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CÉLINE Set To Debut New Boutique By Month's End


Céline CEO Marco Gobbetti answered the "when is that store ever going to open?" question yesterday as he announced that the long awaited return of the resurgent luxury label to Madison Avenue would happen later this month. He was really announcing that the company would forgo its runway show for the Fall 2012 season in favor of less formal showroom presentations due to chief designer Phoebe Philo's pregnancy, but our concerns are more locally based. He offered no more details about the shop, though it will obviously play a major role in the protracted relaunching of the label after a revolving door of designers and, ultimately, Philo's arrival as creative director a couple of years ago to save the day. The label's previous location on Madison (now a Michael Kors lifestyle shop) was shuttered to give the new design team a fresh environment in which to sell the reconceived collection, but refashioning the former Gianfranco Ferré and temporary Dior store at Madison and 71st Street has taken a bit longer than eager shoppers had expected. Soon, however, there will be a new world of Céline to divert Madison Avenue's denizens.

Celine to Skip Runway Show for Fall (WWD)


Barneys Warehouse Sale Dates
Set For New York

Our friends at Racked have ascertained that the next Barneys Warehouse Sale will take begin on February 16th and run through the 26th. As usual, the Chelsea Co-op will close on the preceding weekend to prepare for the event. Much like last February's installment, the sale begins as Fashion Week winds down, and like last September's, it is only scheduled for about 11 days. Of course, the last time, it was extended for a few extra days due to the Hurricane, so perhaps we can hope for a blizzard to give us a little more time at the new, short version of the Warehouse sale. The difference this time is that the New York sale will now overlap with the L.A. sale which reportedly runs from February 10-21. How this will affect the selection and quality of merchandise available for us New Yorkers, who are obviously the most important shoppers in the world and entitled to the optimum selection of goods to choose from, remains to be seen, but we will consider it another upcoming chapter in the story of a rapidly changing Barneys.

The Next Barneys Warehouse Sale Will Begin February 16 (Racked)
Barneys Sets Dates For 11-Day LA Warehouse Sale In February. New York Still Waiting


Is Columbus Avenue Next On Deck For A Resurgence?

Anyone who remembers Manhattan in the 1980s would be able to tell you that one of the hottest shopping and social scenes of that moment was happening on Columbus Avenue. The East Village was bohemian, SoHo was only just beginning to transition from a gallery district to a luxury destination, and the Meatpacking District, despite the new appearance of a trendy restaurant called Florent, was mainly home not only to the actual packing of meat, but also to some very bold, gender illusionist ladies of the evening. Columbus Avenue, however, with its combination of trendy boutiques and even trendier bars and restaurants was hopping.

The 90s, unfortunately, were not kind to the Upper West Side as a combination of a harsh recession and disruptive sewage line construction robbed Columbus Avenue of much of its luster, as did the demise of its chicest anchor store, Charivari. The innovative designer boutique had two locations on Columbus as well as one on Amsterdam and another on Broadway, giving the West Side a fashion credibility it has not seen since. The min-chain was responsible for helping to launch then avant-garde designers like Jean-Paul Gaultier, Yohji Yamamoto, Matsuda and Dries Van Noten to New Yorkers. Think of it as the Opening Ceremony of its day, but it collapsed during the '90s as a result of overexpansion and squabbles among the family members who owned it.

Since then, designers migrated to SoHo and the downtown luxury boutique sprawl happened. While Columbus Avenue retained a few of its higher-end tenants over the years, it has transitioned into more of a neighborhoody corridor of restaurants and shops. It's still busy, but it has yet to return to its trendsetting heights. According to Crain's, however, that may be changing. A combination of high rents and scarcity of suitable spaces has made both SoHo and the Meatpacking District increasingly difficult neighborhoods for retailers to crack. They and real estate agents are looking to Columbus and rediscovering it as one of the city's wealthiest neighborhoods underserved by luxury-level shops with its premium stretch anchored by tourist magnets like Lincoln Center at one end and the American Museum of Natural History at the other. Recent designer arrivals like Rag & Bone, Helmut Lang and Burberry have found success, and landlords are feeling confident enough in the street's fortunes to start pushing up rents, sadly causing some longtime independent stores like the popular pharmacy, toy and cosmetic shop Therapie (pictured above in its final days) to close.

