SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Multibrand Sample Sale 'Clearances' Will Keep You Shopping Through The End Of Summer

Yes, The Shophound isn't dead, we have just been taking something of a summer vacation, processing the sad news that one of New York's iconic department stores, Lord & Taylor is shuttering its Fifth Avenue flagship while two major new entries, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom prepare their Manhattan arrivals slated for next year, both in unproven neighborhoods.
But that's all great for pricey grab-it-ass-soon-as-it-hits-the-floor shopping —which we have nothing against— but this time of year is either the time to breathlessly await those first new, fresh shipments of fall runway collections or, more pertinently, the time to hunt down those double-reduced, take an extra 30% to 50% off, end-of-season clearance bargains. Or both.
We have missed covering a few of the usual sample sales over the past month, and noticed that there ave been a few M.I.A. participants (no J.Crew Sample Sales this summer?) While some of our stalwart Sample Sale presenters have been doing their best to keep things rolling, this month is when we are seeing the final, clearance of the clearance sample sales. The owner of the city's busiest sample sale venues, 260 Sample Sale, has been running a Summer sale event at its Greene Street location in SoHo through next Sunday August 12th combining unsold merchandise form previous sales including labels like Diane von Furstenberg, Nicole Miller and Monique L'huillier to name a few. Less well publicized is the ongoing 260 Sample Sale Clearance Store that opened a couple of months ago at 704 Broadway in NoHo. There's no knowing how permanent such a shop is, but the random collection includes many of the upscale labels that 260 is known for at deeply discounted prices. This one os dyed in the wool sale forager, but there are finds to be found there.
Privé, which regularly pops up in the Chelsea Market, will offer multiple brands from today through Sunday the 5th as well as from next Thursday the 7th through Sunday the 12th. No specific brands are listed, but Privé regularly presents sales from Theory and Helmut Lang among many other popular labels.
The other major sale venues, Clothingline and Soiffer Haskin are taking August off, but for the die-hard shopper there are still some A-List sample sales coming up this month including a one-day moving sale from Yigal Azrouël, menswear stalwart Bonobos, athletic upstart Outdoor Voices and, yes, another Helmut Lang sale. As always, we will do our best to keep our SALE ROLL sidebar updated with hours and locations. Happy Summer Shopping.


LONG GOODBYE:

