One of the season's favorite shopping events is making its 4th appearance tomorrow when it opens its doors, such as they are, at Brookfield Place in the Financial District. Not quite a traditional store, this season's WIRED pop-up (pictured above) will be inhabiting a series of booths amongst the palms in the complex's Winter Garden. As usual, it will feature the latest in must-have tech gifts and gadgets as chosen by the magazine's editors. Highlights will range from the Anki Cozmo Collector’s Edition Robot which at $179.99 seems reasonable for a robot to the more extravagant Shinola Canfield Over-Ear Headphones at $595. For tech savvy gift shopping or just a break from the rest of your Holiday shopping, the pop-up will be open through December 22, and most merchandise will also be available online through the Wired Store website, while it lasts.
The first images from the upcoming UNIQLO and LEMAIRE collection have trickled onto the interwebs, and they promise a sleek, almost minimalistic aesthetic that, as we predicted, should please fans of the chain's erstwhile collaboration +J. Designed for Uniqlo by former Hermès creative director Christophe Lemaire and Sarah-Linh Tran, the new line promises "modern, advanced wardrobe mainstays". The pair commented about the collection in a recent press release,
“The UNIQLO AND LEMAIRE collection is based on the philosophy shared by both UNIQLO and LEMAIRE of making high-quality clothing for everyday life. We focused not simply on enhancing design, but insisting on high quality in the materials as well, with the aim of creating clothing that is simple, beautiful and comfortable. Each item incorporates several ideas, and a single piece shows a different facet depending on how it is worn. This collection has been a valuable experience for us as the designers, and an exceptional collaboration. WWe hope that this collection will be a part of everyone’s life.”
The first four images, shot by Alasdair McLellan, feature chunky shaker-style knits in a wrap sweater, engineered pullover and scarf (?) for women as well as a shawl collar pullover sweater for men worn with the kind of pleated pants that just showed up all over the runways in the European men's collections for next spring. It's just enough to whet our appetites for the new collection and get us counting down for the October launch. Have a look at the new images in the gallery above.
It's no longer OK to make fun of someone's "Manbag" or "Murse".
That's just how it is now.
Some men used to be able to get away with turning their noses up at other men who needed to carry their things around in some kind of vessel, but those days are gone. It's not so much political correctness as it is the fact that now, everybody needs some kind of bag. It's no longer possible to stash your things in your pockets or tote them around in a ratty backpack that you should have trashed the day after graduation. Are you going to carry your iPad around like a little clutch purse? No you are not. Even once resistant males find themselves carrying around some kind of tote or messenger bag, or at the very least, a modern soft-sided briefcase, and sales of men's accessories are way up. How else are we to transport the multiple electronic devices and all the other accouterments we must have with us from moment to moment? You don't believe us? Just walk into Barneys on Madison Avenue. The renovated women's main floor has famously been called a "sea of bags", but walk over to the men's side and you will see pretty much the same thing —just in darker, more subdued tones, of course.
This all brings us to the Caputo & Co. Weekender Duffel pictured above and available this Fall. The Shophound stopped by the showroom a couple of weeks ago to get a closer look at Alex Caputo's Fall line, and while there were other terrific bags there as well —smart lightweight totes and oversized messenger bags— It was the duffel that caught our eye. A little big for daily use, perhaps, but it is the perfect for that nylon duffel you may still be using on weekend trips. Made in handsome olive or midnight blue leather, the delight here is not just the simple and functional design, but the super-lightweight construction that will actually make it much easier to carry around. Even better is the price, $450 which, while not inconsequential, stacks up quite favorably compared to other all-leather duffels that easily approach (and exceed) the $1,000 mark. Aside from the bags, there was also a growing collection of cleverly designed belts including unexpected colors and reversible styles and, of course, more of the leather and fabric bracelets in new colors and often refreshed with new metal clasps and detailing for a more tailored finished effect. We could easily have been tempted to scoop ten of them right off the table (thankfully, Alex gave us one of our own before we left) but what has stuck in our mind is that great duffel. If you are still schlepping around that old backpack or ratty gym bag, let this be your notice that it's time to upgrade.
Caputo & Co. (Official Site)
It actually snowed a little bit this morning, which is incredibly disheartening for the last day of March. This state of affairs hasn't been helping retailers much as customers seem to be waiting for t-shirt weather before they start their Spring shopping. As if to remind us all that warmer weather is on the horizon somewhere, eyewear designer Garrett Leight invited a bunch of folks, including The Shophound, to the Standard Hotel in the East Village late last week to launch his Spring 2014 collection of optical and sunglass frames along with the latest edition of his magazine, Spectacle. Look closely at the diorama pictured above, and you will find the results of Leight's work with collaboration king Mark McNairy, which was one of a few styles showcased in the lush greenery we hope to see sprouting from the ground sometime soon. The rest of the collection was more accessibly displayed on tables (pictured below) so partygoers could try the styles for themselves. Nothing sets the stage for the Summer like choosing a new pair of sunglasses for the season, and Leight (who just happens to be the son of Oliver Peoples founder Larry Leight) offered plenty of promising options. Choosing just one seemed like a challenge. His classic frame shapes in unexpected colors and materials perfectly fit the mood of the upcoming season, whenever it gets around to arriving.
