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Diptyque Officially Makes Century 21 Your Newest Sample Sale Venue

So this week's Ferragamo Sample Sale was no fluke.
The lavish C21-Edition vintage luxury accessory shop (pictured above) at Century 21's FiDi flagship may have been a little bit too ambitious of a concept for the longtime off-pricer pricer despite its recent refurbishment and upgrades. That's OK, because a new use for the space sees to be emerging and it's one we can never have too much of. Yesterday it was announced that the popular beyond reason Diptyque sample sale, one that has appeared to be missing from the current season's lineup, will indeed take place there next Wednesday through Friday, making it the second sample sale there in as many weeks. Get ready. We all love a nicely scented candle, but this sale traditionally brings out aggressive volume shoppers who have been known to pick the offerings clean within hours, let alone three days.
It's good timing for the Sample Sale world. 260 Sample Sale, Diptyque's former venue went gangbusters last year with three venues between its original Fifth Avenue site, a smaller one a few blocks downtown, and spacious one on Wooster Street that were consistently busy with major sales. For whatever reason, 260 Sample Sale is currently working only with its single original space, which means that many of its regular clients will need alternative arrangements to maintain their schedule. Enter C21-Edition, an unconventional, bi-level space (complete with an elevator) that served nicely for Ferragamo's last-minute sale and will host Diptyque next week.
There's no word on future sales scheduled at the space, but it looks like seasoned shoppers should get used to the idea of adding the corner of Dey and Church Street to their sale map.
See the SALE ROLL at left for the Dyptique sale details.


Look For New York's First TOMS Store To Be Mostly Coffee Bar

TOMSNolitaIt looks like the long awaited TOMS store on Elizabeth street is finally about to open any day now, after a bewilderingly long construction period for a modestly sized store. If you are expecting an endless array of the label's signature eyewear and casual shoes, however, then think again. The folks at Bowery Boogie got a peek inside, and discovered that the store will be more of a coffee bar than anything. The 1,000 square foot store is the brand's third in the U.S., and will be following the template of the others in promoting the band's responsibly produced coffee products. Sure, there will be shoes and glasses featuring the famous Toms one for one policy that donates one one shoe or eyeglass frame for each pair sold, but beverages are expected to be the focal point. The equally charitable coffee business supports clean water effort in 70 countries around the world.
Look for an opening by the weekend at 262 Elizabeth Street.

Charity-Minded Shoe Company Toms Opens a Cafe in Soho This Week (Bowery Boogie)
Is The First TOMS Store In New York Almost Ready To Open?


Sorcery In SoHo Edition

26CRITICAL4-blog427In today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica is more more wide-eyed than critical as he venture's forth to Boris Bidjan Saberi's boutique on the western edge of SoHo.
Never heard of Saberi? It's not surprising. He is, apparently, something of a best-kept secret, more of a cult designer located at an offbeat address and known for his meticulously crafted leather pieces whose distressed finishing he executes personally. Our shopper is more enthralled by the unique process and product than usual, and he seems totally sold on the product. It's not the directional styling —closer to Rick Owens than Scott Perfecto— but the steep prices that paper to keep our shopper from walking out with his own personally molded piece of outerwear. Starting at around $5,000, such personal craftsmanship doesn't come cheap, but it sounds like one should be warned against a visit to the shop if one isn't prepared to leave with a jacket of one's own. "You would have to peel it off, if you were inclined to remove it, which you might not be, because they come with a bit of magic," he writes.
Something to save up for, then.

Critical Shopper: Boris Bidjan Saberi’s Mad Method by Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Boris Bidjan Saberi 494 Greenwich Street between Canal & Spring Streets, SoHo


Will Ferragamo Make Century 21 A New Sample Sale Venue?
Tamara Mellon, Bogner & Fred Leighton

The crush of multiple Sample Sales has subsided for a moment or two, but there are still a few worthwhile events popping up, especially if you keep your ear to the ground.
In the most surprising development of the week, members of Century 21's rewards program got a last minute invite over the weekend to SALVATORE FERRAGAMO's sample sale starting today. Ferragamo has held public sales only sporadically in the past, and due to a melee a few years ago, it's New Jersey warehouse sales are now strictly limited to employees and invited guests, so this is a rare event in the city. The other surprise is that the sale is being held in the glitzy new C21•EDITION section of the off-price chain's Financial District flagship. The sale is RSVP only and we don't know exactly how strict they area about it yet, but you can find the link in our sidebar to gain access. As far as we know, this is a first for Century 21. Long known as a place for designers to quietly dispose of overstock and samples, we have never heard of the store hosting an actual sample sale. Early reports seem to indicate good prices and an abundance of merchandise in all categories including shoes, so this is not one for Ferragamo fans to miss.

