In today's Thursday Styles, Critical Shopper Molly Young returns to take on The Kooples, a French sportswear brand that has aggressively insinuated itself into New York's retail scene, first by way of in-store shops at Bloomingdale's and now with two freestanding boutiques in SoHo and the Meatpacking District with more likely to follow. A play on a Gallicization of the word "couples", The Kooples are actually three French brothers who created "an outfitter of romantic partners who enjoy dressing like each other," our shopper writes, and yet, our shopper seems to shop alone, which is, apparently, also allowed. Following Critical Shopper protocol, she tries on, and eventually makes a purchase, but notes that despite its increasing visibility in New York, The Kooples may not yet be serving many actual New Yorkers just yet.
During my first 30 minutes in the shop, every customer appeared to be foreign: one French, one German, two British, and three unclassifiable (deep tans, faint accents).
Maybe it is the exceedingly slender silhouettes or the extra slick styling, but the jury is still seems to be out on how much lasting impact The Kooples might have in New York and on U.S. shoppers.
Critical Shopper: The Kooples Is for Couples (Usually European) By Molly Young (NYTimes)
The Kooples 401 W 14th Street between Ninth Avenue & Washington Street, Meatpacking District and 115 Mercer Street between Spring & Prince Streets, SoHo