Right now, Columbus Avenue's revival is still in its early stages. Gap Inc, recently chose it for the first New York location of Athleta, its women's workout gear chain, and the area is strong in women's contemporary fashion with a branch of Intermix as well as Club Monaco, Reiss, Comptoir des Cotonniers and a newly expanded Theory boutique. Scoop has long been rumored to be looking for a suitable space, and they would fit easily but, since we are right in the neighborhood, The Shophound has noticed some other major lapses and opportunities in the street's mix of stores. One of them is menswear. There are exactly two men's stores, longtime neighborhood fixtures Sean and Frank Stella, between the Museum and Lincoln Center, and only Burberry and Patagonia sell both men's and women's clothing side by side. Chains like Club Monaco, Reiss and Theory that sell to both genders in other locations, stock only women's clothing on Columbus, and even Rag & Bone dropped its popular men's collection from its boutique there. Designer megabrands have so far stayed away as well, and while we don't expect Gucci or Prada to show up there anytime soon, the street would appear to be a good fit for one of the accessory driven "lifestyle" boutiques that Michael Kors is liberally sprinkling all over the city.

What will eventually happen to Columbus Avenue remains to be seen, but the local Community Board has taken some controversial steps to try and limit the kind of big box retailers like Michael's and Home Goods that have appeared there further uptown above 96th street. As luxury retail recovers from the recession with much more strength than other sectors (as it usually does) Columbus Avenue is looking more and more like a sleeper of a neighborhood about to be fully reawakened.

Meatpacking district cools as Columbus sizzles by Adrianne Pasquarelli (Crain's)


Valentino, Temperley, Calvin Klein, Thakoon, Band of Outsiders, Versace, Sergio Rossi, Gucci, Vilebrequin, Sferra, Fendi, Timo Weiland

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!

Eva Franco, Temperley London, 7 For All Mankind, Linda Farrow Luxe Eyewear, Paul & Joe Sister, Sorel, Line, Helmut Lang, Bettye Muller, 25 America, Pour la Victoire, Poleci/Black Halo, Noir, Calvin Klein Collection, Rosegold, Anagram by Gary Graham, Nanette Lepore/Tocca, SPANX, Valentino Prêt-à-Porter, Judith Ripka, Haute Hippie, Thakoon, Hyden Yoo/Dolce Vita, Edun/Vena Cava —join HERE
Theory, Vince, Tateossian Cufflinks & Accessories, Band of Outsiders, Versace, Allegri, Ted Baker Footwear, Yigal Azrouël/Esquivel, Mimobot, Shipley & Halmos, Saucony, Luigi Bianchi Mantova, Calvin Klein Collection & Footwear, N.D.C. Made by Hand, Rag & Bone, Gant Rugger, James Jeans, Parke & Ronen —join HERE
Down Etc., ThomasPaul Rugs, Kalorik, Weiman Furniture, Crystorama, WMF, Anichini,  CanvasPop, Film Noir Furniture + Art, Staub, Baby Nay, Anais & I, Luck Bums, Edoche /Baby Champagne, UPPAbaby Vistas, 9 Seed Maternity, James Jeans, Addie & Ella Girls' Apparel, Green Lullaby/Creative Toy Shop, Kitty Kat Girls Dresses —join HERE
James Jeans, Lafayette 148, Cosabella, Bellora, Rotary, Fissler, Fendi, Sergio Rossi, L'Erba, Thomas Dean, Soicher Marin, Bashian Rugs, Madison Avenue Couture Resale, Vilebrequin, Seychelles, Candice Olson, Tallulah Wines, Ibex, Peter Millar, Fitz & Floyd  —join HERE
Gucci Women's Apparel, Vintage Chanel Jewelry, Dior Kids, Vilebrequin, Cris Apparel, Report Collection, Canterbury of New Zealand, YSL Handbags, Fendi Kids, Design History, Linea Pelle, John Varvatos, Pour La Victoire —join HERE
Akribos, Calvin Klein Kids, Eight Sixty, Nambé, R.J. Graziano, Annie Griffin, David Kahn, Ellen Tracy, Etienne Aigner, Gentle Souls, Valentino, GUND, Lucien Piccard, Amrita Singh, Berghoff, Betsey Johnson, Cole of California, Invicta, Level 99, Naya —join HERE
French Heritage firniture, Cuisinart, Coronet Lighting, John Robshaw, Modern Bird, Sferra, El Dot, Chamart Limoges, Karma Living Kantha Quilts, Badash Glassware, nuLOOM, Dransfield & Ross, Reflections Mirrors, Pet Essentials, Madera Furniture, Tufkenian, Zentique —join HERE
L.A.M.B., Muk Luks, Cargo Cosmetics, Arnold Zimberg, Keds, Mackage, Magaschoni, Enzo Angiolini, Elizabeth & James, Stitch's Denim, Donna Morgan —join HERE
Catherine Malandrino, Qi Cashmere, Fendi Sunglasses, Jay Godfrey, House of Harlow, Calvin Klein Collection, Kova & T, Aviator, Comune, Trovata, Robert Wayne, Onia, Trafalgar, J. Campbell, Steve Madden, Cynthia Rowley,  Timo Weiland, John Varvatos ★ USA, Vera Wang, Carmen Marc Valvo —join HERE


