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Stella McCartney Moving To SoHo?

Stella McCartney opened her first U.S. store in the western block of 14th Street when When Western Beef and Florent were still going strong and the distinctive summer aroma still made the Meatpacking district something of a risk for designer boutiques.

Since then, her label and store have thrived, becoming something of a designer anchor in the neighborhood, so it's somewhat surprising to hear that the store is slated to move to SoHo by the end of the year. Paper and String reports that the store will be moving to 112 Greene Street between Prince and Spring Streets, right next to Louis Vuitton. Apparently, you can't beat the foot traffic in SoHo. Hopefully, this doesn't represent some kind of designer exodus from the Meatpacking District. Jeffrey and Diane Von Furstenberg, for example, seem quite settled (Diane even lives above her store), and we don't think that Apple is going anywhere anytime soon. While some cranky purists might not be sorry to see a designer boutique flee a recently gentrified area, a downmarket slide typically brings chain stores and usually doesn't doesn't invite back the neighborhood charm that many feel has been washed away. As far as we can tell, this move is an isolated case.

There is also the possibilty that, like DVF, Stella is simply opening a second SoHo satellite location. An official announcement is probably forthcoming, so stay tuned.

Stella McCartney Ditching Mepa For Soho (Paper & String via RACKED)

WWD has confirmed the move with the unsurprising news that Stella's lease was up, and a renewal would have likely included a four to sixfold increase in rent! What does it mean now that SoHo retail space is cheaper than West 14th Street? The article projects that the 2,500 square foot store will be open before November.

Stella McCartney to Move to SoHo (WWD)


Someone Got A Peek At Missoni's
Top Secret Target Collection

MissonitargetMissoni's upcoming collaboration line from Target has been kept under the tightest security. Even the few editors who were given a preview last month were forbidden from photographing or recording the experience in any way, but some clever photographer recently caught the ad campaign being shot, so there are a few unofficial preview shots floating around the interwebs including the one pictured here.

The campaign stars Margherita Missoni, and from what we can see, it should make both Missoni fans and Target very happy. It couldn't look more classically Missoni, so expect a big response once it hits Target stores later this year. This will be one to line up for.

Missoni for Target (The Fashion Spot via The Cut)


Limelight Turns To Plan B
Or Plan D or Whatever...

Limelightmarketplace2 There may be no location in Manhattan that has undergone as many twists and turns as the former church on Sixth Avenue once known as the nightlcub Limelight. In past decade, we have seen it go from the last gasps of its infamous club incarnation, to a seedy closeout location, to its current life as a would-be upscale shopping arcade.

It's no secret that the Limelight Marketplace has been a bust for the vendors who ventured to take space inside the famous building. All reports point to initial interest from shoppers that could not be sustained. The few recognizable vendors have abandoned the complex, and even now owner Jack Menashe is telling the Wall Street Journal that he will be reconfiguring the space once again —this time as a single freestanding boutique that he will run himself. Non-food vendors will be leaving, and Menashe will remove the booths and stalls to open up the original church space. Restaurants like Grimaldi's and Cross Bar from Todd English will remain, which is a good thing, because they both only just opened. The new store, still to be called "Limelight" is expected to be ready in September.

We wish him the best of luck. He will need it.

On the surface, this looks like a good solution to a project that didn't work out as well as one might have hoped. Mr. Menashe tells the Journal that the new department store concept will be "not unlike Barneys," an ambitious goal, considering that his previous retail ventures include Bang Bang, which many may remember as a chain of boutiques selling flashy, inexpensive clubwear which ultimately fell victim to larger chains like H&M and Forever 21, and Lounge, a larger, more ambitious store in SoHo which initially found success with the premium denim explosion of the last decade, but was unable to keep up with more fashion forward stores like Scoop and Intermix. It eventually folded after a seemingly endless closing sale that dismayed customers with inflated prices that misrepresented the kind of discount merchandise was really selling for. Eventually, when he lost control of the SoHo location, Menashe moved the closeouts to the Limelight space, beginning his association with the location.

So, now Menashe is going to turn the failed mini-mall into a single, larger store that will sell brands like Bed Stu, PRPS, Nudie Jeans and James Perse.
Sounds a lot like Lounge.
He has hired a buyer from Googie's Retail in Aspen Colorado, which, as far as we can tell, is a casual boutique connected to a retro-style diner. It sounds like an earlier version of Boogie's that some New Yorkers may remember from about 20 years ago on Lexington Avenue near Bloomingdale's. A Swiss-based retail consultant has also been hired to develop the concept in a scant three or four months. "One of the things we're starting to do is to add a level of sophisticatedness to it, if that's a word," Menashe tells the Journal.
Seriously that's a quote.

