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Donna Karan To Step Down With Her Signature Collection To Be Suspended

Donna_Karan_VF_2012_ShankboneAs the fashion press prepares for Haute Couture collections in Paris and the debut of New York's first organized Men's Fashion Week, one of the pillars of modern American fashion has dropped a bombshell. Donna Karan is stepping down as the chief designer of Donna Karan International, the company she founded on 1984.
She plans to maintain a close advisory role at the company, now a division of LVMH, but is expected to devote greater time to her own Urban Zen company and foundation. Karan's reduced role does not come as a total surprise to those in the industry who have observed over a period of years that the designer's interest seemed more focused on her personal projects than on the labels she created in the 1980s. What is a surprise, however is that rather than replacing her as designer for the flagship Donna Karan Collection as PVI did at Calvin Klein with Francisco Costa when its namesake designer reduced his role, DKI will suspend those collections and runway shows "for now", WWD reports. That leaves a very changed DKI, with DKNY as its main fashion driver. Perhaps not so coincidentally, Maxwell Osborne and Dao-Yi Chow of Public School will be presenting their debut as DKNY's creative directors at New York Fashion Week this September.
While one might have expected that the Donna Karan collection would have been strong enough to continue with a new creative director, it has now been many years since Karan's original label has been the retail powerhouse that it was in the 80s and 90s when its deceptively simple designs powered by its designer's charisma and a rabidly devoted customer base racked up huge numbers for retailers. Her seasonal public appearance at Bergdorf Goodman regularly drew record-busting crowds to meet her, but it has been decades since Karan has presided over a trunk show, and collection no longer commands the prized real estate in department stores that it once did, despite more enthusiastic reviews for her runway shows in recent years along with a resurgence in her label's favorable appearance at red-carpet events and award shows.
Still, it's hard to imagine a New York fashion scene without a collection designed by Donna Karan who has been fixture since she took over the reins at Anne Klein in 1974 with Louis Dell'Olio. Look for lots of retrospectives and much deserved tributes in the days ahead.

Donna Karan to Step Down at DKI (WWD)


Macy's Under Pressure To Sever Ties (And Shirts And Suits) With Donald Trump

MacysTrumpAnd the shoe is on the other foot.
Will Donald Trump's retail partners now give him the boot as well?
Yesterday, Donald Trump who has reveled in dismissing contestants from his reality show "The Apprentice" with a curt "You're Fired!" got a taste of his own medicine when NBCUniversal announced that it would no longer air the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants which they both co-own, and end its relationship with him altogether. Initially, Spanish-language network Univision announced that it would drop the pageants in response to Trump's comments about Mexican immigrants in his speech earlier in June announcing his candidacy for the presidency. He referred to them as mostly criminals and rapists which incensed not just Mexican but many other immigrant communities from Latin America and beyond. Now that NBC has followed suit by ending its association with the real estate mogul, who had already announced he would not be hosting upcoming seasons of "The Apprentice" while he campaigns for President, attention turns to Macy's which sells men's tailored clothing, furnishings (pictured above) and home items under the Donald J. Trump and Trump Home labels as well as his fragrance called Success. WWD reports that a moveon.org petition garnered over 700,000 signatures on Monday, pressuring the store to dump Trump's brands which it carries exclusively. Trump's anti-Mexican screed has put Macy's at odds with its efforts to target Hispanic customers including a huge private brand launch earlier this year featuring Thalia, the Mexican singer and telenovela star. Macy's may be weighing its potential Thalia business against its current Trump business right now, because in classic fashion Trump has remained unapologetic about his statements, instead choosing to slam Univision and NBCU for dismissing him and his productions. Will Macy's be next in line for Trump's retaliatory vitriol? Time will tell, but this issue seems to be gaining traction rather than blowing over as the typically self congratulatory businessman discovers that being a general jerk gets taken very differently once you officially put yourself forth as a candidate for President.

Group Calls for Macy’s to Drop Trump Brand (WWD)


FAO Schwarz ThisClose To Signing A Times Square Lease

1633-broadway-renderingThough FAO Schwarz has only a couple of weeks left before it leaves its longtime home in the GM Building, it looks likely that it will be back in Manhattan by 2016's Holiday season in a retail space that is remarkably similar to its soon to be former neighbor the Apple Store. The Commercial Observer reports that, as had been rumored earlier,  the legendary toy store is about to wrap up negotiations to move into an underground space currently being reconfigured at the Paramount Building at 1633 Broadway between 50th and 51st Streets, Originally a sunken plaza not unlike the one that predated the Apple Store in front of the GM building, the new space will have a street level entryway similar to the Fifth Avenue Apple Store's "Cube" (rendering above) which will lead to 40,000 square feet on two underground levels with 14-foot ceilings, allowing for some of the dramatic displays that made FAO Schwarz famous. The Observer reports that the 15-year lease will cost about $4 million per year, a substantial savings on the reported $15.6 million it currently pays on Fifth Avenue, not to mention the increase it would pay had it chosen to remain where it is.
Executives at Toys 'R' Us, FAO Schwarz's parent company, have declined to confirm the new location for the store, but one would be hard pressed to find a better new location for the tourist magnet.

