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Is It Time To End The Barneys Warehouse Sale For Good?

Yesterday, The Shophound stopped by the Barneys Warehouse Sale to see if, as in seasons past, additional markdowns had been taken. As of yesterday there weren't any, but we did find the sale space somewhat re-arranged for easier shopping. Note the picture above, where you can see the men's shoe section neatly arranged, and incredibly tidy looking mainly because there were hardly any customers there to mess it up.

In the day or so following the opening of this season's Warehouse Sale, lots of bloggers, The Shophound included, weighed in on this new, relocated version of the popular event, and reached a general consensus that it was vastly diminished, even more so than in recent seasons when shoppers already complained that it was not the trove of bargains it once was. Of course, the most important response was not to be from critics and bloggers, but from the customers who be spending their money at the sale, and, at least on the two occasions when we have stopped by this season, those customers have not been in evidence. Yesterday we breezed in and out in minutes and saw only a handful of shoppers perusing the sale. Even on the first day, crowds were pretty thin. Perhaps everyone is still waiting for more markdowns, but usually those would have been posted long before the seventh day of the sale. So far, there have been no added reductions.

It would really be OK if Barneys decided to stop holding this sale every season.
At this point it's looking like a sickly pet that nobody has the heart to put out of its misery, or that last season of Laverne & Shirley that didn't have Shirley and barely had Laverne. Since the best merchandise is obviously being diverted to the Barneys Warehouse website (for perfectly smart business reasons, we might add), what is left at the Metropolitan Pavilion this week has been mostly picked over dregs, aged merchandise and some women's offerings that are clearly off-price goods brought in specifically for the sale and never meant to be seen in a regular Barneys store. Calling it the "Legendary" Barneys Warehouse Sale, as the banner above the entrance does, is kind of laughable, now. Continuing to hold this watered down sale can only hurt the Barneys brand, so end it already. It's OK. 

Warehouse Report: What You Will Want To Know About The Barneys Warehouse Sale


Kitson And Betsey Johnson Put Drug Jokes In Fashion's Harsh Spotlight

Here's something to get outraged about now that we are all sick to death of hearing about Miley Cyrus.
The history of Fashion is full of struggles with taste issues as style evolves. Are skirts too short? Are transparent clothes too vulgar? Are leggings too revealing? Do some kids wear their trousers too low? is visible underwear socially acceptable? Today, the debate took a left turn away from issues regarding body exposure to more cerebral concerns of mental health and drug addiction. This morning, "Today" show viewers were apprised of the latest exclusive line of T-shirts by designer Brian Lichtenberg for the Los Angeles boutique chain Kitson featuring the names of some of the most addictive prescription drugs emblazoned on football-style jerseys in an advertisement featuring the tag line "Just What the Docto℞ Ordered" (pictured above).
Hilarious, right?
WWD-betsey-johnsonWhile that was going on, WWD readers who were not invited to the Betsey Johnson show at fashion week discovered that, this season, the designer decided to send out invitations in the form of a prescription pill bottle —filled with breath mints, one must add. The designer called her upcoming collection “a prescription for dressing,” and told WWD, “I have to take credit for the idea. I think getting a bottle of pills is just funny.” Apparently, the designer was not pressed with the question of whether that idea might be offensive to some.

Do you have to be a militantly sober person to find this surprising new mini-trend offensive? Consider that the fashion industry has had an uneasy relationship with substance addiction behind the scenes, with designers like Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein and, most recently, John Galliano serving as just a few highly public examples. For the moment, Johnson still seems to think she made a funny joke. Kitson and Lichtenberg's T-shirts, however, have been the subject of an online furor recently, which may have prompted the store to add the notice that a portion of proceeds from sales of the shirts would be donated to The Medicine Abuse Project, an organization dedicated to preventing prescription drug abuse among teens. Lichtenberg calls the tees "a parody of pop culture", and a commentary on society, but the fact that he sees prescription drugs as a part of pop culture and not health care may be part of the problem. Of course, that particular point will probably be lost when you see someone swanning down Robertson Boulevard in an Adderall jersey, not to mention the possibility that selling T-shirts that ostensibly promote prescription medicine may not be the most constructive way to support an addiction prevention organization. "Today" reported that some prescription drug companies are considering legal action, as these drug names are trademarked brands.

