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Nordstrom Takes A Bite Of Bonobos

BONOBOS-1It's a win for both sides as Nordstrom has made a $16.4 million cash investment in Bonobos, the New York based men's sportswear company. For the online-only brand, it will be an opportunity to launch their product in one of America's most popular department stores with a perfectly matched target customer. Bonobos made its reputation by banishing the baggy khaki pant and creating upscale men's trousers that fit so well that they could be purchased online without being tried on in person. Now expanded to a full sportswear collection, the label will be make its retail debut exclusively in Nordstrom's infuential men's departments.

In addition to launching a popular line, Nordstrom's investment will also allow the seattle-based chain to take advantage of the prodigious online retailing expertise cultivated at Bonobos to enhance its own evolving web business. Quiet, clever acquisition has been a business strategy for Nordstrom for a few years now. While it has not purchased Bonobos outright, the store recently got into the online flash sale business by buying HauteLook, and many customers remain unaware that the exclusive Meatpacking District boutique Jeffrey is also owned by Nordstrom, and its founder, Jeffrey Kalinsky is the chain's Executive Vice President of Designer Merchandising. There is no word that Bonobos co-founder Andy Dunn will be taking on an official role at Nordstrom, but should the 116-store chain increase its investment by buying the company, it's hugely successful but extremely conservative men's business could benefit from the fashion shot-in-the arm that Dunn could offer.

As for us in New York, we still don't have our own Nordstrom yet (though we are the only city with the chain's Treasure & Bond division and there are rumours of another Rack coming to Sixth Avenue in Chelsea). This news continues to keep Nordstrom's status as the most fascinating store we can't shop at just yet.

Stores Go Online to Find a Perfect Fit (NYTimes)


Bergdorf Goodman Gets A New Boss

Josh-schulmanAs a customer, you might not have known that Bergdorf Goodman has been without a president for about two years, as its previous chief, Jim Gold, has been overseeing the store from Dallas as president of specialty retail for the Neiman Marcus Group, the store's parent. Yesterday, however the company admitted that Bergdorf's really needs a more hands-on leader, so it named Joshua Schulman the store's president (pictured at left). It marks the first time that Bergdorf Goodman has been led by an executive whose experience comes from the wholesale side of the business. Schulman, whose most recent position was as CEO of Jimmy Choo lacks the traditional merchandising background one would expect from a retail CEO, but has decades of experience working with Bergdorf's as an executive with luxury brands like Jimmy Choo, Yves Saint Laurent and Gucci, where he was worldwide director of women’s ready-to-wear. It was there, ironically, where he oversaw the removal of Gucci women's apparel from Bergdorf's in 1999 when the label was displeased with the way the line was being presented in the store (By the way, having watched this happen with our own eyes, we can report it as a smart move on his part at the time. Gucci apparel returned after a hiatus of several seasons with a much larger department for women on the second floor).

Any gaps in the new President's experience will be covered by Gold, to whom he will report. “Although I’ve been a vendor, I’m not coming in with any preconceived notions. I will be working on a new strategic plan,” Schulman tells WWD, who suggests that strengthening management at Bergdorf's may be part of a larger strategy of preparing Neiman Marcus Group for a public offering.

Joshua Schulman Heading to Bergdorf Goodman by David Moin (WWD)


Brooklyn Dream Edition

12criticslideshow-slide-PH4J-articleLargeThis week's Thursday Styles readers will find a Critical Shopper column that is based in part on a fantasy. In an extended opening section, shopper John Caramanica expounds on the idyllic life he imagines among the quiet, serene side streets of Greenpoint, Brooklyn which he calls "the Via Condotti of fourth-wave Brooklyn redistricting". His dream home is so placid and, more importantly, imaginary, that we can't help thinking it must be right around the corner from The Shophound's football-field-sized Tribeca loft —geographic specifics being essentially irrelevant when we are talking about living in fantasyland.

Here, everything is still, on streets populated by people who mostly seem to stay in their homes. This spit of town is so isolated that it bears little relation to the aggro-hip clusters in next-door Williamsburg, to say nothing of the melting-pot bustle just a block away, on Manhattan Avenue, which practically constitutes a different borough.

Anyway, his dream has inspired him to showcase not one but three stores from the neighborhood's Franklin Street corridor, Alter, Raised By Wolves and Kill Devil Hill. Each is little independent gem of eclecticism, some even selling goods made right in the neighborhood. They are untouched by the corrupting masses of nearby Williamsburg or, god forbid, Manhattan.
Until now.
Yes, now that they have been featured in the New York Times, these stores are no longer anyone's best kept secrets, and before you know it, the charms of Greenpoint will probably be high-rised and yuppied away.

