There Are A Lot Of Empty Stores On 14th Street In The Meatpacking District

Oh, what has happened to Manhattan most fashionable shopping strip?
Have the high end consumers of the world moved on? The Meatpacking District is in the middle of a particularly painful phase of its evolution that comes just after the point where its cachet peaks and the retail rents spike, ejecting many of the same stores that made it desirable before there are enough new tenants with deeper pockets to fill in the empty space. Some major departures have been quickly replaced. Stella McCartney's store immediately got split upon her departure between contemporary brands Joie and Alice + Olivia, and Moschino's former digs are currently being transformed for The Kooples, but Alexander McQueen, Puma, Matthew Williamson, DDCLab, Design Within Reach and Krizia have all left holes in the retail-scape that have yet to be filled despite some long stretches of vacancy. In addition, there are new spaces just to the right of the former Krizia store that fall under the HighLine and appear to be a something of a challenge to lease. Want more? The former gas station at the corner of 14th and 10th Avenue is being redeveloped into, yes, more retail space. Some of the departed stores had their own troubles that may have had nothing to do with rent hikes, od course. Krizia looked pretty shaky from the start, for example, but what will it mean for what only a couple of seasons ago looked like the most sought-after location in the city? It's going to take a few seasons at least to fill up those empty 14th Street storefronts, and who is going to shell out the now increased rate to move in? Are we just a few seasons away from Gap and Banana Republic moving in to make the Meatpacking District just another destination for mall-store shopping?


Tracy Reese Shutters Her West Village Flagship & Hunts For A New One

RACKED_TracyReeseFLOTUS Favorite designer Tracy Reese closed her Hudson Street flagship boutique last weekend, according to our friends at Racked, and it doesn't look like it was her choice. Rent hikes are a safe bet to blame for the abrupt end of her 10-year run at the location, not unlike what has happened recently to many non-chain stores in the Village and Chelsea. 10 years is a nice run for such a store but also a standard length for retail leases. Something clearly stood in the way of a smooth renewal. Though the closing doesn't represent weakness in her overall business —she just showed her Fall 2014 collection at Lincoln Center during Fashion Week— Reese doesn't have an extensive network of boutiques. In fact, this store was her only U.S. location, and she promises to be looking to open a replacement as soon she can find the right space. Faithful customers will have to trek to Japan's Omotesando Hills shopping center in central Tokyo if they continue to crave that exclusive Tracy Reese retail experience, or just wait until, hopefully, the designer finds a new home.

Tracy Reese Has Packed Up Her Meatpacking District Flagship (Racked)


Moschino Is Out & The Kooples Are In

Have you grown fond of the witty window displays at the Moschino boutique between the Apple Store and Hugo Boss in the Meatpacking District? Well, don't get too used to them. The New York Post is reporting that French sportswear brand (yes, another French sportswear brand) The Kooples is negotiating to take over Moschino's lease at 401 West 14th Street. Though the charismatic Italian label celebrated its 30th anniversary collection for Spring 2014 with an extravaganza retrospective runway show, look for the store to close before the Fall 2014 season as the label relaunches and redefines itself with new creative director Jeremy Scott. Though this would seem to be more the time for a store renovation, the Post says that the brand is going to be exploring other retail options, suggesting that an extensive revamp is underway for Moschino and all of its various product lines.

As for The Kooples, New York shoppers should be familiar with the label's leased shop-in-shops at both Manhattan Bloomingdale's locations. This will be the brand's first freestanding brick-and-mortar store in New York. Started by three French brothers whose parents started the mother-daughter label Comptoir des Cotonniers, The Kooples was created as a store for couples to shop in together. Presumably, solo shoppers will be welcome as well. The label is expected to maintain the store until 2018 at which point they will either renew the lease or face an exorbitant rent hike that will force them out in favor of some other chain with bottomless pockets —but lets not get ahead of ourselves. We should just be getting ready for the city's first new The Kooples store sometime this Fall, perhaps, and thinking about what kind of insane retail concepts Jeremy Scott has in mind for Moschino. He will show his first full collection for the label next month in Milan, and something outlandish is to be expected.

French flair for 14th Street By Lois Weiss (Between the Bricks/NYPost)


Marni Menswear To Take Over Meatpacking District Store

Marni-SS2014Expect to see a lot more menswear from Marni next year as the Italian fashion label works to leverage the fast growth of the collection. Traditionally only a small percentage of the compoany's output, a new distribution deal is expected to triple the number of stores carrying the label's men's line. The most prominent beneficiary of all this attention will be the Marni Edition store on Gansevoort Street which is to be fully converted to a men's location. “We have somewhat underestimated our men’s line but we are now paying great attention to its development,” Marni chief executive officer Gianni Castiglioni tells WWD. Japan, which is always a bellwether of sorts, already has three busy men's shop-in-shops, so the next step is, naturally, to better showcase the men's collection in New York where there are already major Marni boutiques near Madison Avenue on the Upper East Side and on Mercer Street in SoHo.

