Does Hermès Herald A Luxury Revival In The Meatpacking District?

Image: Google Maps

The Meatpacking District may be entering its fourth phase (or fifth —who can keep track anymore?) as the most exclusive of luxury brands, Hermès, has announced its fourth New York City boutique will open at 46-48 Gansevoort Street (pictured above). The three level 10,000 square foot boutique will be only a short stroll away from the recently relocated Whitney Museum which may be beginning to live up to the expectations that it would revive the neighborhood as a destination for major shopping. While a decade ago, the neighborhood boasted Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Moschino boutiques, much of the neighborhood's luxury gloss faded when those stores moved either to SoHo or Madison Avenue. Last year's shuttering of upper contemporary chain Scoop NYC also drained some of the area's fashion juice as retail spaces gave way to less exclusive names like Levi's, Patagonia and UGG. Still, tony pioneer Jeffrey remains in place as other retailers have come and gone, and Diane Von Furstenberg is not likely to go anywhere anytime soon, so the neighborhood has not been given over completely to mall stores. It has become something of a destination, however for non-retail "brand experience" spaces like the Samsung 837 tech showplace and the upcoming "Intersect" from Lexus which will include a gallery and restaurant under the nameplate of an automaker. Well, at least it is a luxury automaker, which points to a renewed upscale direction for the areas with Hermès being the first full-on luxury player to enter the neighborhood since the relocation of the Whitney. Other upcoming arrivals will include the return of the sorely-missed Pastis restaurant which will be conveniently down the block in the former Gansevoort Market space. Area merchants are also looking to the eventual opening of the Restoration Hardware RH Gallery mega-store on Ninth Avenue to give the area a boost of retail excitement.
As for Hermès, the upcoming store is promised to be more casual than the Madison Avenue flagship and Wall Street units, and certainly larger than the Brookfield Place store which is mostly limited to fragrance and scarves. Plans include a rooftop terrace to attract both current and new customers, and impart a "downtown" ambiance to the store. Now we have to wait and see if the other luxury players who have sniffed around the Meatpacking District on and off over the past 15 years will follow Hermès and take the plunge themselves.



Hermès, A.P.C., Vivienne Westwood & Another James Perse Redux Lead A Packed Sale Week

It's an unseasonably warm mid-October, which is just about the time that tha Fall Sample Sale Season kicks things up a few notches. Designers are starting to ship Holiday/Pre-Spring, and it's time to start shedding overstock and old samples, so every sale venue booked.

Earlier this week, JAMES PERSE kicked off another of his ever more frequent sample sales and ELIE TAHARI opened his midtown showroom for a seasonal blowout, both running through Saturday the 22nd.

Today, BONPOINT returns to the Metropolitan Pavilion with discounts on its collections of luxury apparel for precious little ones and babies for two days only. For those looking for French clothes for grown-ups, A.P.C. has set up an overstock sale through Sunday the 23rd at its overstock location in Williamsburg, so get there early if you want to snag the best items. The more athletically minded will be heading to SoHo for SOUL CYCLE's Warehouse sale featuring performance workout gear whether you are toiling on a stationery bike or elsewhere.

KIMORA LEE SIMMONS made her name on the runways and then as the designer for flashy Baby Phat, but her current signature collection is much more grown-up and sophisticated, which you will see at her two-day sample sale launching on Thursday the 20th in NoMad. Avant Garde Icon VIVIENNE WESTWOOD's four-day seasonal blowout also begins on Thursday in Midtown. Look for all of the designer's newly streamlined product lines for men and women through the weekend.

On Friday the 21st, sporty gentlemen will be heading to SoHo for the seasonal GILDED AGE sale running through next Tuesday. Those who have planned ahead and bought tickets will be heading to Chelsea's Altman building where the GILT CITY
Warehouse Sale
is making a more convenient return after its Sunset Park outing a few weeks ago in Brooklyn. Check for available spots left in this timed entry event.

Finally, a word about the week's big heavy hitter.
The now infamous HERMÈS sale returns to Soiffer Haskin's West Midtown location for the first time since it caused lines of shoppers to line up around several city blocks without even getting a chance to get inside at all. We don't know if Soiffer Haskin has devised a new protocol to make sure that potential shoppers don't waste their days hoping to be let inside, but we might warn eager Hermès shoppers to proceed with caution when it comes to this enticing event. This is the time when one must decide whether it is worth it to spend a day waiting on a sidewalk to buy some discounted luxury merchandise that will, in all likelihood, still be really, really expensive. It's worth noting that, as always, the brand's iconic items, Birkins, Kelly's etc., are never included at this sale. Shop at your own risk through Sunday.