Elsewhere this week burgeoning lifestyle designer TAMARA MELLON is holding her second sample sale at 260 Fifth Avenue staring on Thursday the 26th. Her first one last season was reportedly a bonanza with great prices on the former Jimmy Choo chief's sexy shoes, accessories and apparel. This sale now comes with a reputation for great bargains, so expect to get up early and stand in line. Pray for decent weather.

Ski and Après-Ski enthusiasts will want to set aside Friday for the BOGNER sale in SoHo. The luxury athletic brand will be offering 70% off through the weekend just in time to catch the last few weeks of the ski season.

Finally, anyone looking for something sparklier will be getting up early on Sunday March 1st to head over to Soiffer Haskin for the double whammy sale from FRED LEIGHTON and KWIAT. There's no indication of what will be offered specifically other than "Fine Jewelry", but Leighton is known for exceptional vintage pieces, and Kwiat is known for great big diamonds. There should be something for everybody, or, at least, something for everybody with tons and tons of money.
Save your pennies.

Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL at left for late breaking sales and other details on events for this week and beyond.


Dsquared2, Marcelo Burlon, Giuseppe Zanotti, Diane von Furstenberg, TOD's, Prada, Grenson, Stella McCartney, Marchesa Voyage, Baldwin

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!

Vanessa Bruno, The Letter, Kooba, Balenciaga, Deborah Lippmann, Noir Jewelry, Yosi Samra, Incotex Ivory, Grenson, Skywatch, DeSanto Belts, Fred Perry, Raen Sunglasses, Robert Graham, Hook & Albert, Luciano Barbera, Royal River Bedding, WMF, iHome —join HERE
Giuseppe Zanotti, Meira T, BluePrintCleanse, CHARLES by Charles David, Ivory + Mason, Betsey Johnson, 7 A.M. Enfant, Escada Sport, AG Jeans, Absorba, English Laundry, Diane von Furstenberg —join HERE
TOD's Prada, Halston Heritage, Canali, Stella McCartney, Chamak, Swiss Legend, Lancôme —join HERE
7 For All Mankind, Todd Snyder, EVER, DV by Dolce Vita, Letarte Swim, Ella Moss, Lafayette 148, Børn, Mario Badescu, Sue Wong, Bearpaw, Mario Valentino, Robert Rodriguez, jack Spade, Antonio Maurizi, Superdry —join HERE
Prada, Salvatore Ferragamo, Marchesa Voyage, Duchamp, Columbia Outerwear, Maker & Co., J. Campbell, Skagen, Brioni, Baldwin Denim, New Balance, Stuhrling, Rick Owens Lilies & DRKSHDW, Calvin Klein, IIIbeca Handbags, Delman, Christian Dior Footwear, Marcelo Burlon County of Milan, Dsquared2 —join HERE


Q: Where Will Fashion Week Be Held Next Seaon?
A: Everywhere

Today's WWD has a lead article speculating on where WME-IMG will stage (the formerly titled Mercedes-Benz) New York Fashion Week this September. There are three leading candidates, all of which have major drawbacks.
First off is Moynihan Station in the old James Farley Post Office (pictured above) across Eighth Avenue from Penn Station and Madison Square Garden. They have the space, and fashion events have been held there before. It is also centrally located near subway lines, but the drawback is that this particular stretch of midtown is reliably home to Manhattan's worst traffic patterns which could affect the multitude of trucks required for loading and unloading the multiple shows that would be taking place.
Also, if the station is holding fashion shows, then when exactly is it going to turn into the train station that we have been hearing about for the past 20 years? That's an answer for a whole other article, but Moynihan Station is  not the only option.
Also highly touted is Skylight Clarkson Square, which will house this summer's Men's Fashion Week shows and is also a regular home to many runway shows. 70,000 square feet on Washington Street in Western SoHo makes it a cool downtown location, but, unlike Lincoln Center and Bryant Park, there is not exactly a subway stop at its doorstep. Not every Fashion Week attendee travels by Taxi or private car. The third likely option is tents on a Tribeca Pier on the Hudson River, possibly Pier 26? That creates its own transportation issues, but it would be near the newly resurgent Financial District shopping area as well as Condé Nast's new reportedly rodent-ridden WTC headquarters.
Then there's also the issue of how to integrate Made Fashion Week, which WME-IMG is in the process of acquiring, into the larger Fashion Week structure. Will that prompt a move to centralize at Chelsea Piers which is very close to Made's home at Milk Studios?
They will to have to think fast. Planning a mega-event in September requires more advanced planning that IMG may already have time for. WWD also notes that most people involved expect that Fashion Week will find a permanent home at the proposed Culture Shed in Hudson yards in the West 30s which has been projected for a 2017 opening. That may be an optimistic timetable, and complex may not be ready until 2019.
At the moment, it all seems to be up in the air without a real frontrunner location, so what will likely happen is a lot of shows exhaustingly scattered all over Manhattan just like we experienced this past week and in previous seasons. A decision will have to be made soon, however, so stay tuned. We may just get a manageable Fashion Week soon.

