« December 2012 | Main | February 2013 »


Opening Ceremony Takes DKNY
Back To the '90s

Have you been longing for the styles of the early 1990s? No, we haven't either, but the folks at Opening Ceremony are not to have their judgement questioned. Their exclusive collaborations can range from intriguing to charmingly bewildering (Yes, Yoko Ono, we mean you), and they are collaborating with DKNY to reissue 15 pieces from the early days of Donna Karan's diffusion line, 1991 to 1993. Though the brand has evolved into a major, wide ranging contemporary apparel resource, the capsule collection reminds us of the days when it mostly offered easy, clean lined casualwear. Most of the items feature variations on the label's original bold logo including the iconic versions featuring the New York skyline or designs based on subway tokens (remember them?).

The collection will be available at all Opening Ceremony boutiques as well as online starting tomorrow, February 1st. If you are feeling wistful about the last years of the pre-digital age, when you had to call people on telephones that connected to a wall, and mail was always something that needed a stamp, get ready, but be warned, the collection ranges in price from $145 to $665, so it's '90s styles at very 2013 prices.

See some of the re-issued looks in the gallery below.

Opening Ceremony (Official Site)

  • DKNY-X-Opening-Ceremony-B
  • DKNY-X-Opening-Ceremony-C


Barneys Online Warehouse Sale Starts Monday & Stays Open Forever

BNYwarehouseWe have all been wondering exactly what form the Barneys Warehouse Sale will take after this season's finale at the familiar 17th Street location, and it turns out that the online version that appeared last season will become a permanent off-price site. Barneyswarehouse.com, launching on Monday, ten days before the physical Warehouse Sale is scheduled to begin. Unlike last season, however, the website will remain open as an ongoing clearance outlet for the store. Of last August's test of the online sale, Barneys Executive Vice President Daniella Vitale tells WWD, “We dipped our toe in the water and the [test] was enormously successful... It indicated this is something we should be doing on a long-term basis. They can all coexist and grow together”

The new ongoing site will act as an online version of Barneys' 13 outlet stores, though Vitale underplays the fact that Barneys buys merchandise to sell specifically in those stores (and we believe at the Warehouse Sale as well) that is never sold in full line Barneys New York locations. The site is expected to offer merchandise from previous seasons at up to 75% off including all product categories found in the stores.

What does this mean for the walk-in Warehouse Sale of the future? Vitale confirms that it will continue at a different location after this season, but it will primarily focus on men's tailored clothing, which is typically mmore challenging to sell online than men's sportswear and women's apparel, and requires more sales assistance. “The origin of the warehouse sale was as a men’s sale,” Vitale says, and it has always taken a substantial space in the traditional Warehouse Sales of the past. This means that going forward after this season, the racks of women's shoes and designer apparel will probably be reduced, or possibly eliminated altogether, along with much of the men's sportswear. Will Barneys be able to sustain a full-time website for clearance along with 13 outlet stores without buying additional off-price merchandise? Time will tell, but the upside will be not having to endure the lines to get in or check out, for one thing. What merchandise will be available remains to be seen, but at least it will presumably not have endured being crammed on racks and being pawed by who knows how many rapacious shoppers, often leaving once appealing goods somewhat the worse for wear by the end of the sale. Whether or not the website will also mirror the deep discounts that typically appear during the sales' final days also remains in question. We will all be anxious to see how this plays out in the coming months, so stay tuned.

Barneys New York to Launch Off-price Site (WWD)
Warehouse Flash:
Barneys Next Warehouse Sale Starts On Valentine's Day


Michael Kors Adds Menswear To His Biggest Store Coming In SoHo

We thought that that the high profile store Michael Kors opened in Rockefeller Center a couple of years ago was mean to be the designer's number one flagship location, but it turns out he has had bigger things in mind. Kors' upcoming sixth (sixth!) store in Manhattan will more than double the size at 17,000 square feet, finally giving him enough room to include his men's collection which will get its own floor. We already knew that Kors is taking over the Club Monaco spot next to Aritzia at 520 Broadway just below Spring Street, but judging from the description in today's WWD and the rendering pictured above, he will be adding an entire second floor to the space which reportedly will house the largest selection ever of his moderately priced, MICHAEL Michael Kors label. The main floor will house his accessories, and men's will live on the "concourse" level (downstairs?). Kors CEO John Idol tells WWD, “This is the first opportunity for us to present the men’s collection in a complete format, featuring tailored clothing, shirts, ties, sportswear and accessories, in one of our stores,” and adds that the men's collection, though shown on the runway with the Women's main collection for years, is still taking shape.