Next week, things heat up further with The Row, Oscar de la Renta and more. Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for all details and late breaking events.


Yesterday's Hermès Sale Line Was A Disaster

By all reports, the line to get into yesterday's Hermès sale at Soiffer Haskin on West 33rd Street was an unmitigated disaster.
In case you were wondering what people will endure to get a reported 60% off the retail price of an Hermès silk scarf or tie or enameled bracelet, it appears that they will endure a line that reportedly extended down 33rd Street all the way to Ninth Avenue, and downtown as far as 31st Street. The first people to get in were in line —or apparently hired people to wait in line for them— at 1 AM on Thursday. As the day wore on, people waited and waited and waited as the line inched forward at a glacial pace, and as late afternoon approached, it was made clear to hundreds of people still on the sidewalk, most of whom had been there for as long as six or seven hours, that there was no possible way they would get inside the sale before it closed at 7 PM.
They were not happy.
We have seen various reports of tears and tantrums, and by anyone's standards, it sounds like it was an ugly scene.
Why was it such a mess? Reports have the staff at Soiffer Haskin letting in a meager number of shoppers inside at a time, and once inside, those shoppers were in no hurry to exit before they scoured every table, rack and shelf to make sure that they weren't missing out on a fabulous hidden find. Normally, this venue is a paragon of efficiency and security with strict coat and bag checks and rules against strollers and bringing children. It is spacious, well furnished and well attended. That is why it is the location of choice to the most exclusive luxury brands when they need to schedule a sample sale, but perhaps, seeing the magnitude of the line, they were perhaps a little bit too cautious in limiting the number of shoppers to avoid the kind of competitive grabbing and elbow throwing that can arise at such sales.
Adding to the anger was the fact that many eager shoppers had saved up funds and waited months for the sale, with many taking time off from work or using vacation days to make sure that they would be able to have a special piece of Hermès by the end of the day. Many would not have the opportunity to return the next day to try again.
Clearly, Soiffer Haskin was taken by surprise yesterday. They have held many Hermès sales in seasons past with many long lines of early rising customers, but we have never heard of anything like this. Why was there such a strong turnout this year? Who knows? From what we have heard, the offerings were not any better than they have been at past sales. Perhaps the people who would normally see the long line and think, "Forget it. No way am I standing in that line for hours," decided to queue up instead of walking away, but the lesson here might be: Instead of spending an entire day waiting for the chance to maybe find something you like at a discount, cut your losses and move on. When they say you have to suffer for fashion, this is not what they mean.

I Waited in That Ridiculous Hermès Sample Sale Line for Eight Hours (Racked NY)
*SAMPLE SALE* Code: Orange (Mizhattan)
Skip the Hermes Sample Sale (Madison Avenue Spy)


The Hermès Sale Arrives Along With A Rare Duckie Brown Sale + 3.1 Phillip Lim, The Row & More

It's the middle of October, and true to form, the Sample Sale Season is revving up right on schedule.
There are 17 samples sales listed on our SALE ROLL at left just for this week alone, and that's only our own curated list, not to mention the ones that are likely to emerge at the last minute before the end of the week —and the names are big.

Already this week, NICHOLAS KIRKWOOD launched his sale downtown at C21 Edition yesterday morning featuring 70% off his extravagant women's shoes. Last season's event was warmly received, and it looks like shoppers may have to get used to lining up outside of Century 21 as it has become an increasingly popular venue for prestige sample sales. It is scheduled to run through Thursday which is when things really heat up this week, but first...

3.1 PHILLIP LIM is launching a four-day sale on Wooster Street in SoHo this afternoon, on the 20th. All of Lim's product lines, Men's and Women's ready-to-wear, shoes, accessories and handbags, are promised at "far below retail" prices. We don't know exactly what the discounts are yet, but as it is a 260SampleSale event, the likelihood of prices dropping before it ends on Friday is high.

And further uptown at the 260 Fifth Avenue home base, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen kick off the first of their double header this week as the ELIZABETH and JAMES sale starts today featuring 75% off  retail prices of contemporary apparel including samples and stock as well as jewelry, accessories and eyewear.

Wednesday brings a sample sale we don't hear about every season from French sportswear fave AGNÈS B. Think of her as the chic precursor to popular Parisian labels like The Kooples, Sandro or Maje. Known for classic basics, this sale is expected to offer a whopping 85% off Men's and Women's apparel, shoes and accessories. As a cross generational favorite, we are expecting lines on her block tomorrow in SoHo.

