« November 2015 | Main | January 2016 »


Make It Depressing Edition

31CRIT-BROOKFIELD-PLACE-slide-UQ0P-jumboToday's Thursday Styles features steady Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica's take on the beginning of the retail cavalcade that has descended upon the neighborhood immediately surrounding the World Trade Center's memorial as well as its re-imagining still under construction.
And he's finding it all a bit jarring.
Rather than focusing on just one store, he takes on the entirety of the Brookfield Place luxury mall featuring fresh new outposts from Gucci, Ermenegildo Zegna, Bottega Veneta an more among its roster of international status brands. Our shopper's overall thesis this week is that we shop to forget —to anesthetize ourselves against the adversity we encounter in life. In this case, he is obviously making a reference to the tragedy of September 11, 2001 which haunts the financial district in general, and he is really giving in to the ghosts. Of the mall he says, "It is a testament to the resilience of our real estate developers, if not our national mood. Here, at the heart of the city’s suffering, we are being told to shop: To spend is to be healed."
Perhaps we are somehow protesting the specter of international terrorism down town with the kind of luxury and profligate consumption specifically abhorred by our jihadist enemies, but hey, it's New York. We're just being ourselves. By that token, we could argue that the city's sprawling shopping culture exists to distract us from so many of the more disturbing aspects of our city. After all, it's not that we have seen a homeless person or two on Fifth Avenue, but that any city resident has encountered so many in every neighborhood no matter how tony it may be, not to mention everywhere in the public transit system.
But back to today's column, where our shopper has faintly admiring words for the just opened Gucci shop at Brookfield Place. It is the first New York example of the label's new creative director Alessandro Michele's re-imagined retail format for the brand. It's not all that different from the old format which features lots of handbags up front with lots of logos and red and green striped webbing. It's a respectable update that nicely shows off Michele's relentlessly eclectic, dressed-in-the-dark Resort collection, but The Shophound has to admit that we have had a lot harder time working up enthusiasm for a designer who thinks that putting a high, chunky heel on a gold leather version of you grandmother's house slippers makes than somehow appealing.
It does not.
Caramanaica calls the lineup of stores at Brookfield Place "shrug worthy" and it's true in the sense that it appears to includes not a single boutique that doesn't exist somewhere else in Manhattan in a larger and more comprehensive version. Perhaps it is the relentless retail drumbeat of the Holiday Shopping season combined with this year's weirdly balmy Holiday Season that has put his mood off, but still, he doesn't leave empty-handed. Our shopper remembers his professional purpose and picks up a smart overcoat at nearly 60% off from Club Monaco along with a bracing scented candle from Nest.

They all smelled the same until finally I landed on one — Sicilian tangerine — that was almost acidic. It had bite, the scent creeping up my nostrils and scraping away. Instinctively, I winced, but at the same time began to salivate. For a moment, death felt far away.

It's tough to stay down on shopping when it is an explicit part of one's work assignment. The choices are to rally or resign, but everyone is entitled to a case of the Holiday Blues once in a while. Like the neighborhood around Ground Zero, however, one eventually has to pick oneself up and carry on.

Critical Shoper: Shop the Pain Away By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Brookfield Place New York 200 Vesey St at West Street, Financial District


One More Saks Off 5th Is Coming
—To Brooklyn

That makes three.
2016 is looking to be a big year for the Saks Off 5th outlet chain as three locations are set to open in New York City where previously there have been exactly none. In fairness, it is only in recent years that luxury department stores like Saks Fifth Avenue have been comfortable placing their outlet division stores close enough to their full line stores to allow them to exist in New York City at all. With Off 5th stores scheduled to open in the Financial District and on East 57th street next year, the Commercial Observer is now confirming that parent company Hudson's Bay Co. has signed on for a third 30,000 square foot unit at the Liberty View Industrial Plaza in Brooklyn's Sunset Plaza neighborhood (lobby rendering pictured above). The store will be on the massive complex's ground floor with a prominent entrance, and is expected to open some time between Summer and Fall of 2016. Just above it will be the already announced Bed Bath & Beyond complex including flagship sized unites of each of its divisions including the namesake chain, Buy Buy Baby, Cost Plus World Market and Harmon Face Values.