Melissa To Open SoHo Shop At Fashion Week

Melissa-1Fans of rubber shoes will be partying in a few weeks when popular Brazilian shoe brand Melissa opens its first U.S. store in SoHo on February 8th, the eve of Fashion Week. The label is most famous for its frequent collaborations with big-name designers like Vivienne Westwood, Gareth Pugh and Jason Wu to name a few, who have translated their signature aesthetics to Melissa's jelly based materials.

The store at 102 Greene Street right next to Jill Stuart's longtime boutique is said to be modeled after the brand's flagship in São Paolo which has a dramatic gallery format described by WWD as "hypermodern" and frequently hosts art exhibitions. The new store will open with a display from AVAF (Assume Vivid Astro Focus) collective which is run by Christophe Hamaide-Pierson and Eli Sudbrack who recently garnered a lot of attention for designing the GaGa's Workshop installation at Barneys New York during the recent Holiday season.

Melissa Opens First U.S. Store (WWD)


Bottega Veneta Plans
A Men's Store Off Madison

BottegaVenetaMenFW2012Well, it's just Bottega Veneta day over here at The Shophound. Today's WWD announces the not-terribly-surprising news that the Italian luxury brand is planning a men's boutique on 67th Street just off Madison Avenue which will serve as a counterpart to the recently opened women's shop a few blocks uptown. It will be the label's first men's shop in the U.S. Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier promises a new interior design concept specifically tailored to the needs of the store's male clientele. “We don’t want to make men walk through women’s bags — it’s a little awkward for them,” he told the paper, just after presenting his Fall 2012 collection. He may be overstating his customer's distaste for the sight of handbags just a tiny bit, but the store will feature materials and colors different from the standard Bottega Veneta boutique design focusing on “what a man would like to find” in a store.

So far, we have no specific details as to when it will open, or the exact address, but at the very least, John Caramanica will eventually have his opportunity to take on the brand after today's out-of-sorts Critical Shopper review of the women's shop in the Times.

Bottega Veneta to Open Men’s Store in New York (WWD)


Sour Resort Luxe Edition

19ZCRITICAL3-popupToday's Thursday Styles features Critical Shopper Alexandra Jacobs in a disagreeable mood as she goes to town on the new Bottega Veneta women's boutique on Madison Avenue. She barely touches on the store itself, however. First she turns her nose up at the concept of the "resort" collection, suggesting that it is an irrelevant contrivance for the rich who spent the winter months in sunny, tropical locales, and then brings up the horrific Costa Concordia crash to ruin winter vacations for all of us. Thanks.