Prepare Your Farewells For Lord & Taylor On Fifth Avenue

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If the legendary Christmas displays do appear in Lord & Taylor's historic Fifth Avenue flagship windows this year, they will be the store's last. After selling the actual building to the voracious real estate consumer WeWork, the department store's parent company Hudson's Bay Co. announced last week that the store would be vacating the premises by the end of this year. To clarify, the chain is not folding, but this location (pictured above) along with a few other underperforming ones will be shuttering to try to stem some of HBC's recent losses.
While it is easy to get nostalgic about the departure of another of New York City's great retailers, one would have to note that this has not been as beloved a shopping destination as it's various owners over the years would have hoped it could be. The original plan was for HBC to simply maximize the building's value by selling it and leasing it back, a scheme that over the years has been frequently implemented. The Goodman family still owns the building that houses Bergdorf's where Neiman Marcus has paid its rent for decades. A similar arrangement exists at Bloomingdale's, and the initial plan for Lord & Taylor was for the store to be downsized, and for WeWork to lease out upper floors. In fairness, the mammoth store could easily have lost a few floors and consolidated its offerings for a more concise presentation and shopping experience, but, in the end, even that plan apparently didn't seem viable. While many retailers have been challenged by changing customer habits, this particular branch of Lord & Taylor also suffered from the same problem it has had for decades: Location, location, location.
One could argue that if the store had been situated a few blocks south at 34th street, which remains a teeming shopping corridor, it might have been able to survive, even thrive. By the time you get to 38th and Fifth, however, the crowds dissipate dramatically. For many years, Lord & Taylor had a genteel fellow anchor in B.Altman at 34th and Fifth, but that store has been gone since the late 80s early 90s department store bloodbath that also took out Gimbels, Bonwit Teller, Stern's and A&S. For a long time, shopping on Fifth Avenue was primarily concentrated in the stretch between Saks Fifth Avenue at 49th Street and Bergdorf Goodman at 58th. Thanks to chain stores like Zara, H&M, Urban Outfitters and others, the past decade has seen a resurgence that extended south to the New York Public Library at 42nd Street, but not to the one block further that would have brought shoppers to Lord & Taylor. It didn't help that the store's longtime owner, The May Co., seemed to have had a conflicted attitude toward what was supposed to be the crown jewel in its fleet of regional retail nameplates which have since been converted into Macy's branches. While they attempted to maintain the store's prestige with a continuing department of high-end designer women's apparel that was mostly ignored by its customers, they didn't bother to keep the store's interiors updated, allowing it to become increasingly dilapidated and outmoded. May was actually forced to sell the store when it merged with Macy's, and subsequent owners including HBC made commendable efforts to modernize, including major renovations that finally brightened the store's ambiance. Renewed emphasis on younger skewing merchandise and novelty departments would not, unfortunately, be enough to save the location, and by year's end, Lord & Taylor customers will have to make their way to Paramus, or Yonkers, or maybe Scarsdale, Manhasset or Garden City —New Jersey or New York, take your pick.
Lord & Taylor's historic store is not the only troublesome property that HBC unloaded last week. It also sold the flash sale retailer Gilt Group to its main competitor Rue La La. The once pioneering website had already fallen far since its heyday of discounted luxury designer goods when HBC bought it a few years ago. The hope that making it a more prestigious adjunct to its Saks Off Fifth outlet division did not pan out as the increasing scarcity of the prized designer labels it once sold in abundance made it hard to attract those wealthy customers that once descended upon the site at noon for its daily release of new merchandise. It seems unlikely that Gilt will be able to do that for Rue La La, but its new parent claims that it will maintain the two brands as distinct entities. Best of luck to them.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

GANT, Mara Hoffman & Brunello Cucinelli Lead This Week's Sales

The steady stream of spring sample sales flows on as shoppers lined up today on Houston Street to gain entry to MARA HOFFMAN's sale this morning in SoHo. They will likely be swarming through the weekend as the increasingly popular contemporary designer draws them in. Here are some highlights for the rest of the week's offerings:

There was less of a line outside the GANT sale a block away, this morning. While the sale will be running through the weekend, the brand's more conservative direction over the past few seasons may have cooled the demand among sample sale shoppers. The prices are very good, but, as has been the case these days with Gant, the majority of the offerings are actual samples, so the size ranges for most items is very limited.

In last minute additions, popular luxury designer BRUNELLO CUCINELLI will be holding a seasonal sale through Friday in Midtown. Expect major reductions on designer apparel for men and women including cashmere knitwear, with the caveat that deep discounts on wildly expensive clothes still leave some wildly expensive prices.

Over at Clothingline in the Garment District, the recent R13 sale is getting a three day continuation alongside CP COMPANY and EFM menswear among other labels.

For the whole family, AUTUMN CASHMERE will be opening its showroom through Friday featuring Men's Women's and Kids' collections for Spring 2018 at deep discounts.

For hours and locations along with more information on sales from Elie Tahari, Red Valentino, Pono, Montblanc, Quinn and more, see our SALE ROLL sidebar at left.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

It's Super Sale Tuesday With Rag & Bone vs. Paul Smith, Elie Saab vs. Marchesa & More

It's a cavalcade of designers going head to head with sample sales today and for the rest of the week. Let's dive in while the merchandise is fresh.

TUESDAY MAY 15
This is one busy Tuesday with several big draws opening all at the same time. Our friends at 260SampleSale have set heavy hitters RAG & BONE at 260 Fifth Avenue and PAUL SMITH on Wooster Street against each other through the rest of the week. The Paul Smith preview had the anticipated bounty of product, especially in shoes, but the Rag & Bone selection was noticeably slimmer that what we have come to expect from that label —unless there is more merchandise coming in. They both have 6 days of business to fill.
On a more extravagant level, couturiers, ELIE SAAB at Soiffer Haskin and MARCHESA at Shelly & Renée will be competing for luxe eveningwear shoppers with high budgets even at sample sale prices.
Also opening on Tuesday, contemporary designers VERONICA BEARD, HILTON HOLLIS, and NANETTE LEPORE along with luxe cildrenswear from BONPOINT.

