Betsey Johnson Schedules A
Final Liquidation Sale This Weekend

BetseyflyerIt's been a rough few months for veteran designer Betsey Johnson whose ongoing business troubles over the past couple of years has ultimately brought her to a liquidation of her business and left her trademarks in the hands of Steve Madden and a group of licensees. Though there is no shortage of good will in the industry for the preternaturally energetic, cartwheeling character whose influential career stretches back to the 1960s, the cheering crowds at her seasonal runway romps haven't been followed up by customers at her stores, lately. In fact, the common refrain when news of her liquidation hit the industry was something along the lines of, "I love Betsey! She's so great ...but I never wear her clothes."

Well, as such things will do in the industry, her business is closing with big liquidation sales in her stores that began over the weekend, but that's not all. Starting this Friday through Monday, her company will be holding a special Liquidation Sample Sale at the Millennium Broadway Hotel in Times Square which will presumably include whatever apparel and accessories are left in Johnson's warehouses at up to 80% off "and more" as they say. Click for a view of the official flyer after the jump.

It's not completely the end for Betsey, as Madden and licensees will continue to offer products with her label at wholesale, and Johnson and a few design staffers will remain to offer creative direction, but it looks like we have seen the last of her Fashion Week extravaganzas —which, it must be said, haven't changed much in the 20 years or so since The Shophound attended our first one.
Maybe that was the problem.

Betsey Johnson Liquidation Sample Sale
10 AM to 9 PM, Friday, May 18th - Sunday the 21st

Millennium Broadway Hotel, 6th floor
145 West 44th Street between Broadway & Sixth Avenue, Times Square
See flyer after the jump

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Betsey Johnson Schedules A
Final Liquidation Sale This Weekend
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A Pop-Tarts Gourmet Review


The bloggers of Serious Eats did what The Shophound hasn't the stomach to attempt: taste the specially concocted Pop-Tart dishes at the Pop-Tarts World pop-up shop in Times Square. As you might expect, the critiques ranged from "Please, please don't eat this," "All kinds of wrong," and "Nearly made me gag," to "If you've got the sugar tolerance, you might even like it," the faintest of praise. Ranked on an edibility scale of 1 to 10, only one item made it over a 5 —hard to ruin Trail Mix with bits of Pop Tart mixed in made it to a 7. The "sushi" pictured above rated a 0 as in " I physically could not bring myself to swallow."

This all probably comes as a surprise to nobody, but we suggest clicking through to their slide show for a stunning parade of crimes against the palate which will also save you the trouble of actually visiting the shop yourself just to satisfy your curiosity. At the very least, it's worth a look at their journey through the menu for the some of the most unappetizing food pictures we have ever seen.

Bon appetit!

We Ate at Pop-Tarts World in Times Square (Serious Eats)


Pop Tarts Pop-Up
To Serve Times Square

Poptarts-articleLargeIs it not enough that there is already a huge store devoted to M&M's in Times Square? Starting tomorrow, Kellogg's will open a 3,200 square foot store devoted to Pop Tarts, possibly one of the American food industry's greatest empty calorie delivery systems (which are, admittedly, sometimes really yummy).

The New York Times tells us this morning that the shop will not just dispense the nutritionally questionable toaster pastries, it will serve 30 snacks and desserts made from Pop Tarts that sound so cloying that we have a sugar headache just reading about them.

The menu includes the Fluffer Butter, marshmallow spread sandwiched between two Pop-Tarts frosted fudge pastries; the Sticky Cinna Munchies, cinnamon rolls topped with cream-cheese icing and chunks of Pop-Tarts cinnamon-roll variety; and Ants on a Log?, which is celery, peanut butter and chunks of the Wild Grape version.

And then there’s the Pop-Tarts Sushi, three kinds of Pop-Tarts minced and then wrapped in a fruit roll-up. “We did an internal tasting here at the building, and it was the winner,” said Etienne Patout, senior director at the Pop-Tarts brand, part of the Kellogg Company.