Thursday is the week's power day starting off with the overwhelming draw, the three-day HERMÈS sale at Soiffer Haskin. This is always an unpredictable sale which can be either a bonanza or a bitter disappointment for shoppers. Scarves, jewelry and neckties are the most wanted items, and there is no telling how much if any of them there will be. You won't find signature items like Birkin or Kelly bags, but rather apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women from seasonal collections which, even at a deep discount, can be major investments given Hermès' steep starting prices. Still, the faithful Hermès sale shoppers will be there in droves in the early AM on Thursday, so if you are serious, then you should expect to join them then.

The Olsen's second act this week also hits on Thursday at the Metropolitan Pavilion when their flagship line THE ROW begins its three-day sale. While the collection is minimally advertised and promoted, The Row is a sleeper with a huge following, particularly in New York at 70% off, so, again, be prepared for crowds, but since the sale starts at noon on Thursday, eager shoppers won't have to be up quite at the crack of dawn for a good place in line —which is not to say one should dawdle, however.

Finally, menswear mavens will be headed to West 13th Street on Saturday and Sunday for a rare sample sale from DUCKIE BROWN. This label is an insider favorite that has been a longtime standard-bearer for adventurous men's clothing in New York. The collection has never been hugely commercial, but its fans are devout, and a popular shoe line in recent years has only raised its profile. Designers Daniel Silver and Steven Cox only open up their showroom occasionally —this is only their sixth sample sale in 15 years— so it is something of an event featuring samples from the past several seasons including apparel from their recently debuted women's line. Since this one is actually in their studio, it is the most intimate sale this week, and the only one offering a good chance to cross paths with the designers themselves.

That's not even the whole list. There are are also popular events coming from DESIGUALKAY UNGERELIE TAHARIJOHN ROBSHAWBETSEY JOHNSON and VIVIENNE WESTWOOD to name just a few more, so pace yourselves. There's a lot of ground to cover this week, but for everyone who has been holding out for when the really good sales to arrive, it's now time to start shopping. As always, find the details and updated  information on our SALE ROLL at left.


APPLE WATCH Meets HERMÈS For Its First Collaboration — Updated With Details

's new product announcement event is still going on as we type this, but the biggest fashion news for the tech giant was pushed to the front of the agenda as its first Apple Watch collaboration was announced with none other than the most luxe of the luxe, Hermès.
Is that exclusive enough for you?
This was a development that was conspicuously not bandied about by the tech blogs which have been breathlessly reporting on rumored product developments for the past few weeks (giant iPad Pro with high tech pencil stylus confirmed), so it was a genuine surprise.
The Apple Watch Hermès will be available in October at select retailers. it comes with a classic single strap, signature double tour (see image above) or wider cuff strap, all with a customized Hermès watch face. Perhaps this is the push that was needed to get the Apple Watch into real luxury players like Barneys and Neiman Marcus. So far we have no price info yet for the watches, but stay tuned. We will update as soon as more information is released.

Now that Apple has updated the Apple Watch page, we can offer some more specific details about the new collaboration.
For starters, these are emphatically not separate bands for individual purchase as has been reported by some outlets, but only sold with Apple Watches in polished stainless steel and a custom Hermès face that will only be available on these models. Here are the prices for the three styles:

Double Tour in 38mm with four band colors: Fauve, Etain, Capucine, and Bleu Jean
- $1,250
Single Tour in 38 or 42mm with Fauve or Noir bands. Capucine band only in 38mm
- $1,100 and up
Cuff in 42mm with a Fauve band
- $1,500

The Cuff style has a cut-out in the back of the watch to allow the heart rate sensor to be in contact with the wrist. So far, we do not know if versions of the band can also be purchased with the gold Apple Watch Edition, but it is not listed as an option on the site.
As for stores that will be carrying the watch next month, there are only 17 North American retail outlets listed including Apple Stores in Eaton Center and Yorkdale in Toronto, Aventura and Miami Beach in Florida, The Grove in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Hermès boutiques to be selling the watch include Beverly Hills, Miami and San Francisco. The only third party retailer listed so far is Maxfield in Los Angeles. In New York, the watches will be available only at Hermès on Madison Avenue and the Apple Stores on Fifth Avenue, Prince Street in SoHo and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

After the jump, click to enlarge some official images of the three styles


Continue reading "WATCH WATCH:

APPLE WATCH Meets HERMÈS For Its First Collaboration — Updated With Details" »


Hermès Is Politely Feuding With The Birkin Bag's Namesake

Hermes-birkinWhat do you do when the person whom you have named your most famous product after slams you in the press?
This week, actress Jane Birkin caused a fashion scandal by publicly asking Hermès to remove her name from the crocodile version of its signature Birkin bag after having seen a video produced by People For The Ethical Treatment of Animals that detailed brutal slaughtering and skinning methods of alligators and crocodiles. It appears that Birkin would like for her name to remain on the other versions of the famous handbag, but be removed from the luxury crocodile version (pictured at left) which can cost tens of thousands of dollars.
In a response statement issued today, Hermès International states, “Jane Birkin has expressed her concerns regarding practices for slaughtering crocodiles. Her comments do not in any way influence the friendship and confidence that we have shared for many years. Hermès respects and shares her emotions and was also shocked by the images recently broadcast.”
While it declined to rename any of its products, the French luxury label stated that the farm depicted in the video is not one of its suppliers and is also under investigation for violating approved slaughter methods for alligators and crocodiles, whose use has been highly regulated since being removed from the endangered species list decades ago. The company indicated that not only does it meticulously follow established rules and regulations in acquiring animal skins for its products, it also visits its suppliers on a monthly basis to ensure that standards are being upheld.
Ultimately, this is a case of PETA attacking a famous animal product using brand and taking advantage of a celebrity connection for extra publicity. The advocacy group is famous for showing grisly videos of animal abuse and slaughter to gather support for its cause, but it may now be better understood that one cruel and abusive factory does not accurately represent an entire industry. Hermès like many other famous companies focused on leathergoods (Fendi, Gucci, Louis Vuitton etc.) has probably become used to attacks from PETA and other similar groups and appears unfazed. Where Jane Birkin will ultimately fall on the dispute remains to be seen, but while PETA has gotten a few days of publicity out of the deal, it seems unlikely that anything will change at Hermès.

Hermès Responds to Jane Birkin Appeal (WWD)


A Cavalcade Of Sales Starring HERMÈS
The Row, David Yurman, Vivienne Westwood, Duckie Brown & More

We are in one of those big sample sale weeks that will have eager bargain hunters getting up early and lining up on sidewalks all over Manhattan, so brace yourselvs and plan carefully.Every single prominent sample sale facility has a major sela this week. The big star this week is the HERMÈS sale which starts this Thursday the 23rd at Soiffer Haskin on Weest 33rd Street. This one is always a draw for obvious reasons, and is the pinnacle of sale shopping for the faithful followers of the exclusive French luxury brand. Past seasons have been a mixed bag for shoppers hoping to stock up on scarves or ties. Sometimes the selection is abundant, sometimes it is nonexistent. It's always kind of a crapshoot in that respect. Veterans know better than to expect to find a Kelly or Birkin bag, but one will find seasonal apparel and shoes for women and men as well as selected accessory items which may or may not include silks. Usually the discount is around 50% off, which, considering Hermès' regular price points, can still mean prices that are generally staggering. Prepare to check everything but the clothes on your back at the door.

But that's not all that's happening this week. There are two popular jewelry brands holding sales this week with JOHN HARDY setting up shop on Tuesday the 21st only at the Westin Times Square Hotel, and DAVID YURMAN returning to The Altman Building in Chelsea for four days starting on Thursday the 23rd with his seasonal blowout.

Looking for Vintage? WHAT GOES AROUND COMES AROUND will be at 225 Fifth Avenue starting on Tuesday through the weekend offering deep discounts from its warehouse collection of vintage designer clothes and accessories. They are promising nearly every covetable designer label including Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, Céline, Balenciaga, Fendi and more. The dealer's non-vintage private label line will be on sale as well along with leather and fur outerwear.

Perhaps you are looking for something more casual. CLUB MONACO opened yesterday and will be at Clothingline's Garment District facility through Friday featuring an abundance of samples and stock on sale including apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women. Starting today, JAMES PERSE will hold his seasonal sale at 260 Fifth Avenue featuring rack after rack of his popular T-shirts and relaxed sportswear for men and women including the Yosemite collection.

Is more refined fashion fare more your thing? Wednesday the 22nd brings pioneering British designer VIVIENNE WESTWOOD back to the Garment District with savings on her men's and women's collections including apparel, accessories, handbags and shoes. We do not expect to see any of Pharrell's oversized "Buffalo Gals" hats there, but you never know. For more understated but extra luxurious fare, Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen will be holding another sample sale for THE ROW at the Metropolitan Pavilion. Up to 85% off retail prices is the promised discount on clothes and accessories starting on Thursday the 23rd.