Make of all this what you will, but expect to hear more about it in the immediate future. At the risk of putting on our prissy Schoolmarm Hat, we don't know exactly where the line is for these matters of taste, but we are pretty sure that these things have gone way over it.

Dr. Betsey Johnson in the House (WWD)
Prescription Drug Designer T-Shirts Spark Outrage (Buzzfeed)
LA boutique sells ‘irresponsible’ Rx T-shirts (Today)


H&M Takes Herald Center
For Another Biggest Store Ever

Only a few months after an extensive renovation was announced in hopes of attracting a major flagship tenant, Herald Center has snagged H&M to take over the bulk of its retail space —63,000 square feet to be exact— for the chain's largest store ever and its 14th in New York City.

But wait, didn't H&M announce last year that its upcoming flagship on Fifth Avenue will be its largest store ever?
Well, yes, but now, at 57,000 square feet, it will be its second largest store, which has H&M unwittingly mirroring Uniqlo, which has two of its largest stores in the same immediate vicinities on Fifth Avenue and on 34th street.

But wait again. Doesn't H&M already have a store just across Herald Square on 34th Street, and yet another at the other end of the same block at 34th Street and Seventh Avenue? Will they now close?
Why, yes, H&M is already exceedingly well represented on the 34th Street corridor, but both of those stores will remain open indefinitely despite the giant flagship on the way. It turns out that the Swedish chain didn't take the space because they needed more stores in the area, but because the building, which in another life housed a pre-Fifth Avenue Saks and, later, E.J. Korvette, was just too good of a space  to pass up. The opportunity to create an iconic flagship was too strong to let some other store (like the other obvious potential contender, Topshop, for example) get it. “There’s a lot of traffic in that area,” Daniel Kulle, president of H&M North America tells WWD. “As we’ve done before, we’re keeping all the stores open in close proximity to each other, ” reminding us that H&M's original Fifth Avenue store will remain open even after the now "second biggest" flagship store opens later this year a few blocks away.

And how will this H&M extravaganza differ from the upcoming Fifth Avenue and Times Square stores?
This will be the first H&M store anywhere to carry every single product line made by the company including women’s, men’s, sport, maternity, plus sizes, accessories, cosmetics, all categories of children’s and home. So get ready, New York. Soon, H&M will be inescapable

H&M's Largest Store Set for Herald Center (WWD)
Retail Renewal: Herald Center Set For An Upscale Makeover


Face Values Breaks Out For Its First NYC Store In Chelsea

Everybody knows that the best priced non-prescription drugstore around is the Harmon Face Values section inside Bed Bath & Beyond stores —the only drawback being the necessity to brave the often chaotic stores where they are placed in order to shop there. Well, that will no longer be a problem at least for Chelsea shoppers now that the city's first stand-alone Face Values store has just opened on Sixth Avenue's big-box boulevard. You may want to go out of our way for this one as it expands on the already fully packed shop-in-shops we are familiar with and broadens the selections even further while maintaining its super-competitive pricing —and that's before you factor in the inevitable coupons. If the concept expands throughout the city, it could easily force the neighborhood go-tos like Walgreens, CVS and even the most lavishly revamped Duane Reades to adjust their prices. All of the usual staples are there in abundance along with a few extras that you won't find in the Bed Bath & Beyond stores like more color cosmetics and a food section that includes upgraded gourmet brands you won't see at Duane Reade like Talenti Gelato and Steve's Ice Cream (hey, it's August. don't blame us for being immediately attracted to the freezer cases). We managed to catch the store on its opening day, which was clear from the clusters of nervously smiling executives dotted throughout the place, but they shouldn't have much to worry about. We are pretty sure that it will be packed once shoppers get wind of it, and we would be happy to suggest a few more locations right near The Shophound HQ when they are ready to roll it out to the rest of the city.

