday, October 11th, Meatpacking District
The Scoop Sale: Worth Sneaking Out Of Work For (RACKED NY)


Carine Roitfeld Admits To Being Kicked In the Butt By Anna Wintour And Dreams Of Bartending

Vogueparis90 Since The Shophound lives in a perpetual state of media overload, we aren't able to pore over every magazine in the world every month as we would like. There are, after all, only so many hours in the day, and we also have lots of important television to watch, and then there's that book we're going to read one day...

Anyway, we will be sure to pick up a copy of October's 620-page Vogue Paris when it hits stands in New York. It's the 90th anniversary edition and features both new work and archival images from the magazine's illustrious and often racy past. As Fashion Week begins in her home city of Paris, editor-in-chief Carine Roitfeld took the time to give an interview to The New York Times' Eric Wilson where she proves to be remarkably entertaining.

Here are some highlights (read with a heavy French accent):

On her American Vogue counterpart, said to be a rival:

Because we have a big power, we have to use it to give an opportunity to some young kids, designers, makeup artists, photographers and models. It’s good that Anna Wintour was the one who needed to kick our butt, in a way, to do something. She did a lot in America, but in Paris, we were a bit slow.

On the disappointing content limitations in the 21st Century compared to the imagery that appeared in the magazine in past decades:

We try to be sophisticated, while a little on the edge all the time. But what I can see is that now, the censoring is bigger than it was 20, 30 or 40 years ago. I think we have less freedom. Today some pictures would not even be publishable. It’s not just about the nudity, but when you talk about things politically, the military, kids, it would all be politically incorrect and not publishable today.

On arranging the Vogue Bar at the Hôtel de Crillon during Paris Fashion Week:

I have a new job now: bartender. That is my dream, and also to open a karaoke.

Q. and A. With Carine Roitfeld By Eric Wilson (On The Runway/NYTimes)


Landmark Mansion Edition

CRITIC-B-popupThis week's Critical Shopper, Jon Caramanica, takes on Ralph Lauren's iconic Rhinelander Mansion boutique, which has been newly reconfigured and devoted exclusively to the designer's top mens lines, Polo, RLX, Balck Label, RRL and Purple Label. Mr. Lauren's PR machine has been touting the new store partly to promote it's new role, but also as a prelude to what we can expect will be a major media blitz when the brand new companion mansion for his women's collections opens on the other side of Madison Avenue next month. He gives the sales staff high marks for service, but touring through the store, he finds the merchandise to be something of a mixed bag. With so many different lines pitched at different customers like washed out RRL shirts for the faux-vintage minded and fuller proportioned garb for longtime customers who grown and matured along with the designer's 43-year old business, some things inevitably work better than others:

And when Ralph tries to be hip, it’s slightly awkward. A snuggly, blanketlike black cashmere blazer with purple trim ($3,995) was very Chuck Bass, the early years. And sprinkled throughout the store were some defiant club collars, a few seasons too late, though the pink-striped one ($95) looked versatile.

Yet, somehow Ralph Lauren turns out to be beyond reviewing. He is the critic-proof designer. He has literally constructed his own world over the years, and if you are not a loyal, devoted citizen, you are just a tourist, observing a different culture. Criticize him for being repetitive, or slavishly copying Savile Row tailors, Brooks Brothers or vintage goods, and he can point to millions of enthralled customers who adore the very thing that you find so irksome.

Well, maybe not that black and purple cashmere blazer.

Critical Shopper | Ralph Lauren Men: Uncompromising, Like a Gentleman By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Ralph Lauren Men
867 Madison Avenue at 72nd Street, Upper East Side


Hilfiger Switching Bleecker Street Store to New Tommy Concept


A few months ago we passed along the information that Tommy Hilfiger was creating a new collection aimed at 20-somethings called 'Tommy' that would initially be launched out of the spotlight in three Canadian stores before it would be made available next year on Tommy.com.