Slightly off-the-beaten-path in the Meatpacking District, Marni took over the uniquely configured store fromYohji Yamamoto a couple of years ago to showcase its Slightly less expensive 'Edition' line, but its valuable location will probably serve better to promote the men's line whose sales have reportedly increased by 50% over last year. Marni's menswear fans can expect the shop to be converted sometime next year.

Marni Plans Men's Wear Push (WWD)


Earnest Sewn To Shutter Shops In Advance Of 2014 Relaunch

Fans of premium denim brand Earnest Sewn will have only a few more weeks to stock up on their favorite  denim styles before the company's shops on the Lower East Side and in the Meatpacking District (pictured above) close down due to new ownership. The once coveted label's trademarks have been purchased by Anthony Frym, an industry veteran, who will relaunch the brand sometime next year with a new store in an as-yet-unannounced location. Not much is known about Frym's plans for the brand beyond his work to set up new manufacturing in California for the new Earnest Sewn, so he will  maintaining its "Made in U.S.A.' heritage. We have to note that Frym purchased only Earnest Sewn's trademarks, not its operations or retail stores, which is why they are closing. Since co-founder and creative force Scott Morrison departed the brand a few years ago, Earnest Sewn's wholesale business has diminished to almost nothing as retailers turned to other labels, including one that Morrison started himself. Whether or not Frym will keep some of the line's most popular (and still highly relevant) jeans models like Harlan or Kyrre is unknown, as he will basically be re-building the brand from the ground up with a new creative team. The label's website (pictured below) now features only a "Coming soon" message along with an encouraging switch to a clean, sans-serif lowercase logo more like the one it originally used before it switched to an overall "Ye Olde Denim Store" aesthetic. “For me, it still has a very strong American brand image,” he tells WWD. A countdown clock on the homepage points to February 16th as the day to mark for more news of Earnest Sewn's future.

In a sense, this is the story of what happens to a premium denim brand when Scott Morrison leaves. For example, the once red-hot brand Paper Denim & Cloth faltered when Morrison, who was instrumental in developing it, left to start Earnest Sewn. Morrison's intriguing new brand with its unique, Japanese inspired wabi-sabi detailing, easily stepped into the stores that dropped the declining Paper Denim, very much like his current, even more expensive, artisan-inspired brand 3x1 has pushed Earnest Sewn out of influential denim stores like Barneys and Ron Herman. Recently, new owners are also in the process of re-launching paper Denim & Cloth as a premium label after it tried to trade down as a more moderately priced line, but they are now facing an even more crowded market full of connoisseur labels like 3Sixteen, novelty driven brands like Naked & Famous and ever more popular overseas imports like Sweden's Nudie. In about three months, presumably, we'll get a better idea of how Earnest Sewn's new life will unfold.

Earnest Sewn Changes Hands (WWD)


Opening Ceremony To Move Into SuperPier 57 As A Permanent Anchor

Opening Ceremony likes the Hudson River piers so much that it has decided to take up residence there. Just as one of New York's most innovative fashion/retail entities is about to open a major Fashion Week pop-up store on Pier 57, it has been announced that the store will take on a permanent role as a retail anchor in the pier's redevelopment plan. Youngwoo & Associates is spearheading the reinvention of what has become known as the SuperPier, and announced the new store along with a Riverfront Spa and Beach Club hospitality concept from André Balazs Properties and Brooklyn Boulders, a rock climbing-style venue. The iminent pop-up event, called Opening Ceremony BTW (By the Water), which will close on September 12, and the permanent store, which will not open until 2015, are not specifically related to each other, but both will utilize the repurposed shipping containers known as Incuboxes, which are an integral element in the multi-use redevelopment plan for the pier. “We want to incubate brands,” Zachary Beloff, Youngwoo's director of marketing tells WWD, “You see that all the time with Opening Ceremony. They’re always looking at who’s next, what country’s next. Last year, they focused on Korea, this year on Belgium. They’re always ahead of the curve.” The development company hopes that the retailer will ultimately be joined by other similarly adventurous brands both large and small to fill the pier's 270,000 square feet of leaseable space. “We hope to get everyone from Adidas to DKNY to take their own space,” he says, “While we wouldn’t want a retailer to duplicate what they do on Fifth Avenue or Madison Avenue, it’s good to have established brands trying new things.” While we will have to wait a while to see exactly what Opening Ceremony comes up with for its third Manhattan store, The SuperPier redevelopment just got a lot more interesting.