Oh well. We hear that the South Bronx is still relatively untouched. Go colonize, brave young hipsters.

Critical Shopper: Basic to Eccentric and Eye-Opening By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
109 Franklin Street, Raised by Wolves 174 Franklin Street, Kill Devil Hill 170 Franklin Street, all in Greenpoint, Brooklyn


UNIQLO Heads West To San Francisco

At some point, we New Yorkers will have to share our favorite Japanese sportswear chain with the rest of America, and it looks like the first city to get it's own taste of Uniqlo will be San Francisco where the chain has just signed an lease for 29,000 square feet of flagship space at 111 Powell Street near Union Square. Thought the chain has always been clear about its intentions to ultimately have a large presence in the U.S., it has been extremely selective about choosing locations that will introduce it to regions beyond the New York City area. “We obviously need to begin this national expansion,” Yasunobu Kyogoku, chief operating officer of Uniqlo USA, tells WWD, “We want to have hundreds and hundreds of stores."

There's no further information about when, exactly, the store will open, although it's a pretty safe bet that the folks at Wonderwall are working on the store design plans as you read this. If the chain follows its now familiar form, San Franciscans will be seeing the little red squares of Uniqlo's logo popping up all over the city any time now, and that's just for starters.

Uniqlo Signs Deal for San Francisco Flagship, Eyes Further Growth (WWD)


Raf Simons Is In At Dior
...For Real This Time


Well, that settles that.

Just when nearly everyone had relegated the burning "Who will design Dior" question to the "Whatever. We'll find out when we find out" file, it was announced today that Belgian designer Raf Simons would immediately assume John Galliano's previous position as Couturier at Christian Dior. His first show will be the Haute Couture collection shown in July. That officially makes Simons artistic director of haute couture, women’s ready-to-wear and accessories collections. Simons will be Dior's sixth Couturier (that's in line behind M. Dior himself, Yves Saint Laurent, Marc Bohan, Gianfranco Ferré and the disgraced Galliano), and its second Belgian designer as, for now, Kris Van Assche will remain as designer for Dior Homme. It's something of an odd situation as Simons was an acclaimed menswear designer for years before trying his hand at Women's fashion at Jil Sander and will presumably continue producing the menswear line he has maintained under his own name. One wonders if at some point he might take over the men's collection for Dior as he designed both lines at Sander. It also sheds some new light on the situation behind Simons' departure from Jil Sander, which may now seem less like a firing in favor of a return of the namesake designer than a convenient opportunity for Mrs. Sander to return to her own label when the position suddenly became available. Is that how it happened? Who knows? Doesn't matter now.

To recap the now basically completed game of musical designers:

Raf Simons is now at Christian Dior.
Hedi Slimane is now at Yves Saint Laurent.
Stefano Pilati is currently unemployed.
Jil Sander is at Jil Sander.
Bill Gaytten is at John Galliano.
John Galliano is still in seclusion.
Kris Van Assche is probably feeling a little nervous at Dior Homme, but there's an opening at Simon Spurr.

That is all.

Dior Selects Raf Simons to Replace John Galliano by Cathy Horyn (NYTimes)
Dior Names Raf Simons Its Next Couturier by Miles Socha (WWD)

Dior Wtch: Raf Simons Exits Jil Sander Is Dior His Next Stop? (2.23.2012)



Valentino, Ann Demeulemeester, D. Porthault, Paul Smith, GANT by Michael Bastian, Givenchy, Brioni, YSL, Salvatore Ferragamo, Marni

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!