As for the original SoHo Kors lifestyle boutique a few blocks away on Prince Street, next to the Apple Store, it will remain open, but shift its focus to the higher end women's Collection line, echoing the Collection boutique on Madison Avenue, and giving all of Michael Kors' product lines full representation in the SoHo neighborhood. With the new location, the designer's Manhattan store count will rival that of Big Cheese Ralph Lauren who currently has seven stores in the borough for various lines after the shuttering of the Rugby stores. Ralph may yet pull ahead, as he is rumoured to have his eye on a big chunk of the former Disney store on Fifth Avenue —not that we would ever suggest that these designers are competitive with each other in any way.

Michael Kors Sets Focus on Men's With SoHo Flagship (WWD)


Bloomingdale's Rolls Out The Luxury Leases For Gucci & Prada

BloomingdalesGucciLike any major department store, Bloomingdale's is a continually evolving work-in-progress, and over the past few seasons, the store has added an abundance of luxury megabrands to its main floor that hasn't been seen at 59th & Lexington since the store's fabled heyday in the 1970s and 80s. How did it happen? To a certain extent, Bloomingdale's is becoming less of a retailer and more of a landlord.

The most recent addition to the flagship's string of accessory boutiques are two Gucci boutiques, one for women (pictured above), and one for men, and men's counterparts to the recently opened Prada and longtime Louis Vuitton shops on the Lexington Avenue Arcade section. In fact, the store has just finished replicating a men's version of the Arcade concept along the Third Avenue wall of the main floor including Prada, Gucci, and LV (pictured below) along with smaller spaces for Ferragamo, Turnbull & Asser, Thomas Pink and Paul Smith. Why did Bloomingdale's have to lease out these shops? Probably because they wouldn't have been allowed to carry the labels any other way.

BloomingdalesGucciLVMenHow this happened is a story about how luxury brands are changing their way of dealing with American retailers and what it means for New York's shopping scene. Readers may remember a few seasons ago when Barneys made a surprise announcement that it was dropping Prada's women's apparel and accessory lines from all of its stores. Barneys had been a Prada supporter since long before it had been a household word, and was believed to have a strong business with the brand. However, Prada management was insisting that if the store wanted to continue carrying women's clothes and accessories (shoes and men's collections were not included in the deal) that it would have to turn over space to the brand so it could run its own boutiques under Barney's roof. Barneys claimed that this was against its policies, and let the lines go. For Prada, and other companies like it, this reflected a common practice in Europe that they were anxious to roll out to North America. Department stores in major overseas cities are often almost entirely made up of independent designer shops cobbled together under one roof, but for a store like Barneys which, changes in management notwithstanding, has always prided itself on the taste and curatorial authority of its fashion office and merchandising staff, having a vendor control what is sold in its store was out of the question, so a big chunk of Prada business went out the door. At around the same time, a brand new Prada accessory shop appeared in the North-West corner of the main floor at Bloomingdale's, which has never carried it, and is still working to burnish its luxury image after a damaging trading down during the recession of the 1990's. The existing Prada department at Saks Fifth Avenue also appeared taken over by its vendor at around the same time. We wouldn't be surprised to see a leased Prada apparel shop appear in Saks any day now. They already have one for Vuitton.

BloomingdalesPradaMenSuch arrangements are not unprecedented. In the late 1990's Louis Vuitton notified its retail partners that it was closing its wholesale business entirely, and converting to a fully leased shop-in-shop program, and any store that wanted to continue selling it would have to comply. Most of them did, and the Vuitton shops in Bloomingdale's, Saks and Macy's all became leased departments which have been dramatically expanded in the time since. Gucci has quietly engineered a similar exertion of control. The new Bloomingdale's shops as well as a large one upcoming in Macy's are all leases, and the brand has recently taken over existing men's and women's apparel and accessories shops at Saks Fifth Avenue. Only shoes are left to the store's own buyers. As these mega-brands -all of whom have gained dramatically in prestige over the past two decades- get bigger they are increasingly turning to the stores who helped built their success and taking that business back. What it means is that stores that wish to continue selling the labels are forced to give up some of their merchandising control (Bloomingdale's, Saks) or drop the lines (Barneys). So far the one store untouched by all this struggle for control appears to be Bergdorf Goodman, which has had several Gucci departments for years, and in the past few seasons, has repaired a relationship with Prada that was bitterly broken about 15 years ago leading to a decade-long banishment of the brand. Bergdorf's shares Barneys' policy against leasing space in their main product categories in part because both stores encourage cross selling by staff throughout the store that leasing can make difficult and confusing. One wonders if Gucci and Prada will be similarly turned out of Bergdorf's in the coming seasons, or if the brands will let it stand as a single store exception. What we may see going forward is a power shift from the client to the vendor, where luxury mega-brands choose to bestow their cachet on stores that meet their terms. They are already pretty demanding as it is. Brands like Chanel and Giorgio Armani have long lists of requirements for for stores who sell their products as authorized resellers, but leasing is another level of control. Eventually we might see a contest of prestige between the big designer labels and the stores who wish to carry them.