FAO Schwarz Wrapping Up Negotiations for Xmas 2016 Opening in Times Square (Commercial Observer)
Fifth Avenue Farewell: FAO Schwarz Officially Closing In July


Giambattista Valli, Juan Carlos Obando, Valentino, Sergio Rossi, Persol, Stuart Weitzman, Oliver Peoples, Gucci, Burberry, Balenciaga

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. Shop well!

Akris, TOD's, Rodebjer, Yummie by Heather Thompson, Sergio Rossi, Gucci, Giambattista Valli, Sofer Jewelry, Red Carter Swim, Clover Canyon, Shu Uemura, Montblanc, Armani Collezioni, Canali, Vanishing Elephant, Blue Streak, Raleigh Denim, Hickey Freeman, Wall + Water —join HERE
Valentino, Jones New York, La Blanca, I.Reiss Jewelry, Nation LTD. Stuart Weitzman, Luca Carati Jewelry, Cuisinart, Beautyrest, The Art of Shaving, KOKIN Hats, Persol Sunglasses, Splendid, Ella Moss —join HERE
Eileen Fisher, Marika Active, Joseph Abboud, Oliver Peoples, Donald J Pliner, Affliction, Hudson Jeans, Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Tommy Bahama —join HERE
Ivory + Mason, Argento Vivo Jewelry, BRIC's, Balenciaga, Badgley Mischka, Romeo & Juliet Couture, Juan Carlos Obando, Gucci, Lucchese Boots, Tailor Vintage, Luminox, Perry Ellis, Burberry, Tiger of Sweden, Versace —join HERE


Gap & Old Navy Will Take Over
Toys 'R' Us In Times Square


The question of whether any one store would be big enough to take over the Toys 'R' Us flagship in Times Square has been answered with a "No," as Gap Inc. made a deal last week to take over only half of the space for two flagship sized stores. The Observer reports that both the Gap and Old Navy chains will build flagships inside the space after Toys 'R' Us vacates it next year, and the arrangement will include building a third floor atop the structure.
Gap will take 6,000 square feet on the ground level with 25,000 below for a mostly underground store. Old Navy, the division of Gap Inc. which is really driving profits at the moment, will have the more visible part of the complex with the other 6,000 square feet on the main floor as well as the entire 17,500 square feet on the second floor plus another 17,000 square feet on the third floor yet to be built. This marks Old Navy's Times Square debut. It has a store on the busy 34th Street corridor, but just closed its high-profile SoHo store which is being turned into a Zara flagship. Presumably, this means that Gap will eventually close its large Times Square store at 42nd Street and Broadway, but considering how long it will take to build another floor on top of its future home, the move will probably still be at least a year off or more. More details likely to come, so stay tuned.

Gap and Old Navy Find Side-by-Side Homes in Times Square (Commercial Observer)


The New 5 & Dime Edition

This week's Thursday Styles presented The Shophound with an unusual coincidence. Just as we were about to post our review of the new Danish import tchotchke shop Flying Tiger in the flatiron district, Critical Shopper Molly Young filed hers.
Spoiler Alert: Our opinions do not differ that much in this particular case, but we have a lot more pictures to post without any usage or rights concerns, so feast on our gallery below for a better look at just a small sampling of the delightfully cheap crap the store offers.
We both found the layout maze like, with Ms. Young likening it to a smaller version of fellow Scandinavian Ikea's similarly circuitous store plan. "Working your way through Flying Tiger, you get the sense that a bunch of lunatics in Copenhagen has been given unlimited access to Chinese factories and the mandate to “design a bevy of fun crud” for global distribution," she writes.
The sheer randomness of the company's offerings accounts for most of the shop's appeal, helped in no small part by the low prices with most items below $5 with many at $2 or $3. It's the perfect store for someone with too much time on his or her hands and too little money. It's a magpie's delight filled with shiny stuff, most of it useful, but none of it plain. There are desk accessories, tabletop supplies, crafting gear, candles, eyewear, magnets, drinkware, pens and pencils and tons of other mundane stuff that some design department in Copenhagen has jazzed up with bright colors, flowers, strawberries or an animal motif. It's all too cheap to worry about whether or not any of it is in good taste, and that's the point. While our shopper likened it to Ikea, The Shophound was reminded of the kind of humble variety stores that have long since been obliterated existence by the Walmarts and Targets of the world —the kind of place you might go if you needed some paper napkins, wrapping paper, a stapler, some needles and thread and some notebook paper without having to go to more than one store. Flying Tiger seemed to us like the slightly tipsy version of such a long lost place, and judging from the long line of customers waiting to pay on a steamy Tuesday afternoon, plenty of other people have been enchanted by the store. Our shopper writes,

