The Pop-Up Flea Makes A Spring Appearance Next Month

PUFSUN_Square-1For those of you tired of scrounging around sample sales for menswear inspiration, mark your calendars for next weekend when the now bi-annual favorite, The Pop-Up Flea makes it's spring appearance at the Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea. The collection of heritage, artisanal and just plain great quality brands will include some of the old favorites we have become accustomed to rediscovering like Alexander OlchFred Perry Laurel WreathErnest AlexanderLeather Head SportsRancourt & CoFreemans Sporting Club and TUDOR along with some fresh entrants to add some new blood to the proceedings just in case you have enough handmade raw leather belts. look for Dom VetroCorridorCanvas Bag MachineMartenero and Accompany to liven up the place. A full roster of participants will be published soon, but in the meantime, be sure to pick a time next weekend, after you have taken care of any Mothers' Day obligations to do some more shopping for yourself. See all the current details below.


Wading Through Lauren Bacall's Vast Collection

In the picture above is a pile of Lauren Bacall's Louis Vuitton and Goyard luggage, which is, in fact just a small sampling of the extensive luggage collection belonging to the late actress. Over the weekend, potential auction buyers and movie fans streamed into Bonhams' Madison Avenue showroom to check out her stuff, and there was a lot of it. We aren't sure how much room she had in her apartment in the Dakota, but it seems apparent that she filled it to capacity. The walls were covered with framed pictures and surfaces were covered with any number of objects from African tribal figures to small sculptures from friends like Henry Moore and Robert Graham (the artist and late husband of Anjelica Huston, not the maker of colorful shirts). Combing through her possessions was less like entering Elizabeth Taylor's mind boggling vault of treasures at Christie's a couple of years ago, than examining the taste of a woman of great means who lived a big life with luxury, but not necessarily ostentation. There were some beautiful jewels including some fine Jean Schlumberger pieces, but compared to the rest of her stuff, it was a more smaller collection of more modestly scaled pieces as Hollywood glamor goes. Bacall was known to have a huge, spectacular wardrobe, most of which was reportedly donated to the Fashion Institute of Technology, which has its own, small Bacall centered exhibition running through this week. Bonhams still had a small sampling of clothes available from Bacall's favorite designers including an Yves Saint Laurent couture cape which looked like it came from his 70's heyday, a glittering black beaded Halston cardigan and two versions of a Jean Muir jumpsuit in different colors. Ever practical, she tended to favor sleek Giorgio Armani and Ralph Lauren pantsuits and sweaters for everyday, so the draw here is not so much the clothes and personal adornments, but all the rest of her home furnishings including an eclectic collection of antique furniture , mostly from Europe and Scandinavia and Asia. She was a fan of American quilts as well, and clearly favored more rustic antiques over sleek, modern style. Of the art, there was an abundance of smaller pieces, mostly prints and lithographs from Moore, Graham and others, and while she seemed to have few large, statement making paintings, she had a penchant for huge, framed antique posters. There was silver both decorative and practical including a damaged oil Hannukah menorah waiting to be purchased by a true fan. For the casual shopper looking for a souvenir, there were collections of books and less valuable knickknacks like bookends and whose main value may be that they belonged to a great star. At times, it seemed like Miss Bacall may have been amassing such items just so fans could one day get a piece of her possessions at a reasonable cost. And then there was all that luggage. At the center of it was a pair of Hartmann steamer trunks that appeared to date from the mid-century days when people of a certain class traveled with such things, but surrounding them were stacks of Vuitton and Goyard, and even a humble little Prada carry-on with wheels that made one wonder exactly how many suitcases one person —even a famous Hollywood star— could need to travel with at one time? Three, four, maybe five, but thirty? That's a mystery that only her family might be able to answer. For the rest of us stargazing shoppers, Lauren Bacall's collections will be Auctioned off tomorrow and Wednesday.