IMG Eyes New Fashion Week Venues (WWD)


What Does It Mean When The Best Swag Is Laundry Detergent?

We have already noted that the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week tents at Lincoln Center feel like they are phoning it in at this point. This is their last season. It is also the last season for Mercedes as the name sponsor, and nobody really knows exactly where IMG's New York Fashion Week will materialize next season. The latest rumor has it taking up in the still not fully constructed Moynihan Station in the old Post Office across the street form Penn Station which seems...plausible?
Anyway, as most of the designers of note have migrated away from the tents, this season, the usual crush of sponsor booths, on of designers' biggest complaints about the tents, has also diminished along with the endless supply of product being handed out.
The days of bringing an extra bag along to collect the day's swag haul during Fashion Week are long over, but you could still count on picking up some Tresemmé shampoo and conditioner in the Tents somewhere along the way. There is still a salon booth from the brand, but it seems a bit less welcoming this year, and they aren't handing out samples to everyone who passes by. There is an SK-II booth, which should have caused delight, but it requires a consultation and you have to log on to their website to have swag sent to your home, which is just a little to personal to The Shophound who is used to being handed a bag of occasionally bewildering beauty products that I can then distribute to my delighted female friends and family members.
You see, most of the beauty swag is of no use to The Shophound, although there were a few years there when we never had to actually bother buying shampoo and conditioner. We have dutifully collected all those beauty products and other miscellany because, it was always free, and it has allowed us to, on the odd occasion, become a fountain of free stuff for friends which has its own rewards. Who knew that a Maybelline mascara could produce such joy? Sadly, the bountiful bags of free product have become scarce.
And on to the less relevant sponsors. Papyrus is there again, and they gave us a free valentine card last week which gives them higher points for usefulness. We have already mentioned how pleased we were to see some free Yoplait yogurt distributed, but we haven't seen them reappear. Some of the tech sponsors of the past like Samsung and Logitech are now conspicuously absent, and while they didn't actually give much stuff away, they added to the trade show-like atmosphere. Their absence brings the E! Network's Fashion Police studio stage down to the floor level which, again, is a dubious development. 
Then there's Tide.
The laundry detergent brand has its own sponsor booth this season ostensibly to show visitors how easy it is to actually wash clothes which most of us naturally relegate to the ease but also the expense of the dry cleaner. On top of that, they had a generous supply of Tide pods with Febreze to hand out to pretty much anybody stepping in without having to endure too much of a hard-sell. Now, this is, admittedly a better bit of swag for people who do their own laundry —less common in New York than in most places— and have easy access to a washing machine —again, not always a given here. But drawbacks aside, we were happy to take that free Tide, and we might try to score some more. After all, it's a product we trust, and it's so much easier to carry a few pods to the laundromat (where, yes, we do wash our own clothes rather than handing them over to somebody else) rather than toting a heavy, sloshing, occasionally leaking bottle of liquid.
So there you have it. Maybe its a result of our going to far fewer shows this season, but Tide, you have won our blue ribbon for swag this season. Congratulations!