Lanvin's Men's Store Is Now Open

LanvinMensMadisonIt's a tiny bit late and missing one of its promised floors, but the Lanvin Men's Boutique on Madison Avenue has finally opened its doors. Originally announced as three floors to be opening last Fall, the store quietly started admitting customers about a week and a half ago, though they have not actually held any opening events or celebrations yet. We are betting that the PR push will start sometime around Fashion Week, but we have never been one to wait for announcements. The list of designer boutiques in New York who missed their projected opening dates is so long that we would hardly hold tardiness against Lanvin, and as for the missing third level, the store seems to fit quite nicely into two very elegant floors for now.

Meant to replicate the interior of the brand's men's store in Paris, this next component of the Lanvin revival juggernaut features sleek, dark wood paneling with matte metal details to create a neutral background for creative director Alber Elbaz's and men's designer Lucas Ossendriver's collections. The long, narrow townhouse configuration echoes the original boutique a few doors up the street to a certain extent, with a staircase in the front leading upstairs. While not yet fully stocked for Spring, the street level is devoted to the sportier and more directional fashion side of the men's collection. A wall of sneakers showcases one of the brand's signature items in endless combinations of materials, with other accessories nearby. Much of the floor still features Fall sale merchandise, though we are expecting it will be fully stocked for spring by the time opening fanfare starts. A walk upstairs to the second floor brings us to the more elegant side of Lanvin, which had a thriving traditional menswear business for decades before Elbaz re-invigorated the label's fashion image with his women's collections. Customers who missed the label's more elegant "15 Faubourg" range can find more classical suits and dress furnishings here along with a plush eveningwear salon in the back.

Since much of the staff has simply been imported from what is now the women's boutique, we were thankfully spared the over effusive new-store-new-sales-associate treatment (you may still find some of that at Belstaff across the street if that's what gets you shopping), but they were appropriately welcoming and free of the sort of aloofness that still abounds on Madison Avenue. Of course, it's Lanvin, where sneakers start at around $595, but, at least for the next few weeks, there's a healthy selection of winter clearance still on the racks which should make you approximately 50% less intimidated by the prices. Sometimes on Madison Avenue, you have to take the best deal you can get.

Lanvin Men's Boutique 807 Madison Avenue between 67th & 68th Streets, Upper East Side


Could SoHo's Sidewalks Get Unclogged?

SoHoSidewalkWhile SoHo continues become an ever greater and more sprawling shopping district, anyone can tell you that the sidewalks have become increasingly frustrating to navigate. While retailers see crowds of shoppers, whether they be tourists or locals, as good for business, they draw ever more street vendors that compound the problem of getting around, but there may be some relief in sight. Last week, Manhattan's Community Board 2 which includes SoHo passed a resolution asking Mayor Bloomberg to reconsider the confusing rules and regulations that govern street vending on Broadway between East Houston and Canal Streets, the neighborhood's busiest thoroughfare. The board has requested that the mayor re-convene a Street Vendor Review Panel for the first time since 2001. DNAinfo reports that trash, traffic and general safety have become overwhelming concerns for SoHo residents, and that both vendors, police and other regulators are unclear about the actual rules for sidewalk vending, making violations difficult to recognize and report, let alone prosecute. A spokesperson for the Street Vendor Project at the Urban Justice Center calls vendors a "vital part of New York" and insists that vendors enhance the sopping experience, but anyone walking anywhere in SoHo on a busy Saturday knows that navigating vendors, slack jawed tourists and the inevitable stretches of sidewalk further constrained by scaffolding can be an aggravating experience at best.

Of course, the community board's resolution only covers the one stretch of Broadway where sidewalks are still relatively wide. It can be argued that it is the side streets like Prince and Spring Streets between Broadway and West Broadway that are even more challenging. There, vendors regularly leave room for little more than a single pedestrian to pass at a time. Limiting vendors on Broadway could push them to crowd the side streets even further, but perhaps we should just address one traffic problem at a time.