Looking for menswear? Denim and Sportswear label GILDED AGE will be on sale in SoHo starting on Thursday, and for the more adventurous guy DUCKIE BROWN will be holding a rare VIP Sample Sale on Saturday and Sunday in its Meatpacking District showroom which promises items from the Fall 2014 and previous season's collections as well as one-of-a-kind archive pieces and a $20 bin.

And there's plenty more including Italian luxury bed and bath from SFERRA at Chelsea Market, luxury baby and kids clothes from BONPOINT, contemporary sportswear from RAMY BROOKHUNTER BELL and MARISSA WEBB plus more. Be sure to check out SALE ROLL sidebar at left for details and late breaking sales.


How Beverly Hills Ruined
New York's Hermès Sale

RACKED-HermesBHSaleThe scandal of the week is that the offerings at the big Hermès Sale have fallen far short of reasonable expectations, even as eager shoppers and fans lined up for hours in the early morning to get first crack at the otherwise rarely reduced handbags, scarves, ties and other items that failed to materialize. Hermès business has been booming for the past couple of years, which usually means a greater production level and ultimately, more abundance when it comes to clearance and sample sales, but not this season for some reason.
The Madison Avenue Spy seems to have gotten to the bottom of this mystery, and offers a warning for future events. It seems that in advance of unveiling its newly renovated Beverly Hills flagship, the folks at Hermès decided to collect all the overstock and past season goods from their North American stores and hold a huge blowout sale in Los Angeles last month that included all the stuff that shoppers were expecting to find at the sale that opened here this week.
Of all the nerve!
According to reports from Racked L.A., it was total pandemonium as shoppers devoured all of the bags, scarves, ties, enameled jewelry and fragrance available. None were left when it was time for the sale here, what there was had already been pretty picked over, and thus the offerings this week have been disappointing at best. It was bad enough when we had to start sharing the old Barneys Warehouse Sale with L.A., but now this?

Will next season bring a return to the kind of Hermès sale that shoppers have come to expect? Hard to say, but the M.A.Spy tells us that the store in Houston, another major location for the brand, is getting ready for a big relocation. If Hermès has decided to use its big sale as a traveling show to help promote new stores and renovations, then the big clearance events that New Yorkers now feel entitled to (and obviously deserve!) may be a thing of the past.

Why the Hermès Sale Was a Bust (Madison Avenue Spy)
The Hermès Beverly Hills Sale is a Glorious Madhouse (Racked L.A.)

Hermès Picks Madison Avenue
For Its First Men's Store

Hermesnecktie_2 Hermès has announced that they will be opening their first store for men this fall right across the street from their Madison Avenue flagship on the corner of 62nd Street. The 6,000 square foot store will include an entire floor devoted custom and and made-to-measure services. According to DNR, 45% of Hermès' business comes form men's merchandise (the vast majority of which we are betting comes from neckties). The last time we checked, that spot was occupied by Luca Luca, but we will have to check again to see what is being displaced to make room for the luxury giant.
Hermes to Open Men’s Store (DNR)

Sample Sale Report: Hermès At 60% Off Is Still Insanely Expensive!


The sample sales are coming fast and furious as the summer closes. This week brought the heavy hitters like Prada, Intermix's combat shopping excercise and, of course, the continuing Barneys Warehouse Sale. We hear that the Jimmy Choo sale was a nightmare of waiting and line cutting, and we simply didn't have the patience to wait on the sidewalk for Mulberry's sale. We did manage to catch the Hermès sale yesterday with mixed results. First, the pluses. The pristine white loft in the Metropolitan Pavilion serves as pleasant backdrop for Hermès' relatively neat racks and shelves. We had to wait only for the elevator and a fast bag-check line. There was still plenty of stuff around midway through day #2. The sale was actually staffed with salespeople to assist you, and individual tents in signature orange served as changing rooms at the back of the sale, thus avoiding the undignified sample sale strip.
Now the minuses. Here's the obvious one: Hermès is so expensive that even at a huge discount, the stuff is still astonishingly costly. A $6,500 coat would still be a whopping $2,000 at least. As usual for these types of things, the age of some of the goods appeared questionable.
It must be noted that if you are expecting to score a Birkin or Kelly bag, don't waste your time. The bag selection consisted almost entirely of variations on the L.L.Bean canvas tote.

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