Brooklyn Really Is Getting a Saks Off Fifth as Hudson’s Bay Signs Sunset Park Deal (Commercial Observer)


Burberry, Buccellati, Adidas, Tracy Reese, Miu Miu, Kate Spade, Belstaff, Hardy Amies, Michael Kors & More

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. Like every other retailer, the flash sale sites are pushing end-of-season clearance, so there are fewer single designer sales and more category oriented ones. Still, Rue La La is promising Spring 2016 merchandise in its Burberry sales on Monday, so don't assume you are getting last season's goods.
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!

Buccellati, Bettye Muller, Calvin Klein Underwear, Siwy Denim, GHD, Femme Lingerie, Fuzzi, Belstaff, Rapport Watch Accessories, Gloverall Coats, Hardy Amies, Muttonhead, Missoni, Shark, Matteo Bedding —join HERE
Rossignol, Gypsy 05, Burberry, Bulova, Carolinna Espinosa, BluePrint Cleanse, Kenneth Jay Lane, Aquatalia, Trina Turk, Tory Burch, The Honest Company, Merrell, Michael Stars, Yumi Kim, Kate Spade, Joie, Pannier des Sens —join HERE
Enzo Angiolini, BCBGeneration, CHARLES by Charles David, Christian Dior, CARLOS by Carlos Santana, T Tahari —join HERE
True Religion, Jeffrey Campbell, Shades of Grey, Ganesh, Creative Recreation, Romeo & Juliet Couture, Adidas, Kenneth Cole, VC Signature, Muubaa, MiH, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, Tracy Reese, Snowman Outerwear, EMU Australia, Spaio Thermal Active, Cougar Boots —join HERE
Alexander McQueen, Miu Miu, Geox, Portolano, Sofia Cashmere, MICHAEL Michael Kors, Ben Sherman, London Fog, Breda Watches, JKT, A. Testoni, Grayers, We Are Massiv, Bobby Jones —join HERE


Adidas Finds A Fifth Avenue Spot For Its North American Flagship

Though it appears to have converted the entire city to Stan Smith and Superstar devotees in the past year, sneaker giant Adidas has been playing a catch-up game on the retail front in New York City. Since Niketown landed on East 57th Street, its arch-rival has been carefully colonizing the city with a more exclusive Sportswear store, an even more exclusive appointment only Fitness studio and Nike Running stores around the city, along with various pop-ups when appropriate. Adidas, however has contented itself with an Originals store on Wooster Street (soon to move to new digs on Spring Street) and a brand flagship not far away at Broadway and Houston Street. Things will change, however, in about a year when, according to the Observer, the brand finally ventures north to Midtown to unveil a 34,000 square foot North American Flagship store on the corner of Fifth Avenue and 46th Street. Once an HMV superstore (remember those?), and most recently a Build-a-Bear Workshop, the store will be twice the size of the current Broadway store across three floors, but more importantly, it will be better positioned to capture all that precious tourist traffic. It is projected to open in late 2016, by which time, the once moribund stretch of Fifth Avenue between 42nd and 49th Street will be even further along in its ongoing upgrade from second string location to a Varsity-level retail mix.

Adidas Nabs 34K-SF East Midtown Space for New North American Flagship (Commercial Observer)


Carine Roitfeld's Uniqlo Collection Returns In February

As we have mentioned before, Uniqlo has been hitting home runs with its designer collaborations lately, and it seems like the chain is moving away from the one-and-done model of other fast fashion companies in favor of continuing team-ups over several seasons. First at bat for 2016 is celebrity editor Carine Roitfeld with the second installment of her (hopefully ongoing) collaboration. There are no big surprises in store, just more of the kind of thing that sold out in minutes the last time around, so look for more pencil skirts and sharply tailored jackets, slim reefer coats and sexy tops. There are now more variations on camouflage prints, a new skirt with a flirty bias ruffle for just a bit of frill, and several versions of the zippered flight jacket that has taken street style stars by storm this season. The still from the promotional video above is the only look we have seen on a model so far. Sexy seamed hosiery, scarves and bags round out the selection which should easily have Roitfeld's fans old and new lining up on February 11th when the collection hits stores. See after the jump for the all-too brief video that Harper's Bazaar just released, and a look at some selected items from the collection