SoHo Community Board Pushes City to Review Vendor Rules (DNAinfo)


Hugo Boss Getting Super-Sized At Columbus Circle

There has been a bit of relocating and re-shuffling of stores over the past year at The Shops at Columbus Circle over the past year that has added new stores like H&M and enlarged the footprints of original tenants like J.Crew and Sephora. The most impressive increase in the mall-that-nobody-likes-to-think-of-as-a-mall appears to be courtesy of Hugo Boss which looks to be taking over the relocated Sephora's previous space (pictured above) over its existing store to become a three level mega-flagship, and the only store in the complex to ascend from the two-story street level through to the mall's second level.

A while back, Hugo Boss had a big brand palace on Fifth Avenue that any international designer would covet. In what seemed like a surprise move, the brand sold the lease to Giorgio Armani in favor of maintaining its presence with three smaller stores in SoHo, the Meatpacking District and Columbus Circle. At the time, it was seen as something of a defeat as it looked like the company had overreached with the costly Fifth Avenue showcase store, but now it seems that the strategy has paid off. The Columbus Circle store is apparently getting a major boost in size that will make it quite the showplace, and with Nordstrom coming to the neighborhood, the location is now even more desirable than it was when the shopping center opened 10 years ago. Perhaps the a Fifth Avenue flagship is not all it's cracked up to be, after all?

Hugo Boss 10 Columbus Circle, Upper West Side


Thakoon, Givenchy, Lacoste, Calvin Klein, Byron Lars, Silent by Damir Doma, E. Tautz, Façonnable, Fila, Tom Binns, Erté, Diptyque, Velvet

January 28, 2013

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!

Dana Davis, Duffy, Alice + Olivia, Tom Binns, Dolce & Gabbana, Thakoon Addition,Jimmy Choo, Furla, Rachel Roy, Bric's, Mario Badescu, Invicta, Fred Perry, Wingtip Clothiers, Björn Borg, New balance, Pringle of Scotland, J.C. Rags, Luca Roda, Allegri, Elephantito, NOM Maternity, Finn + Emma, Singed Artwork by Erté, Nespresso, Global Amici, Voluspa, Modloft —join HERE
Anne Klein, Lacoste, Lucky Brand, Smith Optics, Lil Mo, Waterford Bedding & Table Linens, Philippe Matignon, Free People, Momeni, Givenchy, Horny Toad, Vince, Safavieh, Merrell, Teva, Isabella Fiore, Vineyard Vines, Tibi, Rochard Limoges —join HERE
LnA, Aishwarya Jewelry, ABS by Allen Schwartz, Z Zegna, Plain Jane Homme, Vince Camuto Christian Dior, Walter Hugo Boss, TOD's, Cynthia Steffe, Lacoste, Cult of Individuality —join HERE
Magaschoni, Towle, Ali & Kris, Belle by Sigerson Morrison, Kensie, Koolaburra, Max and Cleo, New Balance, Robert Graham, Vivienne Tam, Ark & Co., Cable & Gauge, Peter Lamas, Premise, Via Spiga, WMF —join HERE
7 For All Mankind, UGG Australia, Velvet, Corey Lynn Calter, Yoana Baraschi, MUK LUKS, Diptyque, Vince Camuto, ARMANI Collezioni, Enzo Angiolini, Robert Rodriguez, Donald J. Pliner, 2(X)IST, Wolfgang Puck Kitchen, Cynthia Steffe, ABS, Saachi Pashmina Scarf, Autumn Cashmere —join HERE
Calvin Klein Collection, Ballantyne, 2(X)ist, Fresh, James Jeans, W118 by Walter Baker, Rafé Handbags, Rosegold, Byron Lars, Poleci, Tommy Bahama Bedding, Fila, Sue Wong, Susana Monaco, Olivia Harris, E. Tautz, Silent by Damir Doma —join HERE
Façonnable, Toy Watch, Damonds by Duneier —join HERE


Picks For Fall 1013
From Project & Capsule

This week, New York once again saw the seasonal arrival of the big menswear trade shows. Think of it as a prelude to Fashion Week of sorts, since New York still combines its Men's runway show schedule with its women's. The Shophound went to Project and Capsule, and we have to admit that we breezed through faster than usual. Now that are familiar with these shows, a lot of the vendors are starting to look, well, familiar. That's not to say there aren't great things to be seen and bought by stores, but they can be overwhelming, so we breezed through looking for our favorite brands and anything else that caught our eyes. Let's not waste any time.