Visitors can also build their own Pop-Tarts, starting with a basic pastry and asking servers to add frosting, toppings (coconut, sprinkles) and drizzle (caramel, raspberry). They can take their pastries frozen, toasted, microwaved or uncooked, but there will be no self-serve.

Imagine that —desserts made out of something that is basically already dessert masquerading as breakfast (would you like some sugar with your sugar?). It's so wonderful to see companies advancing New York City's tradition of culinary innovation, isn't it? The shop's lease runs through January at which point Kellogg's has the option to make the store permanent.

A Times Square Aura for Pop-Tarts (NYTimes)


All Star Team Edition

Z-CRITIC-B-popupToday's Critical Shopper, Jon Caramanica, puts a new twist on the usual formula in the Thursday Styles. Veering from his usual menswear beat, he is tasked with covering the mammoth Forever 21 in Times Square (Did La Ferla refuse?). Rather than focus on the store's puny men's department, he brings along a specially recruited team of women, Ace, Fleur and Bolt.

We're already over Forever 21, so we are really more intersted in this expert shopping trio. Are those their real names? Did he find them on a soap opera? In a comic book? On the Powerpuff Girls? Are they all really him making cunning use of a heretofore undisclosed multiple personality disorder? The store has something of a through-the-looking-glass effect on Caramanica, who finds himself distracted by the most curious things,

Spending hours in the store delivered a disorienting funhouse effect. Near the jewelry section, I tried on a huge black bow on a headband ($4.80) that would let me pass for Tavi Gevinson at any future runway show. Fleur put on a surprisingly elegant pendant with white feathers ($10.80) and absent-mindedly began walking around the store while overhead speakers quietly spit out songs by Vampire Weekend and Dirty Projectors — or perhaps, by Chinese and Vietnamese bands that sound almost the same but cost a lot less.

Ooh, BURN! The chain will never live down its unscrupulous knock-off reputation. Despite the frenzied activity that exists in the store at all hours, neither our shopper nor his trio of superheroine assistants found very much to impress, bow headbands aside, of course. Bolt even lobs the lowest of fashion insider insults at the place: “All this stuff looks very Whitney Port to me.”


Critical Shopper |  Forever 21: Four Floors, One Mission. Go. By Jon Caramanica
Forever 21 1540 Broadway between 45th & 46th Streets, Times Square

Jon Caramanica Goes Shopping:

Distasteful Logo Edition

04critic-1-popupThis week's Critical Shopper, Jon Caramanica  takes us to the huge, flashy new American Eagle Outfitters flagship store in Times Square or, as we like to call it, the store that ate Howard Johnson's.
His main problem with the chain is not its ubiquity, banality, questionable quality or the fact that the cargo shorts that look cute and jaunty on teenage models often wind up looking saggy and droopy on actual civilians. No, he is unsatisfied with the store's eagle-in-flight logo.
Taking up barely a square inch on the left side of the chest of a shirt, an insignia can scream much more loudly than the remaining yard of fabric it’s not attached to. And, yes, it matters. Style is as much perception as intent; a careful outfit can be undone by one small misstep.
Really? That's the problem?
We have to say that a couple of years ago we found ourselves with a $50 gift card to American Eagle and we like to never found anything we wanted to buy in that place. We wound up with plain gray tee shirts, but even they weren't free from the logo, which was stamped near the hem.
Actually, the logo is the least of our objections. We think it's kind of attractive, even majestic. It's its association with the mall store that bug us. We may just be too snobby for AE, as if you hadn't figured that out by now. Or maybe just too old. After much trying on and rejecting, however, Caramanica apparently found an item worth purchasing, though he refuses to identify it.
Now what kind of reporting is that?
Critical Shopper | American Eagle Outfitters: An Eagle That Carefully Plucks Its Feathers by Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
American Eagle Outfitters Flagship 1551-1555 Broadway at West 46th Street, Times Square