...it’s a small, lightweight collection of clothes marketed at people who can afford long jaunts to the tropics when the rest of us are trudging through sludge and applying extra lashings of bronzer to our ghastly January pallor. It blithely ignores what the great wobbly mass of American humanity tends to wear while traveling — e.g., velour tracksuits and Disney mouse ears.

Wow. Sour grapes. Apparently she is aiming this week's column at Republican Primary voters, as if she has completely forgotten that Madison Avenue boutiques and luxury brands like Bottega Veneta were invented to serve the kind of people for whom the concept of "resort" remains incredibly relevant. In fact, they are probably sunning themselves on the beach right now. It's the kind of disingenuous reverse snobbery not seen since the loopy days of Alex Kuczynski. Of course, we aren't assuming that Jacobs live on Park Avenue and carries her own Birkin bag like we know her erstwhile predecessor did, but there's a certain sense that she has started out criticizing the shop for being exactly what it presents itself to be: a luxurious shop for wealthy customers. Madison Avenue is, and has always been, shopping for the 1%. Get over it or find a new neighborhood to shop in.

Critical Shopper: On the Sea of Tranquillity by Alexandra Jacobs (NYTimes)
Bottega Veneta 849 Madison Avenue between 69th & 70th Streets, Upper East Side


Our Picks From (capsule)

WolverineXFilson-FW2012Click all images for a larger view in a new window

 The Capsule Men's Trade Show is over in New York, but with its move to a larger venue, it took us a few days to process the barrage of stuff we saw. There were definitely some growing pains for the new location including a sprawling setup and truly awful lighting in certain sections that had The Shophound and man other showgoers seeing spots. One of the reason we have featured a lot of shoes in this post is because, A. We love shoes, and B. they were often easier to see than pushing through poorly lit racks of garments. There were lots of familiar booths like Naked and Famous whose innovative jeans we still love, Wolverine 1000 Mile who has new collaboration with Filson (pictured above) and with Samantha Pleet for women's shoes and Tanner Goods, whose artisan leathergoods are all over the place these days, but here are the things that stood out and caught what by they time we finished were pretty crossed eyes.

Yuketen-FW2012This Japanese designed and North American made shoe brand is a major destination for most Capsule visitors. It has hugely influenced the trend of brightly decorated and patterned men's shoes. This season, we saw fewer hand-sewn styles from them, and more structured models including an expansion of dress styles. Of course, for Yuketen, that means wingtip boots in at least three different materials mixed together.. Many of these more structured styles were made in Mexico to mitigate costs, but they still don't come cheap We loved the new, lower lacing monkey boot styles at right as well as the brogued ankle boots. As usual, they shared their booth with the Japanese line MONITALY, which offered lots of the remixed classic they are loved for and a slippery rug made of woolen camouflage material which represented one of most popular patterns throughout the show.

OvadiaAndSons-FW2012This pair of Brooklyn twins made big splash last season with their expertly tailored handmade suitings, and this time around they appear to have expanded their line with more sportswear and casual looks. They are unabashedly luxury minded, and avowed fans of Ralph Lauren, but they may want to tread lightly on ground that America's favorite designer has covered exhaustively (The mannequin display at left looked particularly Madison Avenue Mansion-y). Though they are still finding a more individual point of view, it's hard to resist their incredibly well-executed collection, which may turn out to give Ralph a run for his money at the high end.

DuckieBrown-Florsheim-FW2012In case you were wondering if the folks at Duckie Brown had any crazy ideas left for Florsheim's classic dress shoes, we present the longwing brogue covered in multicolored caviar beads. In less elaborate designs, they offered the same shape in brightly colored suede with ring lacing on the ubiquitous white Vibram wedge sole. Get on board, guys, the days of plain old dirty bucks are over forever.