Carine Roitfeld's Uniqlo Collection Returns In February" »


Garrett Leight's California Sunnies Come To SoHo

Independent Los Angeles eyewear designer Garrett Leight is making the leap from insider cut brand to major player with his first East Coast GLCO (Garrett Leight California Optical) boutique on Grand Street in SoHo opened earlier this month. Leight (son of Oliver Peoples chief Larry Leight) started his namesake line only four years ago to add looks he found lacking in the offerings at his own optical shop in Venice, California, and it was rapidly picked up at prestigious retailers around the country and the world. Admired for sleek interpretations of classic eyeglass shapes in innovative materials, Leight's brand lives in a airy environment with a similarly modern ambiance. As in his Los Angeles shops, frames are displayed on grooved wooden fixtures that wrap around the corners of the white space. A listening station with curated musical offerings (on vinyl, of course) adds to the laid back, West Coast vibe as does the planting box lush with cacti and succulents near the entrance. Further back, customers will find a Modshop wall that allows them to customize frames including a special limited edition style in honor of the new store called, appropriately, the New York #1 available only in the one store and online.

GLCO Garrett Leight California Optical now open at 149 Grand Street Between Crosby & Lafayette Streets, SoHo
Have a look inside the new store after the jump

Continue reading "WINTER SHADES:

Garrett Leight's California Sunnies Come To SoHo" »


Melissa McCarthy, Michael Bastian, Burberry, Gant, Mikimoto, Valentino, Canada Goose, Le Sportsac, Prada, Lafayette 148

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!

Missoni, Tahari, Canada Goose, ZAC Zac Posen, Mikimoto, BCBGeneration, ASH Accessories, Marco Bicego, Bibhu Mohapatra, Tocca, Ingrid & Isabel, J Shoes, Michael Bastian, Luciano Barbera, Slate & Stone, Happy Socks, Fissler, Gucci —join HERE
Prada, Lafayette 148, Bettye Buller, Daniel Wellington Watches, Aquaswiss, Sorel, Cinzia Rocca, Stuhrling Watches, Damiani, Hervé Chapelier, Magaschoni, Loie, Cynthia Rowley, Hanna Andersson Kids, Baroni Jewelry, Taryn Rose, Anne Klein, Cutter & Buck, Fortis Watches, Puma  —join HERE
Burberry, Carmen Marc Valvo, Cosabella, Melissa McCarthy, Splendid, Seychelles, Clarins, Sue Wong —join HERE
Gant, La Femme, Dolce Vita, Rush by Gordon Rush, Pam & Gela, Level 99, Vince Camuto, Vivienne Tam, LoveRiche, Michael Stars, Black Orchid, Donald J Pliner, Lipsy London, Vertigo,   —join HERE
Ronny Kobo, Only Hearts, Borghese, Valentino, Yigal Azrouël, Le Sportsac, Zelda, French Connection, Ben Sherman, Bobby Jones, Gucci Watches, Ermenegildo Zegna, Natori, Chanel Sunglasses, Tretorn, TUMI Outerwear, Kinetix, John Varvatos, Nat Nast, John Varvatos, Calvin Klein, Salvatore Ferragamo —join HERE


Fashion Week Is Falling Apart Again, But It's OK Because Tom Ford Is Coming Back!