Harmon Face Values 675 Sixth Avenue at 22nd Street, Chelsea


Barneys New 6th Floor Banishes
The "Suit Department"

Barneys6thflAs we hit a new selling season, it must be time for Barneys New York to unveil yet another renovated floor at its Madison Avenue flagship. This Fall's recipient/victim is the Sixth floor of the men's store which, once home to a sea of suit racks, has been transformed into a home for classic European brands that are driven by tailored clothing. The floor now houses full lifestyle collections from megabrands like Giorgio Armani and Ermenegildo Zegna as well as more rarefied and specialized labels like Brioni, Isaia, Kiton, and Uman. These are among Barney's most expensive men's brands and, as the floor represents the store's heritage in men's suits, it will also house an expanded area for the made-to-measure and special order business.

What's new, besides a decor that eschews the traditional dark wood and leather club chairs in favor of gallery-like marble floors, leather wrapped and stainless steel cases, is a merchandising concept that ignores the traditional "suit department, shirt department, furnishings department" merchandising paradigm in favor of lifestyle collections assorted by brand rather than category. “We’re trying to break away from the old notion of classic or designer brands,” CEO Mark Lee tells WWD. “The boundaries between classic and fashion are not relevant today. At the end of the day, Barneys is about modernity and we’re housing everything in a modern environment.”Barneys now has fewer dedicated suit floors, but more tailored clothing interspersed throughout the store in general. Another change is the opening up of the barriers between the men's and women's sides of the floor which characterizes the typically unsentimental approach to re-conceiving the store that this ongoing renovation represents. Next up for a makeover will be the remaining suit floor on Seven as management continues radically revamping Barneys.

Barneys Continues Madison Ave. Makeover (WWD)


Opening Ceremony Plans A Pier Pop-Up

Pier57It may be hard to imagine, but this Fall's Fashion Week will mark the first time that Opening Ceremony presents its popular wholesale collection on an actual runway (not including the occasional Chloë Sevigny collaboration). To celebrate, designers/shopkeepers/owners Humberto Leon and Carol Lim will be commandeering their Pier 57 show space for a whole week and staging a pop-up market event to be called Opening Ceremony BTW (for 'By The Water"). Open from 11 AM to 7 PM on  September 5th through the 7th, the retailer will bring a collection of separate shops housed in shipping containers including Rihanna for River Island and DKNY Exclusively for Opening Ceremony as well as food vendors like Asia Dog, Café Habana, Spur Tree and the Dominique Ansel Bakery. Estée Lauder will host a Pop-up salon featuring nail art and there will also be " Coca-Cola Designer Drinkware products" —so there will be sponsorship. Last, but by no means least, there will be a special selection of Tenga "male pleasure" products with customized packaging based on Opening Ceremony's Spring collection, which should make for some really interesting gift bags.

Lim tells WWD, “It’s our version of giving guests the experience not only the day of the show. They can see curated fashion products and food. We thought, ‘Why not extend it for the entire fashion week?’” The designers worked in cooperation with Young Woo & Associates which is in the process of redeveloping the 60 year-old "SuperPier" (pictured in a rendering above) and will also offer other shops and vendors during Fashion Week. What's the best part? Unlike most Fashion Week events, the markets will be open to the public —no invitations necessary.

Opening Ceremony Sets Plans for First New York Fashion Week (WWD)
Pier 57 (Official Site)


Dolce & Gabbana, Zac Posen, Halston Heritage, Ippolita, Céline, Fendi, ZZegna, Surface To Air, Maharishi, Vivienne Westwood, Missoni

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!