Flying Tiger is not a store for people who harbor any kind of consumption neurosis. It is a monument to the act of shopping as pure recreation, divorced from aim or object. Nothing in sight is something you need.

We would quibble with that last line.
While Flying Tiger is definitely a danger zone for compulsive buyers, need is a relative term. Nearly everything we saw had some practical function, even if it was all dolled up in colors imported from an 80s teen comedy. The trick is knowing the difference between something you could use with something you actually will use, and resisting the temptation to just buy it anyway because it's so freaking cheap that who cares anyway?.
Easier said than done.

Critical Shopper: Flying Tiger Copenhagen: Where All That Glitters Is … Glitter By Molly Young (NYTimes)
Flying Tiger Copenhagen 929 Broadway between 20th & 21st Streets, Flatiron District

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Rag & Bone vs. A J.Crew/Madewell Triple Header + Marchesa & More

The Madewell Sample Sale (pictured above) starts today at 151 Wooster St.

Basically, there are two big sales going on this week, and one of them is actually three.
Today is the launch of one of the most anticipated sales of every season, the J.CREW Sample Sale, or Sales, we should probably say. Its regular host, 260SampleSale has pulled out all the stops and distributed the company's various divisions over all of its current venues. Home base at 260 Fifth Avenue is the main women's J.Crew sale finally taking over the whole space including the Crewcuts children's line. Downtown in SoHo, the spacious 151 Wooster St. space will house the first ever stand-alone MADEWELL sale which should please the burgeoning chain's fans. Finally, around the corner, the J.CREW MEN'S sale will take over the newest space at 129 Prince Street which, it should be noted, is roomier and easier to shop than the space the men's sale used to use on Fifth Avenue and has the extra added bonus of three genuine built-in dressing rooms, which will help eliminate that pesky guessing game of sizes and cuts. This new arrangement should go a long way to alleviate the ridiculous line that generally forms for the sale's first day, We previewed the Madewell and Men's sales yesterday, and found what we generally find at these sales. We must always remind shoppers that the J.Crew Sample Sales are mostly actual production samples, and that means that sizing can be limited and somewhat inconsistent. The prices at about 60% off can also be not so far off what you can pay inside a regular J.Crew store right now, especially with the chain's promotional extra discounts. Still, the sale plus a crowd, and it's not unusual to find familiar items in alternate color ways. At the men's sale, we found the usual assortments, but there was an extra abundance of great bag samples that were extremely well priced if  a bit well-worn as well. The shoes looked good too, along with a lot of outerwear that is always tough to look at on a hit summer day. At Madewell there was lots of room, and lots of accessories in particular. items appeared to be arranged more by style than size, but with the 3-way location split, it might be the sleeper that is a little easier to get into and easier to shop. Have a look above and below at a few images from the sale before the crowds descended.

This week's other big event is the always anticipated RAG & BONE sale starting tomorrow, Wednesday at its regular Chelsea Market locale. Note that the preferred entrance is on 16th street, though the doors that lead inside the market are sometimes available. This is also one of the most popular and well-attended sales every season even though typically, the discount is similar to what one might find at Barney's on markdown this time of year. The difference is that, at times, the sample sale has offered a great abundance of merchandise. there's usually a lot of stuff here particularly in denim, knitwear and woven shirts, as well as accessories for men and women. While we don't yet know what this season's assortments will include, we have become accustomed to seeing a lot of it. Both J.Crew's and Rag & Bone's sales are scheduled through Sunday, and both are know to reduce prices toward the final days, so for some it's worth holding out for the weekend.

There are not a lot of other sales this week relative to earlier in the month, although, MARCHESA started its big sale on Monday at the Starrett-Lehigh building in West Chelsea.. While it is scheduled to run through tomorrow, reports have indicated such eager crowds that they might not have enough goods to last that long. If glamor and gowns are your thing, then get over there right away.