Governor Cuomo just signed new laws for New York State regarding the employment of minor-aged models, but that won't be much of a concern for ORLEY, the burgeoning knitwear brand that is launching its first full apparel collection with a video starring veteran actors Harwood Gordon and Bob Evans. As if to underscore the retirement-minded milieu of the video, Gordon and Evans demonstrate the ins and outs of competitive shuffleboard while modeling Orley's vibrantly colored Spring 2014 collection and looking rather a bit more stylish than your average retiree. Orley co-founders Alex Orley, Matthew Orley, and Samantha Florence enlisted the services of their younger brother Jason Orley to direct the short film which appears to be part of a series. Look for the collection next Spring at Bergdorf Goodman, Carson Street Clothiers and Fivestory, which should give you some time to practice your shuffleboard.
ORLEY (Official Site) Check out the video after the jump
The Shophound took our seasonal jaunt through the Capsule trade show yesterday, and though basketball City's unfortunate lack of sufficient climate control kept us from taking a more detailed look at every single booth, there were a few things that leaped out at us as we passed by —mostly shoes, as usual.
One of the first booths we visited was Eastland, where their premium Made In Maine collection continues to offer clever variations on their classic handsewn moccasin styles. New for next Spring is more from a continuing collaboration with popular street style photoblogger Mister Mort who has created a striking mash-up of particularly vibrant Horween leathers. They sit nicely next to Eastland's collaboration with Mark McNairy which features the designer's signature camo-combinations. Over at Yuketen, where we can count on designer Yuki Matsuda's unexpeted combinations and daring patterned leathers, we noticed a shelf of simple, classic Italian snaffle loafers in offbeat colors (at right) which suggests that next year's loafer will have the kind of bit across the vamp that Gucci made popular, but with a twist. Eastland has a 2-tone version with a rubber boat shoe sole that'll also be worth saving up for.
Also making an impression were Florsheim by Duckie Brown's metallic silver cap-toes details on several styles and the unlikely return of the Teva sandal.
Yes, the much maligned TEVA.
The folks at Teva will tell you they never went away, but they are about to undergo a re-appraisal as it is about to celebrate its 30th anniversary with a relaunch its original iconic styles in bright new colors that look fresh. You'll be seeing more of them, and you may be surprised how much you like them.
Elsewhere in non-footwear, we saw all of Gant's collections including Michael Bastian's line, the Gant Rugger line and the main Gant collection which is now under the creative direction of Rugger designer Christopher Bastin and will now be available at other stores besides the brand's own boutiques. Bastin has subtly updated and modernized the classic collection and eliminated some of the prominent logos while adding investment pieces like a leather bomber jacket that would make Indiana Jones proud.
EVERYTHING OLD AND INEXPENSIVE IS NEW AND NOT SO INEXPENSIVE
For the Levi's Vintage Clothing line, the brand's design team comb the archives season after season to meticulously reproduce classic styles right down to the packaging and hangtags. For fall, they have set their sights on the Orange Tab (pictured at right). Readers of a certain age may remember this line as the most popularly priced version of the Levi's brand in the 60s and 70s. For Fall, you'll see Trucker Jackets and Bell Bottoms direct from the 1970s as well as original slim jeans and chambray shirts from the 60s —unfortunately all at premium 21st century prices. The "Boomtown" section (pictured above) spotlights Motown inspired looks from what was then a thriving Motor City, and as always, the latest revisit of the signature 501 denim jean comes from 1978 for everyone feeling nostalgic for the Carter Administration —perfect to wear with that fringed suede western jacket.
MORE FASHION AT THE HIGH END
Levi's top-of-the-line Made & Crafted collection (pictured at left) has always offered the most luxurious versions of the brand's classics, but for fall, get ready for a lot more fashion from this European designed division. You'll see bold, graphic prints, a sophisticated color palette, the softest cotton khakis and lots of stylish accessories that look more like they came from Opening Ceremony than the denim bar.
NEW CLOTHES CAN BE ENVIRONMENTALLY RESPONSIBLE —AND YOU MIGHT NOT EVEN NOTICE
Levi's remains committed to improving the environmental impact of its production methods through its Waste<Less program. Next Fall, the polyester in your bright cotton blend corduroy jeans might come from the water bottle you just recycled, but unlike the brown paper napkins at Starbucks, you won't be able to tell.
DON'T WORRY, THE LEVI'S YOU LOVE WILL ALWAYS BE THERE -ONLY BETTER
Innovation has not pushed out the old reliable basics. The main Red Tab collection (pictured below) will have plenty of the classic and affordable denim jeans, western shirts and jackets that everyone loves. Look for vintage inspired 2-tone variations and witty, modern twists like a women's Trucker jacket with wide, kimono sleeves for a fresh-off-the-runway spin on a mainstay.