Well, not surprisingly someone at the Hilfiger organization (or possibly at new parent company PVH) has chosen to accelerate that schedule, and the Tommy Hilfiger boutique on Bleecker Street is being redone to prep for the new label. Earlier in the year, WWD told us that the line would be a departure from the designer's signature preppy basics, and the store concept would be "a white box with a pop of color, with decorative objects and modern art installations in the windows and throughout the space". While the shift may signal a vote of confidence in the new, as yet untested brand, it also suggests that Bleecker Street may not have been the ideal location for the main Hilfiger label. It may be that the fashion-minded customer drawn there by Marc Jacobs and Cynthia Rowley might not have been too excited by the designer guaranteed to be found in every Macy's. Frankly, it makes sense that the location in what is supposed to be a more exclusive shopping enclave would do better with the new label that isn't available everywhere you turn —not yet anyway. The 'Tommy' brand is meant to compete with the American Eagles and Abercrombies of the world, so if it finds a following,  it will ultimately be as ubiquitous as anything.

Tommytext Explaining the changeover is a florid block of text pasted to the window that reads like some kind of crackpot manifesto:

Call us old-fashioned. Go ahead. Call us modern. That too. We are a bright and shining mishmash of past, present and future. Venerable tradition offset by plenty of rule breaking reinvention. Clothes are well-crafted and purposeful, realized in tip-top fabrics, with an irreverent streak and a big grin. It's an ode to the heyday of American heritage workwear and sharp dressing sportswear, with a healthy dose of attitude. Taking classic models and respectfully shaking them up until they look mussed, sassy and good, with the tiniest undercurrent of exquisite danger. Uptown ventures downtown and doesn't come back 'til morning. Downtown sallies uptown and charms with unexpectedly fine manners. We love to mix it up. We delight in a chambray shirt in bright red. We say yes to the crazy, inspired twist that makes it so very now. As a matter of principle, we believe in simple pleasures and making something of ourselves. We believe in saying what we mean and meaning what we say and wearing what we love.


What the hell?

We know someone over at Tommy Hilfiger Headquarters is very proud of him or herself for thinking up "mussed, sassy and good, with the tiniest undercurrent of exquisite danger".
Maybe it was Tommy himself.
While he was really drunk.
We don't exactly know what that means, but, apparently, it's "the crazy, inspired twist that makes it so very now", and "so very now" is what we're all shooting for, right?

Fortunately for Hilfiger, it doesn't appear than anyone is actually stopping in their tracks to stand there and read the whole thing. We're probably the only ones who have, and we waited until we got home to read the photo we took. The collection is expected to launch in October, so we will all have to wait just a week or two to find out if the goods really are a "bright and shining mishmash of past, present and future".

Tommy Hilfiger To Launch A New Line ...In Canada?
Hilfiger Launching Collection and Retail Concept (WWD 7/15/2010)


Bloomingdale's Replaces It's
Third Avenue Storefront With
A Slightly Less Ugly One


It's always difficult to make harmonious changes to the exterior of an old building that will hold up over time. For example, Bergdorf Goodman's 1980's era revamp of its Fifth Avenue side has not aged particularly well aesthetically, even if it served a practical purpose. Sometime during the 1960s or '70s (or maybe the '50s), Bloomingdale's had its Third Avenue side reshaped as a big slab of stone totally incongruous with the building to which it was fastened. That's how it has looked ever since, with the more elegant, Art Deco era Lexington Avenue side of the store serving as it's official "face" —until this year when the Third Avenue side was shrouded with net and scaffolding. Obviously, the brutal block of stone was in for some changes, and in our hopeful optimism, The Shophound thought that Bloomingdale's would replace it with something that harmonized better with the original upper half of that section of the store. Like Bergdorf's, Saks and it sister store Macy's, the Bloomingdale's flagship has been cobbled together over the years out of the once separate buildings on the block it eventually took over, a history especially noticeable on the 59th Street side of the store. That's why it always feels like there are two separate sections of every floor when you are inside. We figured that since they had so thoughtfully renovated much of the store's interior, particularly the dramatically reconfigured Men's Department, that they would do something equally impressive on the outside.

Bloomingdales3 Well, We like to aim high.