The Lauren Bacall Collection (Bonhams)


The Time To Visit Macy's Herald Square Is Right Now When It Is Full Of Flowers

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It is true that for a lot of New Yorkers, Macy's Herald Square, the city's most famous retail landmark, is generally to be avoided at all costs. It is the city resident's natural aversion to attractions that are bound to be clogged with slack-jawed tourists, and Macy's remains one of New York's top attractions for visitors.
However, the immense store's ongoing renovations have made the once dingy store brighter, more pleasant and easier to shop despite all the tourists, and if you ever plan to venture to the World's Largest Store, go before the end of next week when it is stuffed with lushly arranged flowers. Yes, it's time for Macy's Flower Show. For over 40 years, the store has heralded the arrival of Spring by festooning the main floor with blooming blossoms and greenery, and now that the main floor has been upgraded and refreshed it looks all the better as a temporary botanical garden. In addition, the store offers all kinds of workshops and special events.
Still need a reason?
Spring. Flowers.
It's actually Spring right now, even though we can hardly tell. After yet another dreary, seemingly endless winter, we could all do with a taste of warmer months to come, so it's worth a little detour to Herald Square even if it's just for a few moments to lift your winter-numbed spirits.

Macy's Flower Show Through April 4 at Herald Square, Midtown


The Pop-Up Flea Returns Today
(Now For Women, Too!)

PopUpFleaLogoAfter a worldwide sojourn taking it from Tokyo to Detroit to London, a favorite New York shopping event, the Pop-Up Flea, returns home this afternoon. This season, the event has grown enough to take over the easily accessible Metropolitan Pavilion in Chelsea with what looks to be more vendors than ever including, for the first time, some which will offer items for women such as Clare V., Steven Alan and Nova fragrances. Now lady shopping companions will have something for themselves, and guys can take the opportunity to pick up some more Holiday gifts to support the pretense that they are not just shopping for themselves. As usual, there will be lots of vintage items as well as newly manufactured merchandise that meets the particular quality standards of promoters Randy Goldberg and Michael Williams. Regular Fleagoers will recognize popular vendors like Isaora, Red Wing, Tanner Goods and Lotuff as well as some intriguing new additions. The market opens today at 3 and runs through 6 Pm on Sunday, so get you best flannel shirt out and your most carefully weathered artisanal denim jeans and make time for some tasty shopping.
Have a look at the full vendor list and a preview video after the jump

The Pop-up Flea Today through December 14 at the Metropolitan Pavilion 125 West 18th Street between Sixth & Seventh Avenues, Chelsea

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The Pop-Up Flea Returns Today
(Now For Women, Too!)
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Holiday Shopping With J.Crew, Kiton, John Varvatos & Capsule Market Square

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It's the Holiday Season everyone, and it you have survived the onslaught of Black Friday Week/Cyber Monday promotion, then you have arrived at regular old Tuesday and can really save some money at the over 50 sample sales that are scheduled for this month (at least the ones that we officially know of). This week skews heavily toward menswear for some reason, but there are still some bright spots for ladies starting with the event that can reliably get customers to line up on the sidewalks of lower Fifth Avenue, the J.CREW SAMPLE SALE which starts today. As we have mentioned countless times before, better svaings can often be had at J.Crew's in-store clearances offering 30% to 40% off reduced merchandise, but the sample sale offers all kinds of opportunities, mainly because it seems to be composed mostly of actual samples including alternate fabrics, colors and styles that you won't find in the stores. It's a random mix, as we discovered at the preview last night, with most prices at around 60% to 75% off retail. FOR WOMEN, at 260 Fifth, there was a particular abundance of shoes and handbags and while women's main label and Madewell items were carefully organized, there was a vast but wildy varying mix of one-off items of every sort of category priced as marked. Most cashmere sweaters were $90, for example, but the system allows for special pricing for a special piece.
Over at 225 Fifth, the smaller MEN'S SECTION was similarly organized with lots of the label's increasingly popular tailored clothing separates. Prices were fairly decent ($15 tees, $25 woven sportshirts, $90 cashmeres in color order, etc.), but don't count on making a matching suit of pants and a jacket. There was also a strong outerwear selection including down vests and jackets and plenty of overcoats, for now anyway. Accessories were a little bit lacking, but early birds will nab some nice cashmere scarves for a mere $20. Restocking is promised, and reductions can generally be expected before the end of the sale on Sunday but how often and how much remains to be seen. (Have a look in the gallery above)
Of course, that's not all. There are plenty more opportunities to get your Holiday Shopping done this week:

KITON's sale started yesterday at Soiffer Haskin, for the impeccably tailored and deep-pocketed. Reductions have already been taken, but expect to invest some major funds if you want to outfit yourself from one of Naples' finest tailors. Runs though Thursday the 4th.