Lots of designers and stores like to throw the word "bespoke" around. You see relatively inexpensive suit being described as having "bespoke" details like hand pick stitching on the lapels when the hand stitching that really matters should be the invisible kind on the inside. Then there are the working buttonholes on the sleeve cuffs that we now see at Zara or Banana Republic causing all sorts of trouble and expense if those sleeves need shortening. Sometimes it takes a visit to a genuine custom tailor to be reminded that those superficial details have little to do with real bespoke clothing. Last week, The Shophound stopped by renowned Hong Kong tailor Ascot Chang's New York outpost on Central Park South to check out what they offering for next Fall, and found all sorts of specialness that you won't find on any chain store rack.
Styled by veteran menswear consultant Michael Macko, the collection offered a "city" side featuring classic suitings in a modernized 4-button double breasted (at left) or one button, peak lapeled silhouettes (below) paired with exclusive shirtings developed from Thomas Mason's celebrated archive of vintage materials. On the "country" side we found special pieces like a tartan and velvet dinner jacket (above right) and lofty woolens and tweeds that proved upon closer inspection to be lighter and softer than they appeared, with subtle details like contrasting elbow patches made by simply reversing the fabric. Though everything was infused with Ascot Chang's 60 years of tradition, there was no sense of vintage nostalgia about the collection —not that you couldn't have that made for youself if you wanted it. Instead, each look was carefully considered with an eye to modern proportions and real-life needs. And this is what bespoke really means.
Ascot Chang 110 Central Park South between Sixth & Seventh Avenues
Those of us who remember the 1980s will remember that one of that decade's hottest menswear designers was Joseph Abboud whose classic-American-meets-Italian-luxe collections were mainstays at exclusive stores like Bergdorf Goodman and Louis in Boston. Over the years, the brand has maintained prominence and popularity, but repositioning, changing production issues and a bitter fight that exiled the designer himself from the label that bears his name slowly pushed it just a few rungs down the luxury ladder from where it started, but that should soon be changing. Wednesday night, The Shophound stopped by the Joseph Abboud showroom for our first look at the brand's new Red Label collection, designed to return the Joseph Abboud name back to the luxury status it originally enjoyed.
It's always encouraging to see any brand reclaim its roots, but the Creative Director Bernardo Rojo is not offering a predictable retread of vintage style. He is focused firmly on the future featuring sportswear made from innovative bonded fabrics and leathers. The inspiration for Fall is the space age, and the collection is refreshingly sleek and non-retro, though the rich color palette clevery recalls the label's early glory days. The entire Red Label line will be manufactured in Italy including shoes and luxury accessories in cavallino and ostrich skin. Only tailored clothing will be built in the company's domestic factories. Red Label is launching this Spring exclusively in London at Harrod's, and we don't yet know where it will land stateside this Fall, but if all goes well, you will once again see the label in some of the stores that once let it slip away as it slowly lot its focus on the high end.
Yes folks, New York City's favorite traveling circus starts officially starts next Thursday. That brushed steel façade going up in Lincoln Center's Damrosch Park is Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, which will host a bunch of shows, but is by no means the center of action that it once was. Milk Studios' MADE Fashion Week has emerged as a consistent rival over the past few years, but even these two venues can't begin to accommodate the profusion of hundreds of runway shows and presentations that have turned New York Fashion Week into the worlds most overdressed marathon pub crawl. In fact a few tony men's shows, Rag & Bone, Gant by Michael Bastian and Ralph Lauren were held earlier this week, as if to give a gentle hint to the rest of the menswear community that it is high time they separate from the main schedule which is overwhelmingly dominated by women's collections, and form their own Fashion Week. We are all in favor that, since we would like to avoid the inevitable Sophie's Choices that even we with our reduced schedule have to make during a hopelessly overcrowded week of shows.
Anyway, The Shophound will be covering Fashion Week, well... about as much as we feel like, to be honest. We look forward to seeing some of our favorites like Duckie Brown and Chado Ralph Rucci to name just a few, but the week includes lots of other events and store openings, so we will try to have a mix of coverage for you. If you have the notion to try to crash some runway shows, then good luck to you. We have not yet been able to uncover a full calendar of the entire show schedule (which is almost entirely double and triple booked) but you can find the Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week schedule HERE, and the MADE schedule HERE, so plan carefully, but don't even try to poach one of our seats. We will cut you.
UPDATE: We have just been informed that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week will be livestreaming the shows under its tents at newyork.mbfashionweek.com and facebook.com/mbfashionweek. Take it from us, sometimes watching at home is actually preferable to seeing a show from a crummy vantage point in person. Keep an eye out for other designers who are all increasingly bringing their shows to cyberspace for everyone to enjoy.