We really hope Mr. Menashe is finally able to turn Limelight into something terrific, but there's not alot in his recent past to suggest that he is up to the task. the main problem, however, is not necessarily his taste level ans retailing skills, but ocation, location, location. Limelight is smack in the middle of a stretch of big box retailers like Bed Bath and Beyond, The Container Store and Sports Authority. It is not the West Village, SoHo or the Meatpacking District, and it is a long block away from the lower Fifth Avenue Flatiron shopping strip that includes Paul Smith, Intermix and J.Crew. If you ask us, the only thing to do with Limelight is to turn it back into what it was successful as in the first place, a nightclub.
But that would just make too much sense.

Doing a Makeover in the 'Limelight' by Dana Rubinstein (Wall Street Journal)
Is Limelight Marketplace Fizzling? (4-18-2011)
Lounge Meets Its End In The Limelight (1-26-2009)


Valentino, Dolce & Gabbana, Zac Posen, Ben Minkoff, Michael Kors, NSF, Gilded Age, Acne, Leifsdottir, Dolce Vita, Tahari, Earnest Sewn

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Happy clicking!

Acne, Dolce & Gabbana/D&G, Soïa & Kyo, Bettye Muller, Cut 25, Juicy Couture, Alanna Bess, Rachel Reinhardt, Z Spoke by Zac Posen, Valentino Prêt à Porter, Delman —join HERE
Android Watches, Ben Minkoff, Charles Tyrwhitt, Harry's of London, The Art of Shaving, Adidas Y-3, Gilded Age, Links of London, MICHAEL Michael Kors, NSF, rxmance —join HERE
Core Bamboo, SCIP French Cutlery & Wine Accessories, C+A Design, Crystorama, Erik Bagger, Pasadena Bedding & Bath, Juicy Couture Kids, Bassett Baby Furniture, L'Amour & Angel Shoes, Neige, Pamela Klein Kid's Bedding —join HERE
Kenneth Jay Lane, Herve Chapelier, Joseph Abboud, Mephisto, Leifsdottir, Seiko, Stonewall Kitchen, John Allan's, Elie Tahari, Lucky Brand, Earnest Sewn, MICHAEL Michael Kors —join HERE
Calvin Klein, Hype, Max Studio, Sharagano, Julie Brown, Mikael Aghal, Yoana Baraschi, Blush, Rock & Republic —join HERE
Kim Seybert, Samsonite, Home Environment, nuLOOM, Aviva Staanoff, Belle Epoque, D.L. & Co., Dan Doyle Furniture, Michael Wainwright Dinnerware, Matt Camron Rugs  —join HERE
Kenneth Cole, Eva Franco, Decades Denim, Dolce Vita, Amrita Singh, Harajuku Lovers, Seven7, Original Penguin —join HERE


Favorite Haunt Edition

Z-CRITIC-2-popup In today's Thursday Styles, this week's Critical Shopper, Alexandra Jacobs travels what sounds like a well trodden path to 1 Of A Find, a Prospect Heights vintage store that is clearly one of her personal favorites. That's fair game, certainly, but espite the obvious bias, it sure seems like there is an exceptional vintage store hidden away in Brooklyn that falls somewhere between the rarefied couture boutiques like Resurrection and the dusty racks of lower end resale stores. Jacobs is particularly taken with owner Honey Moon's discerning eye for the kind of old stuff a certain type of New Yorker will covet.

For those who believe vintage (another pretentious euphemism, meant to give castoffs the cachet of fine wine) means clawing itchily through rack after rack of stuff, there is within a mile the Salvation Army on Atlantic Avenue, Beacon’s Closet on Fifth or the cheerful but chaotic Hooti Couture on Flatbush. OOAF showcases rather an awareness, whether instinctive or studied, of current trends.

Sounds like a little gem, and we certainly hope that Jacobs hasn't ruined her favorite shopping excursion by sending throngs of vintage loving Times readers scrambling to Prospect Heights to clean the place out. That kooky column can have all sorts of effects on a store.

Critical Shopper: Not So New, but Not Forgotten By Alexandra Jacobs (NYTimes)
1 Of A Find 633 Vanderbilt Avenue, Prospect Heights, Brooklyn


Why Is Ralph Lauren
Ditching Bleecker Street?

Our friends at RACKED discovered a surprising sight yesterday: Ralph Lauren's men's and women's stores have apparently been abruptly shut down. It's not for renovations or remodeling either. The signage has been removed and the windows are smudged over. Signs on the doors direct customers to the company's brand new store on Prince Street in SoHo.