EDDIE BORGO's modern jewelry will be on sale starting today through Thursday in NoLita. Look for bold pieces for men and women starting at $30.

Starting on Wednesday, two-time CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist WES GORDON will be offering deep discounts from 60% to 75% off on his women's designer collection through Thursday. Prices start at $100 in the Financial district.

Also on Wednesday, JOHN VARVATOS will return to the Sample Sale circuit at Chelsea Market through the weekend. There was once a time years ago when Varvatos held frequent sample sales, but then he stopped holding them altogether and became a frequent presence on flash sale sites like Gilt and RueLaLa. Who can say why strategies change, but Varvatos is back on the scene. Expect to find his apparel collections and plenty of shoes.

Another CFDA favorite, OVADIA & SONS will be holding their sale in their SoHo showroom on Thursday and Friday featuring their modern classic menswear along with shoes, accessories and various other objects of inspiration.

The quirky team behind upstart menswear label ORLEY (yes, another CFDA/Vogue finalist) are holding what we think is their first sample sale starting on Friday through the weekend. Look for bright colorful USA made knitwear and sportswear from previous seasons at up to 80% off.

Flamboyant shoe designer SOPHIA WEBSTER will be offering some alternatives for women over the weekend in the West Village. Look for her highly embellished footwear starting at $70.

Finally, Soiffer Haskin is offering a luxury triple-header starting on Saturday featuring crystal from LALIQUE, jewelry, watches and silver from BUCCELLATI,  and lavish, exotic skin handbags from V.B.H. Once again, bring a hefty wallet.

If all that isn't enough, this weekend marks the return of CAPSULE MARKET SQUARE at Center 548 on West 22nd Street. The trendsetting trade show has created a special edition open to the public for the second year featuring booths from coveted designers most of whom use the opportunity as their de facto sample sale. Last year we saw great buys from MARK MCNAIRY NEW AMSTERDAM and NAKED & FAMOUS among many other Capsule Show stalwarts. Those designers are returning along with MAISON KITSUNÉ, WANT LES ESSENTIALS de la VIE, GOLDEN GOOSE, MASSIMO ALBA, VANESSA BRUNO, VIANEL and may others totaling 100 participants. It's a can't miss for cool shoppers, the coolest of whom will be getting first crack at the goods by buying tickets for the VIP shopping session on Friday night. Saturday and Sunday will be fully open to the public.

There's plenty more this week from TOCCA, NICHOLAS K, BEN-AMUN, NEST, ST.EMILE and much more. Keep an eye on the SALE ROLL at left for details and the inevitable late breaking sales that will appear without notice.


Capsule Market Square Returns
In Three Weeks

The Shophound's favorite Holiday Shopping event of last year has announced its return, so mark your calendars. Capsule Market Square, a special three-day shopping event organized by the Capsule trade shows, will be held from December 5 - 8. This time it has moved from SoHo to Chelsea at Center 548, which will be familiar as a former location for the show in its earlier, smaller days. Once again, instead of a wholesale trade show, Capsule Market Square will feature 100 vendors with goods ready to buy and open to the general public including men’s and women’s ap­parel, accessories, home goods, art and furniture. The offerings are expected to include one-of-a-kind pieces, overstock, sam­ples, current merchandise and special products made just for the event. This would normally be enough of an attraction, but the big surprise last year was that many of the vendors were offering great discounts, so it turned out to be something of a very well-appointed sample sale including labels like Mark McNairy and Naked & Famous and many more who aren't often found on the regular sale circuit.
Okay, so we really only wound up buying gifts for ourself, but still, it was one of the best shopping opportunities of the season.
The vendor list is yet to be posted, but if it is anything like last year's, it should be quite an impressive collection, discounted or not. Friday night's session is a ticket VIP-only event with tickets available HERE. Saturday and Sunday will be open to all comers, but if the sale offers are repeated, the $50 VIP ticket will be more than covered by the savings on great items that might be gone before public shopping starts. We'll have more information as it is released, but this one is definitely worth a mark on your calendars and a return visit this year.