Ovadia's and Duckie's booths were placed in an area that clustered them with hot, young, attention-getting labels like Riviera Club, Billy Reid, Garbstore, Burkman Bros. and our favorite new designer IAN VELARDI who apologized for the fact that most of his Italian-made collection was stuck in U.S. Customs and probably wouldn't make it out before the two-day show ended. Velardi's debut collection has been selling well exclusively at Barneys and Park & Bond, and for Fall, he is sure to add more retailers. He was at the top of our list of designers we were excited to see at Capsule, so we fully plan to take him up on his offer to show us the collection when he gets it to the showroom. Expect a follow up post soon. In the meantime, you might still be able to pick up some great pieces on sale at Barneys and Park & Bond —we did!

MarkMcnairy-FW2012Because the New York trade shows overlapped with Pitti and the Milan runway shows, some booths looked a little thin, but this is the first time that we have found men's shoe deity Mark McNairy's booth without shoes! A slightly spacy rep told us that, aside form some basic, in-stock styles, the new shoe samples were with the designer in Italy, which didn't help us or anyone else at the show. It's certainly not his fault that he and his samples can only be in one place at a time, but perhaps the shows should be scheduled a little more carefully next season. At any rate, his expanded clothing line was there, including your definitive camouflage business suit, and a denim motorcycle jacket with crisp yellow zipper detail.

Eastland-FW2012While everyone else has been trying to find how many disparate materials they could pile on a shoe, the folks at Eastland have been doing very nicely by offering subtle tweaks to the classic, impeccably made hand-sewn styles in their premium Made in Maine collection. The newest styles had a new leather and rubber lug sole that gave a dressier edge to more casual styles in premium Horween leathers. Eastland also brought its 1955 Edition line which offers more fashion colors and details at a gentler price, like these classic boots in offbeat colors and that omnipresent white Vibram sole.

UniformWares-FW2012Most of the watch vendors at both Capsule and Project were showing off how elaborate and generally bulky their new styles were, so it was totally refreshing to stumble over (literally, they were in the middle of the walkway) Uniform Wares' sleek, streamlined and thankfully scaled down watches. We hesitate to classify them as "minimalist" because they are full of clever details like bands that fasten cleanly to the back of the watch, but they are a welcome change from the current rage for dinner plate-sized watches.

VanishingElephantRose-FW2012Of course, plaid will never go away, but it took a back seat to camouflage this season. By next fall, you may be looking for something different, and you may find VANISHING ELEPHANT's oxford shirt dotted with tiny rosebuds. While nobody thinks of florals as especially butch, somehow this shirt looks remarkably masculine for something decorated with, well, tiny rosebuds.

GrensonCapToe-FW2012The popular British shoemaker also had a booth that looked a little thin, and we suspected that a lot of their samples were also still in Europe, but we couldn't help loving new versions of the label's signature classic balmoral shoe and derby boot in black with a shiny silver patent leather cap toe. For a moment, we thought of early 1990's club-kid boots decorated with metal panels put through an ingenious filter of taste and refinement. Maybe we just love them because they are shiny, and isn't that reason enough?


Barneys Sets Dates For 11-Day LA Warehouse Sale In February
New York Still Waiting

The infallible Internet is telling us that Barneys Warehouse Sale in Los Angeles, which typically precedes the New York version for some reason, will be taking place from February 10th through the 21st. That's 11 days of bargain hunting at the Los Angeles Convention Center on South Figueroa. We have no official dates for the New York sale, but we would expect it to start shortly after the LA sale ends, possibly on the 24th, or possibly on March 1st or 2nd. You may remember that last season's shortened sale wound up being extended because of that little Hurricane that shut down the city. We wonder if they will relent and offer an longer schedule this time. So far the website has not been updated since last season, but we are watching closely.

Barneys Warehouse Sale (Official Site)
Barneys NY Warehouse Sale in LA - CA Feb 2012 (WHSale.com)


Our Picks From Project NY

NIckWoosterXOrlebarBrownClick all images for a larger view in a new window

It's Men's Trade Show week in New York again. While the European designers have been sending their Fall 2012 collections down the runways of Milan, American retailers have been checking out the goods at the popular Project and Capsule trade shows. Today, The Shophound hit Project, which turned up some more exciting surprises than we usually find there. We had always found it to be the more mainstream of the two, but probably due to participation of men's style guru and general internet fashion icon, Nick Wooster who now acts as the show's creative adviser, and probably has a lot to do with a lot of the smaller more exclusive designers who have been added to the roster. His collaboration with luxury swimwear brand Orlebar Brown is pictured above, and marks the first time we know of that Wooster has leveraged his internet fame as a brand name. We're pretty sure it won't be the last.