What's especially surprising is that the women's unit on the corner of Bleecker and Perry had only opened less than two years ago after moving from a smaller location across the street that, as far as we know, remains a Ralph Lauren children's store.

We could speculate and speculate about why this is happening. Did someone finally realize that the tiny stores (that men's store could barely hold more than three customers at a time) might never be able to generate enough business to justify what must be a huge overhead? Having just seen Ralph's gazillion-acre Colorado ranch on one of Oprah's last shows, we have a hard time believing that his company would suddenly be nickel and diming over such coveted addresses. Racked tracked down a company rep who confirmed that the company was not abandoning the stores entirely but converting them for another Ralph Lauren brand which will take over the spaces. Perhaps the equally cramped RRL store down the street will be moved in, or possibly a new Rugby store. Today's WWD article about Ralph Lauren's upcoming retail strategies does not mention the Bleecker Stores, but does point out that the designer has several different premium denim collections in the works. And then there's the possibility that they could be turned into Club Monaco which, let's face it, would have to be considered something of a downgrade. What would this mean for the other high-end designer stores who have agreed to the high rents that pushed out Bleecker Street's original independent retailers?

Bleecker Street Ralph Laurens Both Shuttered, Seemingly Overnight (RACKED)
Polo Ralph Lauren to Invest $1B to Expand Own Retail (WWD)



Is Former Neiman's & Bergdorf's Men's Fashion Director Nick Wooster Dropping Hints?

Nickelson Wooster, the men's fashion director for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman who resigned last week, has generally had a laid back attitude towards social media even as his profile rose during his most recent job. Though he would occasionally post to Bergdorf's blog, days and even weeks would often go by between tweets and blog posts, until yesterday, when a relative torrent of images hit his Tumblr account. The first we noticed was an image of swaying palm trees, but since then, a whopping 10 more images have popped up, including shoes, a sly mash-up sketch of Thom Browne and Tom of Finland (Wooster is a noted Thom Browne fan), a cool vintage Rolex, and various other messages like "Pick your battles" and " —fin— " among others. Does it all mean anything specific or are they just the random thoughts of someone catching up on his photoblog? Perhaps the most intriguing post is a picture of designer Michael Bastian taken from his first Gant collection's campaign last Fall (see after the jump). There is no additional commentary attached.

Is it just a shout out to a friend and colleague, or a hint for the future? Bastian is also a Bergdorf veteran who once held the men's fashion director position. Of course, the designer is also reorganizing his signature line for a Spring 2012 relaunch. In Monday's WWD item regarding Wooster's surprise departure from his position, an unnamed fashion veteran is quoted as saying, “He goes where the opportunity is.” Maybe Nick is just letting everyone (including Browne and Bastian) know that he is available for work. And here is how gossip gets started.

Make of this what you will.

Nickelson Wooster (Tumblr)
Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman Lose Their Men's Fashion Director

Continue reading "SECRET MESSAGES:

Is Former Neiman's & Bergdorf's Men's Fashion Director Nick Wooster Dropping Hints?" »


Patron Of The New
Makes A Destination In Tribeca

You wouldn't be blamed for walking right past the new boutique Patron of the New. The imposing Tribeca building that houses it barely indicates that there's a sophisticated shop behind those vermilion columns with the store's tone-on-tone logo discreetly placed on smoked glass doors. This is a particular kind of store for a particular kind of person, and like others of its ilk, Atelier New York and IF for example, it prefers to remain off the well worn paths trod by legions of less discriminate shoppers. The Western end of Franklin Street is not exactly the edge of the earth, but its far enough away to make itself a destination for those in the know.

It's not surprising that the store was playing Grace Jones when The Shophound walked in the other day, because Patron of the New seems like just the sort of place where the bold, androgynous singer might shop for herself. There are no lacy ruffles to be found here for women or men. The typical shopper might find the offerings challenging. It's certainly not the place to go for a basic blazer or a simple anything. In fact those red columns outside are the most colorful thing about the place. The boutique features sleek, sometimes minimalist and often architectural collections in a color range from white to gray to mud to black from designers like with vaguely familiar names like Josephus Thimister, Nicolas Andreas Taralis and the adventurous New York men's label Siki Im. Other brands are even less well known, but this store's customer is not looking for comforting familiarity, and is likely to confront a strange designer with a sense of discovery.

Perhaps it was because of our cargo shorts and rumpled J. Crew shirt that our presence only elicited the politest of acknowledgement of the staff (at least they were Jil Sander cargo shorts). In fairness, the staff would have assumed correctly that we weren't exactly a likely customer, but you never know. The store was more of an intriguing gallery to us than a wardrobe resource, but still, they could have expressed a bit more warmth.