Capsule Market Square December 5 - 7 at Center 548, 548 West 22nd Street, Chelsea


Chelsea's STORY Partners With Target For its Holiday Concept Store

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The last time Target partnered with another retailer for the Holidays, things didn't go so well. The Target x Neiman Marcus team up of Holiday 2012 didn't quite click with customers of either chain, but this time the mass market crowd pleaser might have gotten things right by thinking smaller. Chelsea's revolving concept store STORY has just opened its latest incarnation for next couple of months, and "Home for the Holidays" will feature about 300 items with a familiar bullseye logo in addition to more the more rarefied the store typically offers. The collaboration came about when new Target CEO Brian Cornell visited the store and met its owner Rachel Shechtman, a longtime Target fan, and invited her to Minneapolis to choose from the chain's special offerings to add to her Holiday season assortments. The result is combination of Story's typical curated stock and a select sampling of Target's exclusive product lines including items from Nate Berkus, Merona, Archer Farms and limited collaborations with TOMS shoes and Faribault Woolen Mills that will be available before they are released at Target's regular stores. The whole presentation is appearing now in a brand new environment by interior designer Jason Bell.

Don't expect this to happen in specialty stores everywhere. It works well in Manhattan in part because the nearest Target stores to Story are 100 blocks uptown in East Harlem or in Brooklyn, Queens or The Bronx. A visit to the mothership is still something of a trek for many New Yorkers who have to schlepp their purchases on the subway or bus instead of tossing them in the trunk or driving home. It's an extra convenience for Story shoppers as well as an opportunity for Target's merchants to incorporate new specialty ideas into their City Target or Target Express stores. Story's latest concept opens this week and will run through the beginning of January, which give everyone plenty of time to make it a stop on the Holiday shopping tour.

For Target, a Story of Branding Evolution (WWD)


Now It's Christian Louboutin Having An Unannounced Sample Sale Right Now

It's officially a thing now.
The most highly anticipated and hardest to get into sample sales are now going to be held without notice. The tireless Madison Avenue Spy apparently has it on good authority that, like last week's surprise Manolo Blahnik Sample SaleChristian Louboutin's ever more exclusive sale is being held in quasi-secret at the company's showroom this week. As experienced sample sale shoppers know, entry to this sale is not easy to negotiate even when there is advanced notice, and the company has been known to turn away interested parties and deny that it is taking place even as shoppers are perusing the offerings. According to the Spy, today is for selected press and VIPs, and entry to the sale becomes increasingly broad as the week progresses. Those with no invite are cautioned not to try to get in before Wednesday, and any non-invite entry is pretty much at the whim of whoever is at the door which can change at any moment. Prices are expected to run from $250 to $500. Expect to pass through multiple security checkpoints before getting to the actual sale.
Best of luck to Louboutin addicts!

Here's what happens when there is no official confirmation:
Sometimes you are wrong.
Word on the street is that the Louboutin sale now starts next Tuesday November 11th, so that means that next week is fair game to attempt entry. Good luck to all. See the SALE ROLL for updated details

Christian Louboutin Sample Sale Begins NOW (Madison Avenue Spy)
Christian Louboutin Sample Sale November 11 - 14 at 307 W. 38th St. Between Eighth & Ninth Avenues, Garment District


Housing Works' Fashion For Action Returns Next Month
With Zac Posen & John Varvatos

HW-F4A-ZacJohnYou should definitely plan in advance for this one.
HOUSING WORKS has long been one of New York City's favorite sources for stylish thrift shopping, and, among its many fundraising events, the most popular is probably its annual Fashion For Action benefit in which its Chelsea Thrift Shop is emptied of its usual donated, gently used merchandise, and packed with new, unworn goods from nearly every designer of note in the City and beyond. While the public sale is always good, the best shopping is invariably found at the gala party the night before. Early tickets are already available for this year's gala on November 20, exactly one week before Thanksgiving which gives everyone a great opportunity to get a jump on the Holiday shopping season. Designers and occasional TV Stars John Varvatos and Zac Posen will be the co-chairs for the event which will take place at the Rubin Museum of Art that, fittingly many still remember as Barneys' original Chelsea women's store. Expect to see a lot of new un-used items from John and Zac and more than 200 other designers priced like thrift shop goods which means they will be selling for as much as 80% and more off their original tags. Believe us when tell you that the best things get swept up almost immediately after the doors open. While the earliest entry tickets are the most expensive, $100 General Admission tickets are available for a limited time, which you can more than make up for in savings on just a few items. Click HERE to choose how you want to participate, and remember that all proceeds from both the opening party and the free public sale running through the 23rd go to support Housing Works' mission to end the dual crises of homelessness and AIDS.
That's an extra added bonus you typically won't find at your average sample sale.