Another promising event to look out for is a mulit-brand sale at Bowery and Kenmore featuring an enviable quartet of labels including M. PATMOSTESS GIBERSONULLA JOHNSON and SURF BAZAAR. It runs from Wednesday through Friday and previews suggest reductions on some items as low as 90% off.

Next week's sale schedule has yet to take shape, but at the center will be the RALPH LAUREN HOME sale at the Altman building. Keep an eye on out SALE ROLL side bar at left for all the details, late breaking sales and any other updates.

6/23- The Shophound stopped by the Rag & Bone VIP Preview this afternoon, and can report that the men's selection is pretty thin. The discounts are about the same as last season, and so is a lot of the merchandise. The shoe offering, in particular, was much diminished compared to previous seasons. While we didn't go through it with a fine toothed comb, it looks like there is much more available on the women's side of the sale including shoes and accessories. It's possible that they were not completely finished setting up the sale, so it may look better when it opens officially tomorrow, but at least half of the sale looked somewhat disappointing this time around

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A look inside the Madewell Sample Sale
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Around the corner at the J.Crew Men's Sample Sale



Roger Vivier, Michael Bastian, TOMS, Bottega Veneta, Sigerson Morrison, Max Mara, Christian Louboutin, Brunello Cucinelli, DSquared2

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. Shop well!

Roger Vivier, T-Bags, Opening Ceremony, Michael Bastian, Ray-Ban, Loree RodkinJjewelry, Schutz, Current Elliott, Soo Ihn Kim Jewelry, Honeydew Intimates, Serena & Lily, Church's Shoes, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Tiger of Sweden, Yves Saint Laurent pour Homme, Swiss Legend, Altru, Mauviel, John Boos, Kyocera, Bread & Boxers —join HERE
Tommy Bahama, Joie, Safavieh Furniture & Rugs, Saint Laurent Eyewear, Boden, Lilla P, Shun Cutlery, Nautica, Jura-Capresso, Laundry by Shelli Segal, Lucky Brand, Lagos Jewelry —join HERE
TOMS, Cafebleu, 2(X)IST, Gant, Allen Edmonds, Jeremiah, Vintage 1946, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, James Jeans, Everleigh, TUMI, Max Mara, Sigerson Morrison, Jessica Simpson Swimwear,  PLENTY by Tracy Reese  —join HERE
Bootleg Veneta, Foley + Corrina, Christian Louboutin, Rivka Friedman Jewelry, Sigerson Morrison, Yuka Paris, Ben Sherman, Jan Leslie, Brunello Cucinelli, DSquared2, French Connection, Dolce & Gabbana, Mr. Turk, Mosmann Australia, Mezlan, Moncler, Jil Sander, Puma, Van Heusen, Robert Graham —join HERE


Anna Sui To Move Her SoHo Store

Anna Sui held a blowout archive sale last week, which can often signal some kind of big news. Band of Outsiders shut down right after its huge sample sale, but, luckily, Sui's sale was only a housecleaning in advance of a relocation next month to 484 Broome Street (pictured above)  between Wooster Street and West Broadway. According to WWD, Greene Street has gotten a bit too posh for the bohemian designer, "All the spaces are turning into very high-end luxury boutiques. It seems like all the cooler shops are moving south. I will certainly be closer there to other stores that also suit my customer.  The new location matches my sensibility and aesthetics much more." The 23-year old Greene Street store is expected to close early next month with the new boutique set to open a few weeks later in July.

Anna Sui Relocates SoHo Flagship (WWD)


Vera WangBattles Her SoHo Landlord

Inside the SoHo boutique Vera Wang may lose over a dispute with her landlord.

Retail real estate is renting at such high levels right now that it doesn't really matter if a landlord has a prestigious and desirable renter. Tenants who aren't paying optimum prices for leases in pricey neighborhoods are almost guaranteed to be pushed out including tony designers like Vera Wang, who has just sued the landlords of her Mercer Street boutique in SoHo (pictured left). Premier Equities purchased the retail condo of 158 Mercer Street earlier this year and promptly billed her for $272,000 in back taxes on her $45,920 monthly rent since her store opened in 2007. Wang contends that the previous owner covered the taxes, and the new owners simply want to oust her because she is paying around $220 per square foot while the average asking rate is now nearly $1,000 for a location like hers. While Wang's lease is up in 2016, she has the option to renew for five more years, which would make it a long wait for the owners to optimize their revenues from the building's retail space. How the case will shake out remains unclear, but it shows that landlords, particularly ones that have just taken over a property with existing clients, are becoming increasingly ruthless, even with presumably enviable clients.

Bridezilla: Vera Wang sues landlord to keep Soho lease (The Real Deal)