Last weekend we discovered that the store had something simpler in mind, and basically replaced the gray granite with polished marble that echoes the more ornate black stone on Lexington Avenue in its color as well as the shiny black lacquered surfaces that have become a signature of its store interior design. Of course, it still doesn't match the rest of the storefront, and we can't figure out why they didn't just cover the whole thing with the new stone since what used to be windows above it have been covered over anyway. Surprisingly, the new scheme appears to have actually diminished window display space. It's a marginal improvement visually, but this is how you can expect Bloomingdale's to look for at least the next few decades.

This Week Online

Here is just a sampling of what looks good to us amongst the online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events. Be sure to check the correct start times for sales on each site. Happy clicking!
Delman, Jack Rogers & More, Elizabeth Gillet, Love Moschino and Cheap & Chic, Slane & Slane, Walter, Citizens of Humanity, Dennis Basso & Ginafranco Ferré, Bliss —join HERE
C'N'C Costume National, The Main Event Clothing Sale, Malo, William Rast, Morphine Generation, A. Testoni, Jack Spade, Helm Footwear, Marni —join HERE
teNeues Publishing, Michael Aram, Safavieh, Peugeot & Swissmar,   —join HERE
Betsey Johnson, Honora, Spanx, American Apparel, Cullen, Victorinox, Cuddledown, John Hardy, Joseph Abboud, Bernhardt —join HERE
Gordon Ramsay for Royal Doulton, Tarte, Carolina Amato, Dolce Vita, Artisan Cashmere, Miguelina, Shae, Sabatier, Rebecca Beeson —join HERE
Tourance, Airedelsur, Anolon, Silk Trading Co., Mansour Rugs, George Smith Furniture —join HERE
Tumi T-Tech, Michael Stars, Adrienne Vittadini, Nicole Miller, Ossington Accessories, In Character Costumes, NSF —join HERE


J.Crew Brings The Outlet To You


We can't tell you how many times The Shophound has thought of going up to Woodbury Commons or some other outlet center for some good deals, but, being the city dweller that we are, we have no transportation of our own, and arranging for buses and trains just seems so tedious. Well, J.Crew has solved this problem for us by putting its Factory Store online —but just for the weekend. For the past few Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the popular chain has made its Factory Store line available on the internet for those of us who can't seem to make it to the outlet centers. For those of you unfamiliar with this part of the J.Crew universe, the Factory line is not merchandise that has made its way from regular stores, but a more basic collection created just for the outlet stores to be sold at gentler prices. You will notice labels and other details that differentiate it from the regular J.Crew lines, but it turns out to include the kind of classics the company was known for before its evolution into a more upscale contemporary chain. Timing is everything, however, and, for now, at least this is only a three-day-a-week affair, but it may be just what J.Crew fans who feel the stores have become a little bit too pricey and fashion forward have been waiting for.

J.Crew Factory (Official Site)


Eryn Brinié Is Exiting


Perhaps their fashion was not fast enough for today's SoHo.

The Cut tells us that the well-liked Eryn Brinié is packing it in at its boutique at 501 Broadway near Broome Street. Admired for its merchandise that was not only well-priced, but markedly more sophisticated than that of its neighbors like Mango and Zara, the store was thought to be a launching pad for a the Korean-based chain in the U.S. Sadly, it appears that it never quite caught on with the neighborhood's throngs of tourists or made enough of an impression on New Yorkers. The label will remain available online, but as far as we can tell, there were no other locations in the U.S.

Perhaps it needed more stunts like Desigual's Underwear Party taking place today, but if that's what stores are reduced to today, we are giving Eryn Brinié credit for going out with its dignity inact.

Eryn Brinié in Soho Is Closing (The Cut)


Nepenthes Makes A Stealthy Entry

NepthenesNYIt's always a challenge for The Shophound to find a store that hasn't already been written up in ten other places, and, to be honest, we wouldn't have found Nepenthes if the folks at Valet. hadn't tipped us off about it's quiet opening during Fashion Week. You probably won't be stumbling across its doorstep either, unless you happen to frequent the blocks surrounding the Port Authority Bus Terminal.


Well, we usually don't either, but we found ourselves directed to the tiny shop that took over a tall and narrow union sewing shop without so much as a sign over the door to draw in customers. Clearly foot traffic is not the big expectation here, but Nepenthes is worth going a bit out of your way for.