Apple's iPhone Lines Get Hijacked By Black Market Straw Purchasers

As most people with any working senses know, Apple's newest iPhone models launched last Friday to another round of blocks long lines and truly insane camping out for days in front of Apple Stores in New York and in many other cities to be the first customers for the coveted new device. While the story has become familiar over the past few years, The Shophound noticed something odd while walking past the Apple Store on 14th Street on Friday (pictured above). Even in the mid-afternoon, the line still extended well down the block, containing several hundred people, and, for some strange reason, it appeared that the vast majority of them —at least 90%— were Asian. Now, before you get your hackles up, there is nothing wrong with this. We aren't making any judgements, but it did seem odd that in Manhattan, the group of customers who were willing to spend hours in line would be so demographically lopsided. We aren't experts in Asian languages, but it appeared that they were Chinese speakers and, as a group, didn't seem like the young, tech-crazed type of people who would subject themselves to waiting in line for hours just to be among the first people to get their hands on a coveted device that will be easily accessible to anyone within a few days.

We didn't think much more of it until the next day when we came across a post on Gothamist which suggested that the lines in front of Apple's stores were packed with straw buyers purchasing iPhones for the Chinese Mafia. The article pointed to "Filmmaker and professional fun-haver" Casey Neistadt, a tech fan who has chronicled the annual frenzy over iPhone releases for the past few years. Neistadt was struck with the observation that, when the doors finally opened, what he saw among those who had doggedly waited for days to buy the new iPhone was not the excitement fans finally getting their new toy, but a new grim determination of people who had a task to accomplish and just wanted to get it over with. While The Shophound would not presume that the Chinese Mafia (whoever that would actually refer to) is explicitly behind all of this straw purchasing, Neistadt's video (embedded after the jump below) identifies a pattern of buying among the many Chinese speaking line-waiters, many of whom apparently needed a Mandarin translator to communicate with the filmmaker. Purchase two unlocked phones in cash. Hand the phones off or re-sell them to a second post-purchaser a few blocks away who stockpiles bag of new phones to be sent off to —well, who knows where?

The presumption is that the phones are being sent to China, where governmental red tape has kept Apple from announcing a release date for the iPhone 6 and it is unavailable for legal purchase. According to the Washington Post, the new devices are already selling there on the Black Market for up to 10 times their U.S. purchase price. Neistadt suggests that a network of smugglers has descended upon New York's Apple Stores, and, though he backtracked somewhat from the Chinese Mafia accusations in a later interview, it seems clear to any observer that there is some real organization behind the effort to get iPhones into some kind of unauthorized reselling channel which is artificially packing the huge lines outside Apple Stores with straw purchasers. Without them, it seems unlikely that these lines would stretch for block after block. Many shoppers have reported that it is already fairly fast and convenient to pick one up at one of the city's many AT&T, Verizon or other mobile phone retailers —but, of course, those phones are for people who are actually buying for themselves as they come with service contracts.

Apparently, this activity falls into something of a legal gray area. The buying and immediate reselling is not illegal, and Apple has run into problems in the past trying to discourage sales of desirable devices that they thought were being funneled into unauthorized channels. What is questionable is the presumed smuggling that happens after the observed handoffs. Neistadt's video also documents some unfortunate behavior by NYPD officers assigned to patrol the overnight lines, and some altercations among those in line which makes one question the safety (and sanitation) of having these annual, several-days-long queues at all. At this point, it seems like the only reason why people would endure hours and days waiting on the sidewalk to buy a phone would be for a handsome profit or possibly a legitimate lack of sanity. Have a look at the video after the jump and make of it what you will. In the meantime, when The Shophound gets our new phone, we plan to order it on line to pick up in-store. No lines.

Video: Were iPhone 6 Mega Lines Taken Over By Chinese Mafia?, Filmmaker Discusses iPhone 6 Lines & "Chinese Mafia" (Gothamist)
iPhone 6s being sold for insane amounts of money in China (Washington Post)

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Apple's iPhone Lines Get Hijacked By Black Market Straw Purchasers" »