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Loehmann's Gets A Makeover
Is it Enough?

Filene's Basement is dead. So are Syms and Daffy's, and at times it has looked like the mother of all off-pricers, Loehmann's, might join them in the great retail Hereafter. New ownership and management stepped in, however, and saved the 40-store chain. Now the Chelsea flagship store has undergone a Century 21-style renovation after a realization that one could no longer compete in the off-price market with charmless, cluttered and poorly lit stores. The question is whether or not the newly spruced up Loehmann's can still compete for New York's bargain hunter dollars?

Though Daffy's, Syms and Filene's are gone, New Yorkers still have plenty of options when it comes to off-price shopping. Burlington Coat Factory has taken over Filene's Basement in Union Square in addition to its longtime Sixth Avenue home, though they still don't seem to have gotten the "fix yourself up" memo. Nordstrom Rack has arrived along with reported plans to add more locations in Manhattan. In addition, hometown favorite Century 21 has had a major renovation and expansion of its once chaotic Financial District flagship as well as opened additional branches around the city. Then there's the endless schedule of sample sales and the ease of online discount shopping with sites like Gilt and RueLaLa. How the newly reconfigured Loehmann's will stack up against all these competitors remains to be seen, but they are moving in the right direction.

Loehmanns-2The Shophound hasn't visited Chelsea's Loehmann's in a while, but the first thing we noticed when we walked in this week was open space. The crush of accessory racks and cases on the main floor have been sent upstairs in favor of more popular contemporary sportswear to lure customers through the store's picture windows on Seventh Avenue. It makes the store feel more inviting and relaxed. Downstairs in the basement, the Men's department (at left) has been similarly eased up with it's maze of high racks also reconfigured to make more breathing space. Upstairs, the rest of the store has been similarly eased up and given a fresh coat of paint along with more artfully arranged selling areas. Accessories, Handbags and shoes are now on Two, while the most prestigious designers are on three known as the "Back Room", and here's where Loehmann's may be falling short. Loehmann's legend has always included the potential of finding the most exclusive designers wares marked down to a song quietly waiting  to be discovered by a savvy shopper, but what seems to be missing from the refreshed store is the high-end merchandise that made the company's name. The selections seem to top out at the high end of Contemporary Loehmanns-3with little of the exclusive designers that still seem to make themselves available in abundance at Century 21 and occasionally at other off-pricers. There was, of course, plenty of Theory, a healthy rack of sister label Helmut Lang and some Tory Burch, but most of what we saw was mid-range contemporary, a great deal of which could easily have been drawn from what many designers manufacture specifically for off-price channels. The story in Men's was the same, and in Accessories when only a couple of years ago, shoppers could spot off-price Fendi and Gucci, there were now big displays for Ivanka Trump's brand. Perhaps Loehmann's biggest challenge now will be getting the kind of exlusive merchandise that will get New Yorkers to go out of their way. Still, as we made our way out of the store we spotted ageless Fashion Icon Iris Apfel on her way into the store's Personal Shopping office (there's no mistaking those huge round eyeglasses and the shock of white hair). Though clearly not as luxurious as the same department at Bergdorf's or Saks, if Loehmann's personal shopper has a customer who once had her own exhibition at the Costume Institute at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, there must still be something worth checking out there.


Rag & Bone Wins Gay Pride
On Bleecker Street
Bob Mackie Disappointed With Bloomingdale's

Only a few years ago, the month of June brought a whole array of rainbows to the store windows of Bleecker Street's designer boutiques competing to celebrate Gay Pride in the neighborhood where it began 44 years ago. Lately, however, a changing roster of retailers has toned down the Pride window action. Ralph Lauren's simple but clever racks of rainbow of polo shirts are nowhere to be seen in his RRL Store windows, and even Marc Jacobs, normally the street's biggest cheerleader, has limited his displays to his teeny, tiny Men's store (pictured in the gallery below). Though it's not technically on Bleecker Street, one store has gone all out. Rag & Bone, around the corner on Christopher Street (arguably one of the city's most proudly gay thoroughfares) has festooned the windows of each shop in its string of West Village boutiques with bright 1980s style graffiti, giving Gay Pride decorations a refreshing Krush-Groove-Electric-Boogaloo flavor (pictured above and in the gallery below). Given this week's momentous Supreme Court rulings regarding gay marriage, it looks like Rag & Bone cleverly anticipated (possibly unintentionally) the excitement that would mount as Pride Weekend approaches, leaving the other store looking sadly blasé.