Opening Ceremony to Anchor New York's SuperPier (WWD)
Fashion Week Events: Opening Ceremony Plans A Pier Pop-Up


What Happened To Levi's On Lex?
Krizia Moves On

Every now and then a faithful reader poses an inquiry for The Shophound to follow up on. A few days ago, Al emailed us to ask:

"Any idea what happened to the Levi's store on Lexington Ave. across from Bloomingdales?  It's no more"

While we like to keep tabs on prominent stores, we had no idea that the longtime Levi's flagship (pictured above) had vanished, but it turns out that another chain has taken over the space. Reason? The usual lease ending/rent hike drama that happens all over the city. it turns out that Sephora was willing to pay more than Levi's for a prime spot across the street from one of the city's most iconic department stores. The 7,000 square foot store is will be charging the cosmetics chain $700 per square foot which is as moch as anyone gets in that area and twice what Levi's last lease cost them. This will make it the 17th Sephora in New York City, and it makes us wonder of the popular makeup chain might not becoming like Duane Reade in its ubiquity. There is already a Sephora a couple of blocks downtown near 57th street. As for Levi's, losing such a large, high profile store is a blow. The area around Bloomingdale's is increasingly important as shopping area distinct from the more luxurious Madison Avenue strip a couple of blocks across town. It might be hard for the iconic denim brand to find another large space in the area, unless, of course, some other store gets its rent doubled and has to ove on —which will probably be happening any minute now.

In other missing store news, it looks like Krizia's brief stay in the Meatpacking District has come to an end. The incredible clearance sale several weeks ago turned out to be something of a closing sale. Once one of italy's brightest designer labels, Krizia has been eclipsed by newer brands in recent decades. The particular section of 14th street where its boutique (pictured below) was found —meant to replace a longtime Madison Avenue home— just under the High Line has been obscured by construction and still has not fully flowered despite being only a stone's throw from hot stores like Diane von Furstenberg. Perhaps a Krizia revival will bring the boutique back to a stronger response.



Krizia Holds A Stealthy Warehouse Sale

The Shophound has gotten back into Sample Sale reporting over the past few months, and designers and other sources have been very helpful in keeping us apprised of coming events, but we didn't realize that Krizia has been holding a Warehouse Sale in its Meatpacking District boutique —and it appears that nobody else did either.

You won't find it listed on Racked, Mizhattan, Sample Sally or any of the other usual resources, but the Italian label's flagship boutique is stuffed with designer clothes and accessories going for no less than 85% off original prices with some dresses starting as low as $25 through this weekend only. There are mostly women's goods from previous seasons, so nothing from Spring '13 yet, and also a small selection of men's pieces. If you are looking for another way to part with your money this weekend, you can't go too far wrong here.

KRIZIA Warehouse Sale through Sunday June 23 at 448 West 14th St between Washington St & Tenth Ave, Meatpacking District


Havaianas Flip Flops Pop Up
This Summer At The Highline

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, which means it's time to make sure that your flip flop wardrobe is in order for the beach, poolside, backyard, etc, (but not we hasten to add, the city sidewalks —unless you are just itchin' for a collection of plantars warts and any number of other revolting foot bacteria and infections).
We have yet to find better flip flops than Havaianas from Brazil. Even though there are others available for a few bucks less, somehow Havaianas are just the most comfortable and long lasting. if you don't believe us, you will have a chance to see for yourself when the brand will open a pop-up shop on Gansevoort Street at the base of the Highline. Not only will they offer a full selection of sandals, but there will also be a bar where customers will be able to design their own sandals by mixing and matching components. check it out from May 30, running nearly all Summer long through September 3.

Become a Flip Flop Designer at Havaiana's Highline Pop Up (Racked)


Rag & Bone Sneaks Into Ed Hardy's Old Meatpacking District Spot

Ever since they closed their "Nobody knew it was a" Pop-up store on Madison Avenue, Rag & Bone's retail strategy for Manhattan has been less conventional than their previous "conquer every neighborhood" plan. Their latest low-profile entry is near the corner of 13th Street and Washington Street in the space that once held the reviled EdHardy13thStEd Hardy's first New York store (pictured at left). The signage above that reads "Dave's Quality Veal" is a remnant of the building's past as a meatpacking plant (Remember when they actually did that there? Remember the smell?). It is not to be confused with Dave's Quality Meat, or DQM, the cult East Village streetwear store. What it does hold is not only a new Rag & Bone shop but also a Jack's Stir Brew Coffee bar. We're not sure if Jack's is a guest of Rag & Bone or the other way around, but the coffee company is the only one listing the store on its website, which might make the international sportswear label a temporary guest in the way that indie bookstores and fringe theater groups sometimes are.

It's a little strange, although Rag & Bone has become so ubiquitous in Manhattan that it's surprising to realize that they didn't already have a Meatpacking District store since they have already hit the East Village, NoLita and SoHo. A plus for the brand: It's only a few doors away from All Saints, so they can easily keep an eye on the chain's Rag & Bone knockoffs. Convenience!

Rag & Bone X Jack's Stir Brew Coffee 425 West 13th Street between Ninth Avenue & Washington Street, Meatpacking District