« October 2010 | Main | December 2010 »


GILT Goes Full Price
Plus Oliver Peoples, Steven Alan, D&G, Molton Brown, Concord, Kate Spade,Catherine Malandrino

After some meager offerings over the past few weeks, the Flash sites are pulling out all the stops for Holiday Shopping. Like everyone, they posted strong business for Black Friday weekend, and we can expect an abundance of offerings in the weeks to come.

Today brings news that GILT will be expanding into traditional full-price selling next year starting with menswear. Will it still be called Gilt? Are they feeling more intense competition for goods from their competitors in off price? This weeks brings the sort of extensive Dolce & Gabbana sale we have come to expect from them, but it's at smaller rival Ideeli through the end of today.

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 sites themselves for the correct start time for each sale. Happy clicking!

Oliver Peoples/Mosely Tribes/Paul Smith, AG Jeans, Charriol, Jan Leslie, Joie, Juicy Couture Accessories, Alejandro Ingelmo, D&G Watches, Molton Brown, Matt & Nat, Catherine Malandrino, Kate Spade, Charlotte Ronson, Copmtoir Sud Pacifique —join HERE
Steven Alan, Incase, Holiday Gadget Shop, Trafalgar, Psycho Bunny, Pierrepont Hicks Neckties, A. Testoni, Armand Diradourian, John Varvatos ★ USA, Nooka Watches, Tateossian —join HERE
Laptops & Printers, Orb Audio, nuLOOM Rugs, Rizzoli, Sagaform, Assouline, Johnston's Cashmere, Kate Spade Tabletop & Gifts, Kilowatt Bikes, D.L.& Co., Kyocera Knives, WMF, Schott Zweisel —join HERE
Hickey Freeman, The Ultimate Bar, Cole Haan, J Brand, Hewlett Packard, Stonewall Kitchen, Tumi, Concord Watches, Cuddeldown, LaPerla, La Fiorentina Fur Accessories, Me&Ro, Thymes, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Callaway Golf, Tahari, Brooks Brothers, Isabella Fiore  —join HERE
Dolce & Gabbana, Miss Sixty, Furla, Robert Graham, Scott Kay, Novica, M Missoni, Earnest Sewn, Orrefors, Walter, Hartmann  —join HERE
Siena Frames, Zambiatti Cashmere, Random House, Dransfield & Ross Desk Accessories, Bric's, Calvin Klein Tabeltop, Campo Marzio, Melissa & Doug Toys, HK Photographs, Saint Parfum, Peacock Alley, Baudelaire Soaps, Lulu de Kwiatkowski Tag Sale —join HERE
Thomas Wylde, Lodis, Portolano, Calvin Klein, Splendid, Designer Sunglass Event, Bulga, Christopher Radko, Tateossian, Condé Nast Archives, Kensie, SIGG —join HERE


Changes Afoot At Barneys
As A Gucci Exec Is In
And Longtime Merchants Are Out

Barneys New Barneys CEO Mark Lee is making his presence known in the executive offices. A few months ago, the conventional wisdom was that, like his immediate predecessors, Lee wouldn't be so quick to disrupt the long running team of executives that kept the store stable during its rocky past decade and a half or so. Executive vice presidents Tom Kalendarian and Judy Collinson as well as senior VP and women's fashion director Julie Gilhart and creative director Simon Doonan had all become synonymous with the store even as Barneys' ownership and CEOs changed over the years.

All bets were off when the news broke yesterday that Collinson and Gilhart were out and Daniella Vitale was named chief merchant and executive vice president responsible for all women’s merchandise and Barneys.com.

So much for consistency. Vitale had formerly been president of Gucci in the Americas under Lee, and one can't help but wonder if the fact that the Gucci label hasn't been seen in Barneys' women's store for years might have had something to do with the situation, despite its being a key vendor in the men's store. Who knows? What we do know now is that Lee isn't afraid to rock the boat, and Kalendarian may be looking over his shoulder right about now. Doonan, a celebrity in his own right who is the figure most closely associated with the store's image, may still be in the most secure position since is responsible for the store's widely admired witty advertising and windows and he already has a lot of side jobs. As for Gilhart and Collinson, Despite their unceremonious departure, they are hugely respected industry veterans, and as the luxury sector seems to be rebounding at the moment, their expertise and professional relationships with vendors and designers will be in great demand from all sorts of quarters. Don't expect them to be out of work for long.