Uptown, Bloomingdale's gave a nod to Gay Pride with a display of The Stonewall Pride Collection, a group of celebrity gowns whose centerpiece is a pair of stage costumes designed by Bob Mackie for his "favorite straight female drag queen", Cher, of course (pictured below). The designer himself was a little underwhelmed by the other dresses in the line which included, among others, an Adidas-style gown made for Jane Lynch to wear on Glee, and a dress made by Chris March for Meryl Streep to wear to the Oscars (sadly looking a little the worse for wear). "I wanted the show to be more. If they’re going to do it, they should do it big," he told WWD, “Even if they only had people who design for drag queens, it would have been pretty fabulous.”Still, it's always worth going out of one's way to get a look up close at any of Cher's Mackie gowns because there is really nothing else like them and, you know, Cher. The Stonewall Pride Collection will be on display on Bloomingdale's third floor through this weekend.

Bob Mackie Underwhelmed With Stonewall Pride Collection (WWD)

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Wolverine Planning A Permanent Store In NoLita (No, Not The Superhero)

For some people, Wolverine means Hugh Jackman with shiny CGI blades shooting out of his knuckles, but for others, it is a 130-year old shoe company known for rugged work boots that in recent years has cultivated a high end customer base by replicating its classic, American-made "1000 Mile" boot in luxury leathers and selling it at exclusive stores like Christopher Street's shoe shrine Leffot. After an expectation-exceeding pop-up store earlier this year, Wolverine's profile has been sufficiently raised to warrant a permanent retail home in what appears to be the former Terra Plana shop at 254 Elizabrth Street. It will reportedly offer a "curated selection", which means that the Wolverine Company Store depicted in the above rendering will probably have fewer construction worker boots, and more of the high-end 1000 Mile range and the women's collaboration with designer Samantha Pleet. Look for a late July opening packed with Heritage Hipsters (around the same time that Jackman's next superhero turn opens).

Shop Talk: Wolverine Hits NYC... Island Sole Lands in Maui (WWD/Footwear News)


Perry Ellis And Duckie Brown Part Ways

PerryEllisDuckieBrownAbout a year ago, The Shophound was looking forward to what would come of a newly announced collaboration between the adventurous New York men's label Duckie Brown and Perry Ellis, the label that has become best known as a moderate men's sportswear brand. The New York Times reports today that the team-up has ended along with the attempt to restore some prestige to the Perry Ellis brand. It was originally known as a premier American designer sportswear brand before the designer's untimely death in 1986. The Times reports that the big luxury stores like Barneys, which has long carried the main Duckie Brown collection, resisted the Perry Ellis label's association with mass market stores like Macy's and Dillards that sell the current line, though smaller, more cutting edge stores like Odin and some unnamed Japanese boutiques were interested in placing orders.

After attending both of the runway shows that Duckie Brown designers Steven Cox and Daniel Silver produced for Perry Ellis, The Shophound was looking forward to seeing the merchandise somewhere, and possibly even getting something for ourself, but we never found it available in a store or even on the Perry Ellis website which sells the brand's other products. We certainly never saw it at Odin, and we can only assume that the company wasn't willing to take the trouble to manufacture either the Spring or Fall 2013 collections (pictured above right)  at all without a big order from a big store. So, customers never really got a chance to accept or reject this collaboration, which, apparently, only ever existed as runway samples.

File it under lost opportunities. The previously moribund men's shoe company Florsheim has obviously gained a great deal of cachet from its ongoing collaboration with Duckie Brown, which is carried at stores like Barneys, Saks and Neiman Marcus. As for Cox and Silver, they were among the most recent nominees nominees for the CFDA menswear designer award following a stellar show for their main Duckie Brown label. It's hard to imagine that the folks at Perry Ellis wouldn't have wanted to invest just a little bit more in allowing actual retail customers to see the collaboration and decide for themselves if they wanted to buy it or not.

Perry Ellis Splits With Duckie Brown By Eric Wilson (On The Runway/NYTimes)


Get Up Early For Diane von Furstenberg and YSL (Including the Y)
One More Shot At Helmut Lang

DVFr13It's going to be a hot week , so wear comfortable clothing when ou are lining up for this week's two Major Sale Events. If you haven't become accustomed to seeing them, expect some more epic lines outside 260 Fifth Avenue starting on Tuesday when DIANE von FURSTENBERG (image at right) finally opens the Sample Sale that everyone thought she was planning to forgo this season. If you can bide your time until Friday, Soiffer Haskin will present one more YVES SAINT LAURENT sale which has been known to create epic lines down West 33rd Street. Expectations should be managed for this one. Note the inclusion of the "Yves" in Soiffer Haskin's notices, meaning that this sale will probably primarily include the Fall 2012 collection —the final one designed by Stefano Pilati and the last to include the classic YSL label. Many sources around the web have commented that the last YSL sale only included up to Spring 2012, so this will most likely be a final clearing out of the previous design team's stock, which will be good for lingering fans of Tribute shoes and Muse bags. However, it's also worth noting that new Hedi Slimane designed "Saint Laurent" labeled shoes and accessories have been showing up recently on Flash Sale sites like RueLaLa, so it's not impossible that some newer merchandise might be included. It has been presumed that new creative director Slimane would not continue with these types of extravaganza sample sales, but we won't know until this weekend for sure. We must also note that Soiffer Haskin announced that they will be checking cellphones at this sale along with bags and outerwear, which seems pointless and inappropriate, but whatever.