Camilla Skovgaard, Seychelles, Furla, Auntumn Cashmere, A.L.C., Erin Fetherston, Zac Posen, Natori, Dolce & Gabbana, UnionMade, Gant, Versace Footwear, Paul Smith/Mosely Tribes Sunglasses, Eliane et Lena, Melissa & Doug, Furnishings by Jeffan, Potomak Studio —join HERE
Halston Heritage, John Varvatos, FAO Schwarz, Vibram FiveFingers, 7 For All Mankind, Loloi Rugs, Waterworks Studio, Ippolita, Nourison, Elizabeth McKay, Frette, KEEN, Ergobaby, French Connection, Lucky Brand, Arthur Court, Madame Alexander —join HERE
Céline Handbags, Fendi, Gibson Tabletop & Cookware, TOD's/Dsquared2 Sunglasses, Ali Ro, Colette Nicolai Fine Jewelry, Gucci, Aida Kibur Jewelry, Bailey 44, Armani Ties, Beck Sondergaard, Ben Sherman, French Connection, Saint Laurent, Marc Jacobs/Carrera Sunglasses, Kenneth Cole Reaction, ZZegna, Stone Rose, Second Sunday, Salvatore Ferragamo, Chan Luu  —join HERE
Joe's Jeans, Stila, Graham & Spencer, Ella Moss/Splendid Shoes, Rivkah Friedman, Nixon Watches, Ben Sherman, Patagonia, Kooba, AT2, Hush Puppies, Trina Turk Jewelry, David Evangelista Hair, Onna Erlich, Oakley, Vince, B Brian Atwood, New Balance, Kenneth Cole Reaction, Florsheim, Relwen, Kitchen Aid, Tommy Hilfiger, Hobo, Rebeca Taylor, Rachel Zoe, Bruno Magli, Calvin Klein, Love Token, Jack Russell, Pixi & POP, Thomas Dean, Madden Girl, Swissco —join HERE
Roberto Cavalli Shoes, E. Tautz, Dolce & Gabbana, Eton of Sweden, SeaVees, Kelsi Dagger, Me & Kashmiere, Patricia Green Moccasins, Kokun Knitwear, M Patmos, Kipling, Isaac Mizrahi, Van Teal Lighting, Surface To Air, Sebago, Maharishi, Hickey Freeman, Palladium Shoes, Michael Stars Accessories, Dex Girls, Vivienne Westwood, Ben Sherman, N.D.C. Made by Hand, Gorilla USA, Mondrina, Stella & Jamie —join HERE
Sperry Top-Sider, Charmex of Switzerland Watcehs, Swarovski, Missoni/M Missoni —join HERE


What You Will Want To Know About The Barneys Warehouse Sale

The Shophound just got back from the Barneys Warehouse Sale. This is approximately the umpteen kajillionth Barneys Warehouse Sale we have been to, but this is the first time in its new home, the Metropolitan Pavilion, where it has been moved after the closing of the 18th Street Co-op store. There are lots of questions about how well the transition has been, especially in the wake of the Barneys Warehouse website, where most of what would normally be found at the sale is now being offered via e-commerce. Here are some answers to the obvious and not so obvious questions:

Is there any womenswear?
Yes there is. Contrary to many rumors over the past six months, Women's merchandise has not been eliminated from the Warehouse Sale.

Is the womenswear any good?
Not really.
Shall we elaborate? From what we could tell, the women's merchandise consisted mostly of the kind of casualwear and jeans that made up the low end of what would be offered at the Co-op stores —which are being eliminated. Basically, it's mostly the kind of stuff that barneys is trying to stop carrying altogether. The likelihood of finding a fabulous Balenciaga or Givenchy at a bargain price is slim to none, unless you find it on one of the 75% Off Blue Star racks, of which there are a few, but offerings on these racks are random and require fastidious checking for flaws and damages. We did notice a lacy, slightly shredded Rodarte dress on the end of one of them, but it was hard to tell if the shredding was from being shopworn or just, you know, Rodarte.

Women's shoes?
We saw only a couple of racks, and they appeared to be devoted to orange tagged "as is" merchandise. The days of picking up a few Manolos or Louboutinn at this sale are definitively over. As for other accessories, there was an abundance of bags from labels like Botkier and Deux Lux which seemed like far too cheap a brand to sell at even a Co-op store and was probably brought in (by the truckload) at off-price for the sale. Now on to Men's...

How was the Menswear?
As expected, about 3/4 of the entire space was devoted to Men's apparel, and about 2/3 of that was men's suits. Tailored clothing was the main focus of the merchandise including lots of outerwear and still a good selection of the house label dress shirts that Warehoue shoppers have come to expect. It looks like the sale is still a good place to go for a deal on businesswear.