Barneys Taps Daniella Vitale as Chief Women’s Merchant (WWD)


Marc Jacobs' Bleecker Street Disco

Soon enough, Marc Jacobs' Bleecker Street women's shop will be covered with photos of cheery customers and his annual Holiday Mascot. In the past, this has brought us Santa or some other similarly cuddly figure, but this year, we discovered the above sexy babe shimmying in the window in a lamé gown. It looks like Marc will be celebrating the Holidays with a trip on the Soul Train which, to The Shophound, sounds like... THE BEST CHRISTMAS EVER! So in the words of Don Cornelius: "You can bet your last money, it's all gonna be a stone gas, honey!"


Bergdorf's Brings It With Full Credits

BGScenicRoute Bergdorf Goodman has set a pretty high bar for itself when it comes to Holiday Windows, but this year with a contest and a lavish new book to flog, the store has pulled out all the stops. We love to report on the windows, especially for those of you readers who may not get a chance to see them in person, but it is always difficult to photograph them adequately, especially with glass reflections, lighting issues and pesky passersby who insist on pressing their faces against the glass for what seems like hours to drink in every tiny detail.

Now that they have their own blog, however, the folks at Bergdorf's have solved our problem by publishing their own, professionally taken images of their windows. This year, the Fifth Avenue vitrines are a bit cleaner and crisper in composition, but no less beautiful than they have ever been. To give everyone a better idea of exactly what goes into creating the windows, the store has made a charming music video of sorts (below) starring its visual staff that shows the hard at work. Better yet, it even has a title card at the end full of credits, making Bergdorf Goodman the only store we are aware of that gives full credit to every person who worked on their anual magnum opus.

Bravo, Bergdorf's!

Wish You Were Here: Follow Me & go Behind the Scenes (5th at 58th)


Michael Kors Sets Store #5 For Flatiron Ffith Avenue

Michael Kors has been keeping the city's contractors busy this year, and it looks like that will continue for the foreseeable future. Signs have gone up in the windows of what will be his fifth store in Manhattan announcing a Spring opening at Fifth Avenue and 20th Street while construction continues on his upcoming Bleecker Street shop and his new Collection flagship on Madison Avenue. This is in addition to his already operating lifestyle stores on Prince Street in SoHo and on Madison Avenue.

So how much Kors is too much? Is the popular designer running the risk of overexposure? While his Madison Avenue boutique continues to exclusively showcase his most expensive collections, his four other "lifestyle" boutiques seem to be taking a page from the Coach playbook and hitting every significant shopping district with a store. The strategy has worked well for Coach, but is it be wise for the more rarefied designer to be so ubiquitous? Will his high end customers tire of seeing his name everywhere? Among America's designers, only Ralph Lauren has more freestanding stores in the city, but then Ralph's distribution strategies often defy logic. Just how close is Kors to saturation point in New York? It must be near but we are betting that there's at least another Upper East Side location in the works for Kors, if not more.