Can we take one more heritage/designer collaboration?  Following the pattern set by Gant, Florsheim, Converse and any number of other beloved heritage labels, CHAMPION has finally found the designer to elevate it into luxury stores with up and comer TODD SNYDER (pictured above). His Fall line for the popular sweatshirt and athletic gear maker was previewed at Project with a prime display of selected pieces. Are we weary of such high/low mash-ups? We could be if this weren't such a perfect match. There may be no designer better than Snyder to give the sweats that Champion is known for just enough vintage zing to give them that coveted upscale appeal. Besides the obvious cotton fleece items there was a sweet suede bomber that gave the line some extra luxury.

IanVelardiShearlingSpeaking of bombers and luxury, our favorite emerging designer IAN VELARDI featured a particularly fine one in icy grey shearling (at right). Velardi seems to win a new award every time we see him at one of these things, and this time is was a much deserved Ecco Domani Fashion Foundation prize. Aside from that tempting jacket, his collection featured the newest color palette of the season: a subtle mix of blues and greys that worked beautifully with his elegant yet sporty aesthetic. We saw the color scheme echoed in many brands including GANT's Rugger and Michael Bastian labels which hit the trade shows for the first time this season.

PharrellShoesAs a counterpoint to all those subtle blues and grays, we saw plenty of shoes and accessories in what we can now call Go-To-Hell colors. There's still plenty of camouflage out there, but the newest accent was bold, saturated color. The king of jarring mash-ups, MARK McNAIRY made his presence known in no less than three booths including his own. McNairy is notably averse to pictures at such events, but he had shelves full of his much copied colorful shoes and his apparel collection was as wildly patterned as ever. He could care less about trends, even if they are one he has started. His freshest footwear featured bright metallics, so get ready for those. If a classic derby boot in shining gold is too much for you, then take a look at some loden suede bucks with a gold saddle. Luckily, we can show them to you because musician/designer Pharrell was photographed in them last month (above left). Not everyone can wear them, but the ones who can will look awesome. And speaking of Pharrell, his new BEE LINE collection showed off another McNairy collaboration with a brightly colored take on preppy workwear, and then there is a new McNairy eyewear collection for GARRETT LEIGHT, with pamphlets packaged in demure pink envelopes elegantly emblazoned with the designer's favorite vulgar expletive.

We always look to FLORSHEIM by DUCKIE BROWN for daring shoes, and after seasons of elaborate brogues and boots, the newest looks here came in the form of classic double soled bluchers in shiny patent leather colors (above). There were plenty of metallics here too, but the sleek shiny shoes had a refreshingly non-nostalgic appeal.

Parabellum1Other accessories got the color treatment as well. PARABELLUM (at right), whose rich bison-skin line has made inroads at luxury retailers like Bergdorf Goodman and Fivestory, played both sides of the color fence, remaking its classic pieces in elegant shades of gray and navy as well as intense violet and cobalt blue.

EastlandBootWe can't forget those heritage brands. At times they have threatened to overwhelm these shows with lumberjack and railroad worker looks, but the savviest ones have managed to evolve beyond nostalgia. EASTLAND (yet another McNairy Collaborator) has done well with its classic Made in Maine collection of handsewn moccasin style footwear, but now they are broadening their offerings with more traditionally structured brogues and boots. The turn towards dressier looks suits the label, and we can say that a cap-toe ankle boot in green Horween leather (at left) easily makes our list of items to look for next Fall.


Island Of Lost Style Edition

24CRIT1-articleLargeA few days ago, The Shophound was walking on Fifth Avenue, and it occurred to us that we should at least have a quick look at the new Tommy Bahama brand palace as we passed by.
Then we thought, "Ecch, Tommy Bahama," and kept walking on to Saks.

It turns out the Critical Shopper John Caramanica has a stronger stomach for such things than we do in today's Thursday Styles. He braves the store for us, and confirms what we had suspected all along: The brand is basically the fashion version of an endless Jimmy Buffett song. For a moment, we thought we had misjudged when he mentions a pair of "orange suede crepe-soled wingtip made by Alfred Sargent for Tommy Bahama, which costs $500". That appealed to our penchant for fine, expensive English-made shoes in screw-you colors, but perhaps they are an aberration. Despite the lavish, ersatz tropical setting, final judgement of the actual product is pretty much what we expected:

And the clothes? Largely unbearable, in Halloween-costume cuts and in lazy color combinations (when they’re not purposefully dull). They draw attention to the wearer and are advertisements for his ability not to care about what he’s wearing. Maybe they are the mark of a true man.

Yeah, so we aren't really missing anything, but our shopper should take care. Tommy Bahama remains a hugely popular brand worn by millions. We hope you aren't in for a Guy Fieri-style backlash.

Critical Shopper: A Discomforting Trip to the Isle of Wealth By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Tommy Bahama 551 Fifth Avenue at 45th Street, Midtown