Ports 1961, Valentino Prêt-à-Porter, 7 For All Mankind, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, See by Chloé, Plenty by Tracy Reese, Catherine Malandrino, Robert Rodriguez, Isabel Lu, Rachel Roy, Walter, Tumi, Genetic Denim, Ali Ro, Theysken's Theory, Alice & Trixie —join HERE
Paul Smith Clothing & Accessories, Levi's Vintage, Parke & Ronen Swim, Theory, Calvin Klein, Corneliani, Generic Surplus, Vince, GANT/Gant by Michael Bastian, Converse, Valentino, MARC by Marc Jacobs, Tumi Luggage, Munitio Headphones —join HERE
Tom Delavan's Picks, Harden Furniture, Lonely Planet Books, Errebicasa/Sferra, Interior Illusions, L'Objet, Ruffluv, Tiger Lily, Mark Vitulano Treasure, SimpleHuman, Madera, Apadana Rugs, Baby Show Favors, Top Gear: Inglesina Perry Mackin & More, Babycottons, Amelia Rose Birthstone Charms, Safavieh Kids' Rugs, Space Up Their Wall Space, Rock Me!, Kapital K Kid Apparel, Shoes For Baby —join HERE
Outdoor Connections, PUMA, Lon gchamp, Hartmann, Hanro, Rotary, Angelo Home, Dwell Studio, Taryn Rose, Halston Heritage, Cuddledown, Meira T, Marika, Iron Horse, Hermès Vintage, Amrita Singh, Elizabeth McKay, Timberland Watches & Footwear —join HERE
Chanel, Kensico, Theia, Jetlag, Moncler, Givenchy, Cappelli, Fendi, Ben Minkoff, PRPS, Yves Saint Laurent, Kooba, Brioni, Armadani, Gucci, Lisa Curren, Salvatore Ferragamo, Scala, Dolce Vita, Joseph Abboud —join HERE
Aysha, Blumarine Girls, Dempsey & Carroll, Hawke & Co., Les Copains Boys, Mason Cash, Request Denim, Skullcandy, VIVIENNE Vivienne Tam, Adrienne Vittadini, Giorgio Armani/Emilio Pucci, Seychelles, Gianfranco Ferré/Romeo Gigli —join HERE
D. Porthault, Vellum, Steve & James Outdoor Furniture, Surya Rugs, Karma Living, Form &  Function Lighting, Pomegranate Linens, Saint Parfum, Ottoman Empire, Baggallini, Waverly Outdoor, Safavieh —join HERE
Gant by Michael Bastian, Mason's —join HERE
Giorgio Armani, Emporio Armani, Florsheim by Duckie Brown, French Connection, marni, Boudicca, Lela Rose, Moschino Cheap and Chic, M Z Wallace Handbags, Wendy Mink Jewelry, BALLY Switzerland, Betsey Johnson Intimate Apparel, Adidas SLVR, Malo, Mundial, Momeni, Ann Demeulemeester, Via Spiga, Bed Stu Women's Shoes, Philosophy di Alberta Ferretti, Rotenier Jewelry —join HERE
Nina Ricci, Destination Cellars, ViX/Paula Herman NY —join HERE
Philippe Starck for Alias, Core Bamboo, Diamantini & Domeniconi Glass, Lavish Longboards, Kikkerland, Kalorik, Fritz Hansen, loriMetals, Phalarope —join HERE


Target's First Retailer Collaboration With THE WEBSTER Is Unveiled

The first phase of TARGET's new designer collaboration concept, The Shops at Target, was unveiled yesterday afternoon as the first images of the mass retailer's team-up with the exclusive Miami Beach boutique The Webster flew around the magical interwebs. The chain's new concept is to collaborate with influential stores rather than designers to add excitement to Target's big-box merchandise mix, and while initially, it was hard to figure out exactly how this would translate, the new photos look promising. The 122-piece collection features a range of products for Men, Women and Children including shoes and accessories with a breezy, summery look and just enough tropical pattern to remind you of Miami without looking like you have been imprisoned on some Polynesian island. it was created in tandem with The Webster co-founder and CEO Laure Heriard Dubreuil who translated the boutique's "beachy and chic, yet luxurious" aesthetic to fit target's under $50 price points. Refinery 29 and GQ have previews of the men's and women's lines, and if you want to pore over the entire collection, head on over to the Huffington Post for an extensive slide show of the whole shebang including items that will be available online only. The Webster for The Shops at Target drops on May 6th, so be prepared. We can't be sure if this project will cause an Missoni-like frenzy, but with the way things have been going, you can't be too early.

First Look: The Webster at Target (The GQ Eye)
YES: The Webster For Target Is Here And We're Giving It Away! (Refinery 29)
The Webster's New Target Collection Hits Bullseye (Huffington Post)


Flora Shepelsky Is The Wig Queen Of The Upper East Side

Designbyflora120409_250There's no "Critical Shopper" column this week in the Thursday Styles, so The Shophound went hunting for one of our other favorite shopping related columns, and found a new installment of New York Magazine's "Ask A Shop Clerk" feature. Now monthly instead of weekly, the column, which should really be called "Ask A Shop Owner" these days, is currently featuring Ms. Flora Shepelskly of Design by Flora (at right). While it sounds like it could be a store for anything, this is actually a wig store, and by that we do not mean some tacky, stack-'em-high-sell-'em-cheap outfit like you might find on 14th Street. No, Ms. Shepelsky appears to be a deluxe, high end perruquière whose wares range from $1,850 to $10,000. She carries 500 wigs in her shop with another 1,200 in her New Jersey showroom and another 1,200 in the basement. With nearly 3,000 wigs to choose from, what's the most popular color? Russet red? Honey blonde? Nope. Mousy brown, Who knew?