How about Men's Casualwear?
Disappointing. Where there were once racks and racks of sportshirts, then whole sections for designer collections and denim, there is now a small, condensed section with everything mixed together. Sportshirts, once an endless forest of offerings, have been reduced to four rolling racks. Casual pants and denim have also been similarly reduced in scope, and sweaters seemed to be mostly limited to private label items and house brands like Piatelli. Much like the women's section, it looks like the designer merchandise we used to find at the Warehoue Sale has been largely diverted to the website. There is a larger Blue Star section as well here, which can often be a source of rock-bottom deals, but the offerings are a bit random from previous seasons and, again, require careful inspection for flaws, damages and possible alterations.

Men's Shoes?
Also pitiful, but then the men's shoe selection at the Warehouse Sale has been poor for the past several seasons. Now it's worse simply because the selection is even smaller and consists mostly of questionable private label and house brand styles. There may be an errant Prada loafer or Margiela sneaker popping up here or there, but they are anomalies.

Was there anything from the Home Department?
Yes, but so little it hardly seemed worth the bother for them to even put it on the shelves.

How's the space?
Here's some good news: The Metropolitan Pavilion's ground floor space is spacious and much easier to shop than the old location. There are no annoying stairs and everything is on one level. Checkout seemed to be moving swiftly and there was enough room for actual changing areas! This is something we have never seen at a Warehouse Sale, where one would have to be prepared to strip down in a corner to try things on. In this sense, the change in location has been a definite improvement.

So to sum it all up, The new Warehouse Sale is easier to shop, but aside from Men's tailored clothing and furnishings, you may have to hunt long and hard to find anything you actually want to buy. If you are a lady, you probably won't want to bother at all. There may well be a bargain or two hidden in there for somebody, but finding it depends a lot on how much patience one has for that kind of foraging. Have a look at our gallery below to get a better idea of the scene. In general, this version of the sale is not something we would saving our money for or even particularly looking forward to, but all it takes is one or two good finds to make a visit worthwhile. The question is, how much work should it be to find them?

The Barneys Warehouse Sale through August 2 at the Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street between Sixth & Seventh Avenues, Chelsea

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Knowing S#!? From Shinola Edition

22zCRITICAL1-articleLargeWell, we couldn't resist the headline. In fairness, it is fitting, because in analyzing the unlikely reinvention of shoe-polish brand Shinola in today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica finds surprising parallels with the company's Detroit-centric focus and the kind of global "Fair Trade" businesses that have emerged over the past decade or so supporting developing countries.

Buying something made in Detroit, in this calculus, is not much different than buying a fair trade Andean sweater. You’re buying a small piece of the revival of a great American manufacturing city gone to seed. Or at least, you’re buying into the liberal idea of what supporting a distressed economy means.

In a particularly merciless mood this week, Caramanica pulls no punches in evaluating the goods available. The bicycles are handsome but stunningly expensive. The watches are attractive, but reminiscent of styles from Fossil, a brand not coincidentally owned by the same man behind Shinola's revival. There is also little charity for him as Caramanica calls him "a midprice watch mogul looking to go luxury under the cover of charitable business practices." Well, I suppose one could be called worse.

Critical Shopper: The Next Branding of Detroit By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Shinola 177 Franklin Street between Hudson & Greenwich Streets, TriBeCa
Brand New Vintage: On The New Shinola Store And The Allure Of Faux Nostalgia


Once Again, Here's David Beckham
In His Newest Underpants

It's a slow news week in the middle of the Dog Days of Summer, which means it's just about time for a new ad campaign from David Beckham Bodywear. Somehow, H&M, which exclusively sells the line in 2800 stores worldwide, as well as online, knows just when the magical interwebs are ready to be distracted by new pictures of Beckham modeling his underwear, and so here they are, or it is, anyway. This year's campaign focuses more on loungewear and pyjamas, so there is really only one underwear shot (above). Perhaps Beckham is getting more modest these days, but the photos are a bit more moody and evocative this time —set in a classic locker room beckause David Beckham is actually an athlete, remember?

See the entire campaign in the slideshow below and then click through for a behind the scenes video after the jump. Watch it as many times as you want, and enjoy your afternoon.

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Continue reading "TAKING IT OFF ONE MORE TIME:

Once Again, Here's David Beckham
In His Newest Underpants
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