Originally a menswear distributor in Japan, Nepenthes started developing its own brands, the best known of which is Engineered Garments designed by Daiki Suzuki which is carried in depth in the store including the women's collection called FWK. Despite the presence of the popular label, this is not a store that studiously clones the contents of Odin or Barneys Co-op, but has very much its own quirky personality. NepthenesNY2 It's no secret that stylish Americans have long been looking to Tokyo for cues about the next thing we should be looking for to stay at the forefront of style. Nepenthes brings that sensibility right to you which is a good thing if you think your wardrobe is starting to look like it has been collected solely from industrial uniform suppliers. The fascination with utilitarian workwear continues, but here you will find new fabrics and inspired combinations for a far less literal interpretation. Upstairs, we found accessories and footwear including items from more self generated labels like Needles and South2 West8. Inventive details abounded here as well, like the upper of a Gucci-style loafer married to the rubber sole of a Maine handsewn blucher moc, or Birkenstock inspired clogs in pricey perforated shell cordovan. There are lots of options as well from cult brands like Mark McNairy and Tricker's as well as a selection of almost cartoonishly über-chunky work boots and heavy wool socks. Even the stodgy American shoemaker Allen-Edmonds gets a long overdue makeover that could push it into the ranks of newly desirable heritage brands.

Like so many stores, Nepenthes doubles as a gallery as well, and its high walls are currently festooned with quilted and embroidered hangings by the duo of Carrie Houseman and Darbury Novoselic known as A Bee.

Though the store is very deliberately off the beaten path, it's not totally hidden on the edge of nowhere. It is close to the big MUJI store in the New York Times Building and not at all out of the way if you are familiar with the sample sale locations at Soiffer Haskin and Clothingline. As much of its stock is actually made in the U.S., we are guessing that the location may have been chosen in part for its closeness to what remains of the Garment Center's manufacturers, another worthy reason to support the store. The best reason, of course, is that it's full of cool stuff which should be more than enough incentive to get you over there at your first chance.

Nepenthes NY 307 West 38th Street near 8th Avenue, Midtown West
Shop Talk: Nepenthes (Valet.)


Cart Before The Horse Edition

Z-CRITIC-B-articleLargeThere's no putting anything over on this week's Critical Shopper, Cintra Wilson. Tommy Hilfiger proved 25 years ago that if you present yourself like an important designer, there is a certain portion of the public who will simply take your word for it and go with it, despite your never having had an original idea. Soon-to-be former Coach creative director Reed Krakoff may have convinced unsuspecting Madison Avenue shoppers that he is a celebrated designer, but La Cintra is having none of it in this week's Thursday Styles. Despite his lavish new boutique, and his bona fide success in more moderate markets with Coach, dues must be paid. Or maybe not.

Blog commenters, grumbling and eye-rolling, have declared that it is not possible to do it this way: that you can’t buy yourself into the role of an important, relevant fashion designer.
Well — ding-dong — apparently you can. It’s interesting to witness the stupendously splashy introduction of a designer who might not make it through the first five eliminations on a season of “Project Runway.” It feels ... awkward. As if Cybill Shepherd had performed her first jazz-singing gig at Carnegie Hall awkward.

Oh, Cintra we are so glad you're back!

Wilson pays scant attention to the handbags and accessories, which we suspect Krakoff is anticipating will generate most of his profits, and instead focuses on the ready-to-wear collection, any luxury brand's main image maker. She echoes more than a few fashion critics who have opined that in this respect, Krakoff may not quite be ready-for-prime-time, noticing that a strange fur harness apparatus challenges even the most willowy of models in the runway video.

When the model Karlie Kloss, who is nine feet tall and has thighs the circumference of a tangelo, wears this totalitarian beaver-enforcement garment, she looks like the box her dishwasher came in. There is little doubt that if I wore it, people would call me Mr. Baggins and beg me to destroy the Ring.

Note to other wealthy would-be-designers: There is no buying your way into Cintra Wilson's aesthetic heart.

Critical Shopper | Reed Krakoff: Bulletproof Clothing: Take Your Best Shot By Cintra Wilson
Reed Krakoff 831 Madison Avenue at 69th Street, Upper East Side