Also, if you missed the recent spate of sales from Theory-owned labels, you have another shot starting this Tuesday as yet another (and reportedly better) HELMUT LANG sale begins in SoHo. Indie designer fans can look out for sales from ERIN FETHERSTON, LAUREN MOFFATT especially with shoes from MATT BERNSON and RACHEL COMEY. Elegant Gentlemen can look out for impeccably tailored italian clothes from ISAIA starting on Tuesday. If you are n ambitious home-chef who is totally done buying clothes for the season, you will want to check out the ZWILLING J.A. HENCKELS sale starting Wednesday at Chelsea Market which has become an exceptional resource for the brand's fine quality German steel kitchen knives and other cookware. Typical offerings range from the affordable entry level lines to hand-forged, high quality limited edition items and professional Japanese chef's supplies. It's a worthwhile change of pace, especially for kitchen enthusiasts.

Keep an eye on our always-updating SALE ROLL sidebar to the left for details and breaking sales.


Giambattista Valli, Rick Owens, Christian Louboutin, Gucci, Dolce & Gabbana, Tom Ford, Alberta Ferretti, Calvin Klein Collection, SPANX

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!

Giambattista Valli, Jay Godfrey, Isabella Fiore, Marabelle, Elizabeeth and James, Walter, Tumi, Steven Alan, Rick Owens, Warriors of Radness, Alessandro Dell'Acqua, Jack Victor, Ben Sherman, Calvin Klein Collection, Luciano Brandi, Incotex, Eliane et Lena Children's, mali Kids, Zula Maternity, Cuisinart, Cloud Nine Down, he Phillips Collection —join HERE
Sperry Top-Sider, Rachel Zoe, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, Surya, Notte by Bellino, French Sole, Theory, Christian Louboutin, BCBGeneration, Kenneth Jay Lane, Whit & Alex, Elle Macpherson, Julie Brown Designs, Lucky Brand, Gucci Sunglasses, Lafayette 148, Judith Ripka, Stuart Weitzman, Armani, Elizabeth and James, Paperwhite, Waterford, Slane, Valentino, Privilege Furniture, Splendid, Vince Camuto, Puma —join HERE
Tom Ford Sunglasses, Canvas, Melange Home, Ellen Tracy, Jimmy Choo, Giorgio Armani, Chloé, Philip Stein Watches, Dolce & Gabbana, Mezlan, Invicta, Original Penguin, Salvatore Ferragamo, Howe —join HERE
SPANX, Velvet, Cynthia Steffe, Hudson Jeans, James Jeans, Ben Sherman, Miz Mooz, Vince Camuto Signature, LASC, Dolce Vita, Albeta Ferretti/Philosophy by Alberta Ferretti, M Missoni, Natori, Matisse, Just Cavalli, Onna, Erlich, Loveapella, Lanvin Sunglasses, Betsey Johnson, Cutter & Buck, Marika Tek —join HERE
Tom Ford Sunglasses, French Connection, Antonio Maurizi, Joseph Abboud, Merkur Razors, Campo Marzio, Viceroy Watches, Allibelle Handbags, Melissa Shoes, Rachel Riley for Girls & Babies, BergHOFF, Tommy Hilfiger Bedding, Bass, Block Headwear, Velour, WeSC, Surface to Air, Bespoken, Kelsi Dagger, Leota Dresses, Elegantly Waisted Belts —join HERE
Despi Swimwear, Versace Watches, Will Leather Goods, Verri —join HERE


Krizia Holds A Stealthy Warehouse Sale

The Shophound has gotten back into Sample Sale reporting over the past few months, and designers and other sources have been very helpful in keeping us apprised of coming events, but we didn't realize that Krizia has been holding a Warehouse Sale in its Meatpacking District boutique —and it appears that nobody else did either.

You won't find it listed on Racked, Mizhattan, Sample Sally or any of the other usual resources, but the Italian label's flagship boutique is stuffed with designer clothes and accessories going for no less than 85% off original prices with some dresses starting as low as $25 through this weekend only. There are mostly women's goods from previous seasons, so nothing from Spring '13 yet, and also a small selection of men's pieces. If you are looking for another way to part with your money this weekend, you can't go too far wrong here.