New York asked her about changing attitudes toward wig wearing, and she had this observation to share

NYMag: Why is fake hair still taboo?
Flora: Years of bad wigs have given it a bad rap. It’s sad that fake teeth and fake boobs are okay, but if a woman puts on fake hair, she feels ashamed. My mission is to show people that a hairpiece is nothing to be embarrassed about.

Time was when a stylish wig-wearing woman would rather die than admit she had to wear fake hair, but now, in the era of Wendy Williams, Sherri Shepherd and, hell, the enduring RuPaul, we seem to have entered a new age of Wig Pride in which, for some women, the question isn't whether or not your hair is fake, but how good of a fake is it?

There's at least one thing The Shophound and Flora Shepelsky agree on with no reservations. Toupeés are always bad. She will happily outfit a cross-dresser (as she refers to the transgendered, or any other gentlemen who choose to dress like ladies), but has no time for men who want to hide their natural hair loss. "My husband is balding, and I make him shave his head," she says. As she should.

Ask a Shop Clerk: Flora Shepelsky (NYMag)
Design by Flora 243 East 78th Street between Second & Third Avenues, Upper East Side


New York Sales Tax Exemption Under $110 Back For Good

If you went shopping on Sunday, you might have noticed a lack of tax charges on your receipt. That's because New York state finally reinstated the full sales tax exemption for apparel and footwear under $110. Shoppers might remember that this was a popular move that was first instituted in the 1990's.
And then it was suspended.
And then it came back for a few weeks a year.
And then it was gone again.
And then it was only for items under $55.

All very confusing, but as of this past Sunday all footwear and apparel items sold in New York City and much of the rest of the state will be tax exempt under $110. This might not mean so much if you do all your shopping at Barneys, but if you are more likely to buy at the Barneys Warehouse sale, it will mean a lot more –and stores like Uniqlo, Gap and H&M among others will now be able to sell most merchandise tax free.

How long it will last is anyone's guess. Over the past decade and a half, New York's Mayors and Governors have felt free to fiddle with sales tax to make up for budget shortfalls. They are, unfortunately, more likely to do so when things are tough rather than when they are good, but for now, consider it a good excuse to check out the new Zara on Fifth Avenue or hit up Uniqlo for a quick fix. That extra bit of savings is probably as good an excuse as any to get out there and shop.


Macy's Next Capsule Comes from Calvin Klein... Who Already Sells To Macy's

Macy's designer collaboration program has taken an odd twist with the announcement that Calvin Klein will be the next label to join forces with the immense retailer.
Wait, doesn't Macy's stock racks and racks of Calvin Klein in its stores already?
Yes and no.

While the roster of designers who have participated in Macy's capsule collections over the past year has mostly been made up of designers like Karl Lagerfeld, Alberta Ferretti and Giambattista Valli among others whose price points are well above the chain's moderate parameters, this capsule of dresses (sketches are pictured above) will be from the brand's Francisco Costa designed Collection division. Costa's work usually features price tags running as much as ten times this line's $135 to $180 price points. In addition, this project appears to be separate from Macy's previous collaboration program which has been done as part of the store's Impulse contemporary department. This special line will be presented as part of the upcoming storewide promotion, “A Magical Journey to Brasil”. The Brazilian-born Costa will be representing his home country, and WWD reports that the labels and hangtags will read "Francisco Costa for Calvin Klein" marking the first time the designer's name has been featured next to Calvin Klein's in this way.

The rest of the brand's products won't be left out of the mix, however. Kevin Carrigan, who oversees the rest of Calvin Klein's non-Collection lines, will be creating exclusive products for men and women under the brand's moderately priced main label and underwear lines.

The promotion which begins next month will feature exclusive Brazilian and Brazilian-inspired products throughout the store over the course of two months in a manner reminiscent of country-specific promotions that were a regular feature at Bloomingdale's and Neiman Marcus in decades past. Costa's dresses will be released on May 15th.

Francisco Costa to Do Calvin Klein Capsule Line for Macy's (WWD)