Will Be Your Favorite Gift Shop

Is there anythign more frustrating than shopping for gifts and being faced with the same old crap everywhere you turn? A few months ago, the folks at the GAP began addressing this problem by approaching Josh Rubin and Evan Orensten of Cool Hunting to fill their Fifth Avenue Concept Shop with Holiday Gifts. The pair quickly got to work squeezing about six months of work into four weeks and wound up with a collection of items that perfectly encapsulates their website's endless quest for the unusual, the intriguing and the just plain cool.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-3 Rubin, Orensten and their editorial team's assortment ranges from brands you'll recognize like OXO, Moscot and Jonathan Adler, who made special limited edition merchandise for the shop, to obscure artisans and even friends and family. Special focus was given to local sources, and there are an abundance of items under $100, and quite a few under $50.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-05 Orensten walked us through the store last week as the finishing touches were being applied just before their opening party. There are tons of items to browse from the practical and utilitarian like Jawbone's hot new Jambone speaker in an exclusive Cool Hunting green to specially commissioned flights of fancy like working skateboards completely covered in kimono fabrics by Tokyo's Zillion ($650-$750). There are toiletries, jewelry, accessories, food items, home items, toys for kids and even some for pets. Is it a random assortment? In a sense, but as in any good store, the merchandise is tied together with its collective appeal and Cool Hunting's dedication to innovative design, artisan craftsmanship, social and environmental consciousness.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-2 Of course, they didn't just ship a bunch of stuff to the Gap and stack them on the shelves. ByKenyan was engaged to transform the white space of the shop into something of a general store with reclaimed wood from upstate barns, wall paintings by Evolving Image and an Ian Hundley quilt based on a map of the city ($2,500). Even the elaborate chandeliers are available for purchase.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-04 There are too may items to recount, but our personal favorites included a limited edition Cool Hunting collaboration with the newly rejuvenated Swiss watchmaker Marvin, a charming avocado salt & pepper shaker for $40 from Daina Platais Ceramics, Tech Gloves from Freehands ($18-$80) with thumb and index fingers that peel back so you can use your iPhone without removing them, a Special Edition Marker Set ($500) from artist Tom Sachs and Krink, a build-it-yourself Bamboo Bike Studio Kit for $496, a limited edition Mast Brothers chocolate bar ($10), a special edition wool cycling cap from Outlier ($90) and so much more.

GAPxCOOLHUNTING-01 In addition, Gap and Cool Hunting will be hosting a series of events throughout the season to spotlight special designers and products. The schedule of events will be available on Gap's Facebook Fan Page. The Cool Hunting shop will be open every day (except Christmas) through Sunday, January 2nd, but we are guessing that much of the limited edition merchandise will be sold out well before then, so don't dawdle. So far this is one of our favorite things to hit Gap's Concept Space in quite some time. Maybe if we are very, very good it will become a regular seasonal event.

GAP X Cool Hunting Holiday Pop-Up Shop through January 2nd, 2011, 680 Fifth Avenue between 53rd & 54th Streets, Midtown
Cool Hunting (Official Site)

After the jump, a few more of our favorite items:

Continue reading "HOLIDAY POP-UP:

Will Be Your Favorite Gift Shop
" »


Did Tommy Hilfiger Really Accuse
Thom Browne and Michael Bastian
Of Copying Him
in This Month's Esquire?

This Month's Esquire contains a short Q&A with designer Tommy Hilfiger on the occasion of his 25th year in business (not yet available online as far as we can tell). Hilfiger has been patting himself on the back since Fashion Week when he threw a gala party at Lincoln Center to celebrate his anniversary. Here's an excerpt:

ESQIRE: What do  you think of the new generation of American designers?

TOMMY HILFIGER: I look at Michael Bastian and I say, That's Tommy, 1985. I look at Thom Browne and his red white and blue trims—that's taken right out of a page in our book.

Really, Tommy? They're copying you?

The obvious irony here is that, for years, Hilfiger had been (poorly) dodging criticism that he has built his company by blatantly cribbing from Ralph Lauren's playbook, putting himself in no position to take credit for being someone elses inspiration. His status today would prove the theory that if you present yourself as an important designer with enough marketing muscle for a long enough time, customers will eventually start believing you are one.

On top of that, Hilfiger, whose commercial strength has always been in moderately priced mass produced clothes, has never successfully marketed a bona fide luxury designer collection. Here he is going after Bastian, an alumnus of Ralph Lauren and Bergdorf Goodman whose classical, meticulously made and extremely expensive apparel is not likely to make anyone else think of Tommy, and Thom Browne, the acclaimed menswear innovator whose collections are really unlikely to make you think of Tommy. Is it some sort of wishful thinking that makes him compare any designer who makes classically based menswear to himself.? Unfortunately, while his business' current success speaks for itself, he has never been hailed as a creative force by anyone much. In her review of his last runway show, The New York Times' Cathy Horyn famously took him to task for his overinflated creative ambitions. Essentially, she called him a hack. While many noted Horyn's boldness at so severely criticizing the kind of big name who is often treated with kid gloves by the press, few actually defended Hilfiger's integrity as a designer.