So, Patron of the New is not for the conservative of dress or budget. As we exited we were struck by a display of accessories made of sponge meticulously crafted into totes and handbags. We picked up a simple clutch which, priced at a mere $95, seemed like a bargain until we remembered it was made of sponge, not calfskin. On the plus side, it couldn't come in handier if you happen to spill your cocktail.

Patron of the New 15 Franklin Street between Varick & Hudson Streets, Tribeca


Home Goods Causes A Stir
On The Upper West Side

We missed Home Goods' early morning opening on Sunday, but when we stopped by yesterday, we could tell that it had been a success as workers were still scrambling to replenish goods all over the store, which was remarkably busy for a drizzly Monday afternoon.

We have been watching for the opening for a while. For one thing, it's only a stone's throw from The Shophound's Upper West Side HQ, and we had already found ourselves frequently browsing the nearby TJMaxx for household bargains, so how bad could a bigger version of that be?

Not bad at all, it turns out. Like any off-pricer, if you hit it on the right day, it can be pretty great. This is Home Goods' first entry into Manhattan, but there won't be too many surprises for anyone familiar with the home offerings at TJMaxx and Marshalls. They all draw from the same sources, but there is a whole lot more to choose from at this new superstore. The street level is devoted to kitchen and tabletop categories including an abundance of All-Clad, Cuisinart and Calphalon products which, at times, can render Williams-Sonoma obsolete. Downstairs, there is everything else from furniture to bed and bath as well as lamps and other gifts and home accessories.

How much you will enjoy shopping at Home Goods depends on how much you like hunting through off-price stores for that irresistible bargain. If you like rummaging through the dusty basement at Century 21 for a great deal on a set of knives or a discounted frying pan, then spacious, well-lit Home Goods will feel like a luxury store. If you have no patience for that sort of thing, then by all means, stick to Bloomingdale's. This kind of store is for the shopper with a sixth sense who can weed out the finds from the filler. A strong sense of your own taste is indispensable, because while familiar brands like Ralph Lauren, Vera Wang, Calvin Klein and Barbara Barry pop up all over the store, there are also a lot of anonymous labels you have probably never heard of, and may exist only for selling in off-price channels. In fact, some of the well known brands offer goods here that are manufactured for outlets and off-price selling only. That doesn't mean that they aren't any good, it just means you have to have a good sense of quality and what sorts of things you really like in order to be successful there. For example, All that All-Clad is marked as seconds, which doesn't mean that it won't cook your food just as well, but there is probably a scratch somewhere that disqualified it from Macy's. Like any off pricer, hit or miss is the rule at Home Goods. There's no knowing exactly what's going to be on the floor at any given time, but once you get to know the store, you can get a pretty good idea what kinds of merchandise they tend to have.

In the end, if you have been enjoying the recent proliferation of Marshalls and TJMaxx in the city, then you will probably find yourself visiting Columbus Avenue at around 99th Street frequently, especially of you have a kitchen or a bedroom to outfit, but if those stores don't do anything for you, then you'll probably be happier at the more reliable Bed Bath & Beyond.

Home Goods 795 Columbus Avenue at 99th Street, Upper West Side
OFF-PRICE ALERT: Home Goods Stocks Its Shelves For A Sunday Morning Opening


Neiman Marcus & Bergdorf Goodman Lose Their Men's Fashion Director

Nickelson Wooster abruptly left his post last week as Men's fashion Director for Neiman Marcus and Bergdorf Goodman. As far as we know, he is the first person to hold the responsibilities for both divisions of Neiman Marcus Group (Roopal Patel, a fellow Bergdorf veteran continues to hold the women's counterpart post).  Wooster's history with NMG goes back over two decades to when he was buyer for the most advanced Men's Designer Collections at the opening of Bergdorf Goodman's Men's store. He returned to the company a few years ago after having held posts at Ralph Lauren, Calvin Klein, among other companies and, most prominently, as president of John Bartlett from 1996 to 2001. Since returning to NMG, Wooster has also become a favorite of style bloggers like Tommy Ton, and his distinctive personal style has been chronicled exhaustively during fashion weeks.

There are no rumors about trouble between Wooster and NMG, and a lot of people are curious about what his next move will be. Wooster has made no comment about his departure, but the most recent entry on his Tumblr (pictured below) should give anyone who is wondering a pretty good picture of his current state of mind.


Nick Wooster Departs Neiman’s (WWD)