GHURKA-FW2012Our first stop was a visit to the folks at Ghurka, where the much loved brand is undergoing an invigoration thanks to a new owner and a new creative director, Steven La Guardia. We visited the new store in midtown last week, and we continue to be impressed by how the new team is bringing the accessory brand back to its roots while moving it into the future. Familiar, classic styles in new fabrics and colors looked refreshed, while newer groups of softer, lighter weight bags pointed to a younger look to attract new customers.

DickiesFW2012In the past year, the "Heritage" movement of reviving much-loved but dormant or simply off-track American companies has reached a fever pitch, but our favorite remains the Dickies 1922 collection which we discovered at its debut a year ago. A new denim western shirt with simple ring-topped snaps looks like a modern minimalist take on a classic, but Dickie's charming rep Ann Richardson explained that it was replicated exactly from their archives in Texas as she walked us through a beautifully photographed lookbook shot by friends of the company in their longtime headquarters. The disarming combination of pride the product and a deceptively canny curatorial sense continues to make Dickies one of our favorite booths to visit at Project.

AdidasSLVR-FW2012There is obviously a lot of outerwear at these shows, and tons of down, but out favorite pieces were this jacket and vest from Adidas SLVR, the athletic shoe giant's line for people who care nothing about athletics. The bronze, mottled nylon fabric tailored with a slight military touch looked like nothing that anyone else had to offer, and worth waiting until the Fall to pick up. As for sneakers, another thing that there's no shortage of at these show, out eye spotted an olive green high-top with metallic detail that conflated sneakers with just a touch of hiking boot and a dash of disco. Bravo!

ToddSnyder-SS2012The J.Crew alum who made a big splash at retail this past fall with his debut collection moved over from project with an impressively expanded collection that now includes an extensive collaboration with Southwick for tailored suits and dress shirts and London's Tricker's for shoes. The Shophound fell in love with this camel-colored shearling version of a military jacket that begs for a blizzard. Happily, Snyder's collection has gotten more tailored and sophisticated, gaining some more welcome distance from the look of his previous employer.

BlackSweater-FW2012In the small but focused category, documentary filmaker and Band-Aid scion Jamie Johnson brought his collection of tailored clothing, shirts and sweaters to the show for the first time this season. While a pharmceutical heir working on his second career might raise an eyebrow, selling the line at Bergdorf Goodman and Ron Herman gives him some real credibility, and we were impressed with the classic shapes and military details Johnson combines in his meticulously tailored line. The Black Sweater namesake is based on a story of a socialite who would send a black sweater to someone as a signal that they had been ostracized and should steer clear of the country club. Johnson's sweaters are the only ones we have seen that are actually made in the U.S., and he remains committed to prioritizing quality and construction over rapid expansion. We look forward to seeing more.

RhettBonnett-FW2012We can't tell you who is selling Rhett Bonnett's collection because he doesn't know yet, but we can guess which stores will be competing to launch his tightly edited collection of sportswear made in New York exclusively of innovative Japanes fabrics. We loved a crisp navy jacket with a drawstring waist, and a pair of gray tweed pants that looked like scratchy wool but turned out to be cotton as soft as a pair of pajamas. We are expecting big things from him in the future.

HerschelSupplyCo-FW2012We couldn't miss this relatively new brand's smart set of desert camouflage printed luggage, a surefire winner in a season where camouflage prints flirt with overexposure, but we almost walked right by the bright group of rugby striped backpacks, totes and duffels, a design idea so simple that we can't believe we hadn't seen it executed this well before. They proved that the simplest concepts invariably make the most appealing products.