Now that it has abandoned its unloved tent complex at Lincoln Center for some alarmingly stark quarters in SoHo and the glacially developing Moynihan Station in Midtown, the future of New York Fashion Week still seems to be in question. The CFDA has retained Boston Consulting Group to conduct a multi-week study to determine how designers should proceed with their seasonal runway shows in the future. With Thakoon's new owners promising to upend the runway system to provide a stronger buy-now wear-now business plan and  Rebecca Minkoff promising to put on an in-season show of her Spring 2016 collection this February (does that mean she is going to re-show the collection she already presented last September?) and replace some editors and press in the audience with customers, Designers are once again questioning the wisdom of heavily publicizing their newest collections online and through social media half a year before anyone can actually buy anything. Retailers and designers are again offering opinions, without seeming to realize that if they turned fashion week into a series of buy-now promotional events, they would have to the put on some other kinds of presentations for the next season for retailers and editors who still need long lead times to fill their stores and shoot their stories. European designers -for whom live streaming runway shows to anyone with a high-speed internet connection is far more prevalent- seem to have looked in the direction of New York to basically say, "Let us know how that goes. We're going to keep doing things the way we always have".
While New York's designers quibble about what to put on runways —their main concern seems to be keeping their collections under wraps to avoid fast-fashion copyists— one expat has announced that he will be returning to show his Fall 2016 collections for men and women in New York. Yes, Tom Ford, who has been bending the fashion system to his fit his own needs for the past two seasons, has announced that he will be doing small presentations in New York on February 18th to buyers and press rather than showing in Milan or London where he has been showing in the past. Ford has been busy moonlighting on his next movie which is why last Spring he debuted his Fall 2015 collection with a star-studded show in Los Angeles during Oscar week, and stayed off the runways altogether for his Spring 2016 collection by releasing a secretly produced virtual runway show/disco party/music video starring Lady Gaga which was a hell of a lot more entertaining than a good portion of the runway shows that The Shophound has ever attended (we have embedded it below again because it is still just so much fun to watch). For the past two seasons, Ford has proved that he has enough clout and control over his wholly owned business to basically do whatever he wants for fashion week, but like Givenchy's visit to New York last September, you can now count on Ford's intimate showings in February to be the hottest ticket that will overshadow everyone else. Perhaps he is telling us that the way to win Fashion Week is to be bold and show however you want wherever it suits you. Who will have the guts to follow his lead?

Tom Ford to Show Women’s Wear, Men’s Wear in New York in February (WWD)


Don't Be Tempted to Give These Christmas Gifts —That Nobody Actually Wants

Holiday gift shopping can be a challenge, but you have to stay focused, and don't go on autopilot by just buying the obvious choices to get it all done. Here ore some over-promoted "gift" ideas you should really avoid —especially off you count on getting something nice in return.

Check out Save Your Cash, Because Men Hate These Christmas Gifts

by Dan Bergstein at Mode


Uniqlo And Lemaire's Sellout Sweaters Are Back For The Holidays

The folks at Uniqlo promised that they would have replenishments of their popular Lemaire collaboration in stores for the Holiday season, and yesterday, they made good as some key knitwear pieces from the line appeared at the chain's Fifth Avenue flagship (as pictured above) and on Uniqlo.com. Sadly, even a fast fashion giant couldn't turn around a reorder of the entire collection on such short notice, but the fast selling sweaters were able to be produced in time. Five women's styles, the Cashmere Blended Cropped Sweater, the Cashmere Blended Square Sweater, the Flare V-Neck Sweater the Milano Rib Long Sleeved jacket and the Milano Rib Skirt, and two for men, the Merino Blended Mock Neck Sweater and the Knit Jacket are all available again in multiple colors for however long they last. While the collection was an unqualified success, there are a few items still hanging around in abundance from the initial delivery including Both men's and women's outerwear and the heavy wool and cashmere trousers for men which with no help from the unusually warm season, seemed to have missed their connections with eager customers. They are on sale, now for anyone holding out hope that freezing Winter temperatures are just around the corner, or maybe the next corner. That should be enough to hold Lemaire fans over for the next few months before a new season of the likely to be ongoing collaboration arrives in Uniqlo stores for the Spring.