Hilfiger seems to suffer from the kind of delicate ego common amongst sub-luxury level designers. He wants to be counted right up there with Calvin, Ralph and Donna, and, hey, why not Yves, Karl and Giorgio too while you are at it? Are Bastian and Browne really creatively inspired by Tommy? We've never met them, and we doubt that they would even comment on the topic, but we would tend to bet that they are not, and would bristle at the thought.

Interestingly, Tommy neglected to mention Simon Spurr, whom he just hired to give his menswear a shot of excitement or two as Peter Som has recently been doing for his women's lines. Nobody would ever confuse Spurr's sleek, internationally styled collections with Tommy's, but we'll be interested to see what comes out of that collaboration.

Profile: Tommy But Better (Esquire, December 2010 print edition p.72)
Earthbound at the Country Club by Cathy Horyn (NYTimes)


A Black Fleece Bonanza & More At Housing Works Fashion For Action

Click images for a larger view in a new window

Earlier in the week we inferred that there might be some choice Black Fleece available at Housing Works' Fashion For Action shopping event this weekend, so imagine our delight to find that several racks of Thom Browne's deluxe collection for Brooks Brothers formed a centerpiece of sorts at last night's VIP Preview party. Who knows what will be left when the sale opens to the public today. After all, $150 Thom Browne suits will sell quickly, and his meticulously detailed Scottish cashmere sweaters were going for a mere $50, when we all know that they retail for so much more. For women, there was even more from jackets to dresses to Persian lamb capes. Stacks of the witty oversized frame clutch handbag were going for $95 each, and there was even a shelf full of the kind of elegant kid gloves you don't see everyday.

Of course, there was a lot more there than Black Fleece. If you are not a fan of Browne's peculiar brand of classicism, there were heaps of DVF and Melissa shoes, John Varvatos leather jackets, an entire rack courtesy of Nanette Lepore. A trunk was filled with runway sample shoes from Marc Jacobs, and red Oakley sunglasses were piled on side tables for $20 each.
Soft leather Ermegildo Zegna dopp kits for $50, colorful Clae sneakers, Paul Smith signature stripe beach towels, a wall of jeans from Edun, Lucky Brand, 7 for All Mankind and other coveted labels, Cosmetics from Kiehls, Polo sportshirts, a few Mulberry for Target bags... oh, we could go on and on and on, but our best advice is to get up early and be ready to buy. There is tons of great stuff and the best part is how all the fresh unworn goods (NWT as they say on eBay) are selling for thrift shop prices, so you could spend as little as $100 and leave with a healthy armload of stuff.

Fashion for Action through Sunday the 21st at the Housing Works Chelsea Thrift Shop, 143 West 17th Street
Weekend Plans: Fashion For Action Kicks Off This Weekend At Housing Works



Hollister's Open On Fifth Avenue
And Yes, There's A Line


Click all images for a larger view in a new window

Hey, who knew this was happening?

Hollister opened the doors of it's new Fifth Avenue store today, its second in Manhattan, and, as if corporately mandated, there is indeed a line of anxious customers outside waiting to get in.

Hollister5A-2 The shirtless models are safely tucked away behind plate glass at this location, which makes something of a window display of the Jason Stackhouse lookalike greeting customers as they walk through the door (Helpful hint: anyone without a shirt on will gladly pose for a picture. In fact, they'll start posing as soon as they see you pulling out the camera. Just so you know...). There are no real surprises at this branch of the chain. Corporate retail replication is in full effect here. You will be greeted with clouds of noxious Hollister fragrance and an endless yet cheery chorus of "Hey! Whatsup!" the minute you enter, and the store is even more dark and mazelike than its much larger SoHo counterpart. Hollister5A-3 The Shophound could barely round a corner in some of those cramped rooms without getting slapped in the face by a potted palm. We fully expect that the place will be completely impenetrable between Thanksgiving and New Year's Day. One difference is that the store's signature live feed of the Pacific Ocean is shown on video screens that make up the storefront, a striking effect that gives the slack jawed tourists waiting in line something soothing to look at. Welcome to New York —Have a look at California.

Hollister 666 Fifth Avenue between 52nd & 53rd Streets, Midtown