KRIZIA Warehouse Sale through Sunday June 23 at 448 West 14th St between Washington St & Tenth Ave, Meatpacking District


Balenciaga's Openings Pushed Back
On Mercer Street

Designer boutiques may be taking over SoHo, but they sure are taking their sweet time once they find their spots. Our friends at RACKED have discovered that the Balenciaga Women's & Men's boutiques set to open this Summer on Mercer Street have been pushed back to November, meaning that they will not be open to launch new creative director Alexander Wang's debut collections, which should be appearing in stores around August. That will be more than two years after the brand claimed its initial site. Racked even got a peek inside which showed an interior under construction nowhere close to being ready to open before Fall. What is causing the delay in completion may be the switch in designers. The women's boutique was originally planned by previous creative director Nicolas Ghesquiere and presumably would have featured the brand's then, fairly elaborate interior decor which typically included colorful, intricate, geometrically patterned details. As in the case of Saint Laurent, a new creative director brings a new vision for the retail concept, especially for a corporately owned luxury brand like Balenciaga. Perhaps delay is meant to give everyone time to figure out exactly what the store is going to look like.

In other developments, the store's exterior covering images featuring the Spring collection have been replaced with new campaign pictures from Wang's debut collection for the label including a new, slightly bolder logo. The newly added men's store (pictured above), until recently the intended site for corporate sibling Saint Laurent's boutique, has also finally publicly identified itself with imagery. 

Balenciaga Now Aiming For a Fall Opening on Mercer Street (Racked)


Haspel Label To Return Next Spring With Help From Shipley & Halmos


There was a time when every businessman in America had a cotton poplin or seersucker suit for sweltering summer days when no other attire would do. You could wash it and travel with it, and in all likelihood it had a Haspel label in it. In recent decades, the suit business has gone up and down, and stewardship of the Haspel brand had fallen to a string of licensees, often with dodgy and, usually stodgy distribution, but next Spring, after having been out of the market for a few seasons, we can look forward to the return of an updated, fully revived Haspel brand. It will be produced once again in-house by members of the original family that started the company and designed by Jeff Halmos and Sam Shipley of Shipley & Halmos.

As one of the few menswear "heritage" labels not yet mined by style-conscious revivalists, it was only a matter of time before it's re-invention would be at hand, and it turns out that the catalyst was the final expiration of the label's licenses, returning full control to its owners. Who knew that after 104 years, it was still owned by the original family? With Shipley & Halmos at the design helm, the new Haspel will include more than just wash & wear seersucker suits, but also a full collection of sportswear and tailored clothing most of which will be produced in domestic factories located in New England. Look for prices to fall just under the traditional designer level with suits retailing in the $795 to $1,200 —about twice what they cost under its most recent licensee, but somewhat less than Shipley & Halmos' signature collection. The designers tell WWD, "We look at it as an opportunity to take something that was once an important American brand and give it some much-needed love." So far, no images of the collection have been released beyond the re-designed label (pictured above), but hopefully we will get a chance to see the new, modernized Haspel collection sometime next month when New York's menswear market begins.

Haspel to Relaunch for Spring (WWD)


Are Dolce & Gabbana Going To Prison?

DolcegabbanaWell, if Martha Stewart did it, perhaps Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana will survive a stint in prison. In the midst of preparing to debut their Spring 2013 Men's Collection in three days, the Italian design duo known as Dolce & Gabbana were found guilty of tax evasion in Italian court yesterday and sentenced to one year and 8 months of prison time. The case alleges that the 2004 sale of the designers' brands to a Luxembourg based holding company allowed the designers to avoid taxes, and, naturally, the designers are expected to appeal.

So what will happen to the pair who have surely grown accustomed to enjoying the palatial rewards of their great success? It's hard to imagine the pair pictured at right pacing around jail cells for 20 months. Do they have the kind of "executive" prisons for white collar crime in Italy that we have in the U.S.? Will they design collections remotely from their cells? Will we see a runway show inspired by orange jumpsuits? Do they wear those in Italy? It's worth nothing that they are in good company by having problems with Italy's tax police. Lots of Italian designers have been targeted. In fact it's something of a confirmation of Dolce & Gabbana's status that they share with Valentino, Giorgio Armani and Roberto Cavalli among others who have all tangled with the tax police with varying degrees of success, but have gotten out of serving jail time either through exoneration or heavy fines.

Of course, how this will all turn out is anyone's guess. Italian courts are notoriously slow and function in whimsical ways that defy the kind of logic that American's are accustomed to in our own justice system. Just ask Amanda Knox.

Dolce, Gabbana Found Guilty (WWD)