Naeem Khan Brings The Shiny

As many of you regular Shophounders out here may have noticed, we have toned down out Fashion Week coverage here  over the past few seasons. it's not that we don't love a great runway show.
We do.
We just don't want to waste our time running to and from the ones that aren't so great.
Having said that, it wouldn't seem like Fashion Week without at least one full-on parade of glam, and so we have NAEEM KHAN to thank very kindly for making sure we didn't miss out.
Fashion has become so fragmented that, at this point, most designers seem to just do their own thing without regard to trends as long as they know they have faithful customers who love what they do. Khan's thing is glamorous eveningwear with no holds barred. Sequins, palettes, bugle beads, feathers and lamé are all in welcome abundance on his runways and his Fall 2015 collection, his tenth runway show, was no exception.
There's a lot more to making sparkly gowns than throwing sequins at a bias cut dress, and Khan makes sure we can see that with intricately patterned beaded embroideries, and deceptively sleek shapes. There were some non-shiny looks in chiffon or other matte silks, but the standouts were, as always, the sparkly looks including a few beautifully engineered gowns in black with gunmetal beaded geometric or scalloped patterns that fell into tumbling palettes by the time they reached the hems. For the overstaters, there was minidress in bugle bead fringe or perhaps one in ostrich feathers? Maybe the giant white fox hunting hats were a bit much, but overall, it was, as expected, a rousing and particularly satisfying show that left his audience, clients and retailers, smiling.
Have a look at some runway highlights in the gallery below

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Look For Ralph Lauren's
Big Home Sale This Weekend +
Catherine Malandrino & Gemma Kahng

The Sample Sale Circuit is on a slow burn, but as always, there are a few things of note worth putting on your calendar starting with the RALPH LAUREN HOME Sale (above) which runs from Friday through Monday at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. It's always a vast mixed bag ranging from furniture to tableware, linens carpets, pillows and even various antiques and store props. Note that there will be shipping services available on the premises for large pieces, but costs are to be covered by the customer, so you may want to bring your own U-Haul.

That's the big event, but shoppers looking for a fashion fix will want to check out CATHERINE MALANDRINO's Archive Sale running through Sunday at 260 Fifth Avenue. While Malandrino is one of those designers who seems to pop up fairly often on the sale circuit, this one is promises an abundance of special one-of-a-kind pieces from the designer's vault, and a 6-day run at a sizable venue means that, at the very least, there is going to be a lot of stuff.

Shoppers out for something more exclusive should trek to independent designer GEMMA KAHNG's showroom for an only-once-every-so-often sample sale this Thursday and Friday. Kahng promises 75% off her collection with prices starting at $100.

Finally, shoe ladies should be looking forward to British shoe brand MIISTA's (below) first New York sample sale. They have chosen a spot on the Lower East Side on Allen Street and will be there from Friday through Sunday with bold footwear from last Fall and previous seasons looking to build a new customer base in the U.S.

As always, keep an eye on our SALE ROLL at left for details and late breaking events.


Robert Geller & General Idea
In Dark Rooms

There was so much going on this past weekend what with the Saturday Night Live anniversary and some Basketball thing, but, there was also Fashion Week and, as always, the first few days are still heavy on Menswear in advance of the guys finally getting their own week to themselves this Summer. One wonders if, once a bigger spotlight is shining, designers will get more room to show off. On Wednesday, we visited both sessions of New York Men's Day at Industria in the West Village, which was a great showcase for up and coming (and in some cases, old and revamping) labels, but kind of crammed them into some small, hot, brightly lit rooms. On Saturday, General Idea, a Fashion Week stalwart from designer Bumsik Choi, got Industria all to itself. Choi is one of the designers who is quietly making Seoul a fashion capital to reckon with, and has developed a faithful cult clientele. Typically, Choi has opted for a runway show, but this season he went for a more efficient presentation where visitors could examine his collection in a bit more detail. As always, bold outerwear was the standout including double lapeled coats that made a striking diagonal slash of contrast across their wearers. One irony was that despite the presentation being staged in an actual photo studio, the lighting was unusually dim, making for a strangely gloomy ambiance, but perhaps they were simply trying to mitigate the inevitably unfavorable combination of heavy wintercoats and bright lighting in a smallish, white room.

Later in the day, we made our way to Robert Geller's show at Pier 59 Studios. Last season, Geller moved to a bigger studio in the complex with an X-shaped runway that beautifully showcased the collection, but for Fall 2015, he moved back to his familiar long, narrow studio for a proscenium-like set-up against a chain-link backdrop. How it related to Geller's inspiration, Aldo and Nedo Nadi, a pair of brothers form the 1920s who were Olympic level fencers, and, apparently, extremely natty dressers. As he does, Geller melded inspiration from the past to modern techniques for a striking collection, though, again, the dark, moody lighting made it tricky to get a handle on exactly what one was seeing, even from a decent seat. We hear that there were great shoes from Common Projects, but they mostly obscured to us. Maybe next season's Men's Fashion Week will give both designers better showing options in a less tightly packed schedule. They both deserve the lights on a full power.