WEDNESDAY MAY 16
Designer sneaker fanatics will be lining up on Greene Street near Houston Street for the BUSCEMI sale for men and women. Get there early.
Denim-heads can expect savings of up to 75% off at the DL 1961 sale in the Garment District for two days.

THURSDAY MAY 17
Look for an enthusiastic crowd as THE NEWS showroom begins its three day sale in SoHo featuring COMMON PROJECTS, TIM COPPENS, OFFICINE GÉNÉRALE among several other directional international labels.
Up in Chelsea, fashion veteran KIMORA LEE SIMMONS opens her showroom for 2 days to offer savings on her elegant signature collection.
Cult denim and sportswear label R13 will also be attracting a motivated following for its 4-day sale in SoHo.

SUNDAY MAY 20
Finally, you can cap off the weekend by dressing your bed in sumptuous sheets from Italian label FRETTE. Bath linens, Gifts and other Accessories will also be included through Wednesday.

Be sure to keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours and locations as well as late breaking events.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Rebecca Minkoff, Helmut Lang, Jimmy Choo & Derek Lam Lead A Packed Sale Week

Yes, folks, the sample sale season has heated up. Last week we saw crowd packers like Herschel Supply and a triple hitter including S'well, Nest and Moleskine, and this week we have volume, volume volume with every venue full as designers and makers start clearing out inventory as cancellation dates take effect and space needs to be made for next season's goods. Here's a rundown by day of some of the week's highlights:

MONDAY MAY 7
Save up some line-standing time for REBECCA MINKOFF, making her reliable return to 260 Fifth Avenue with her reliable mix of well prices bags, shoes and contemporary fashion. the Men's Uri Minkoff label will also be featured but they will have to fight the faithful Minkoff ladies for entry.

TUESDAY MAY 8
HELMUT LANG is first on the docket for Tuesday now at 260SampleSale's Spring Street location. It's currently a label in flux, so it's hard to know exactly what will be there, but look for minimalistic looks and possibly some re-issued Lang classics.
CHRISTOFLE runs a close second with its seasonal visit to Soiffer Haskin through the weekend. It's an excellent place to grab a luxe Mothers' Day gift if your Mom's into silver tabletop and accessories items. It will share space with Italian jeweler PAOLO COSTAGLI.
Luxury hosiery fans will know to keep an eye out for WOLFORD's sale at its Seventh Avenue showroom running for three days through Thursday.

WEDNESDAY MAY 9
It's time for JIMMY CHOO as the designer shoe sample sales roll out this season. Three public shopping days at the Metropolitan Pavilion will feature discounts up to 80% on Women's and Men's shoes that can be reliably counted on to pull crowds. To manage them, the company is requiring an online RSVP. CLICK HERE and enter the code ROMY. We are told that they are strict.
After you have got your shoes, head to Bond Street for SELIMA OPTIQUE's seasonal sale featuring her quirky new and vintage eyewear, apparel and accessories
While you are downtown, DEREK LAM will be filling up 260SampleSale's third location on Wooster Street through the weekend with both his signature label and the 10 CROSBY diffusion collection.

THURSDAY MAY 10
What started as an eco-socio-conscious denim and t-shirt line from Bono called EDUN has evolved into a more sophisticated designer collection, and it will be available at up to 90% off at its Grand Street showroom in SoHo for three days. Look for bargains form the Spring 2017 collection and more.

A look at our SALE ROLL sidebar at left will show even more sales, so be sure to check there for hours and locations.
Next week, even more heavy hitters come out as Paul Smith and Rag & Bone go head to head with much more to come.


CHAIN GANG:

MUJI Unveils A Major Makeover For Its Original U.S. Store

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Photo courtesy of MUJI

Has really been over 10 years since the Japanese concept retailer MUJI made its American debut on a slightly offbeat block of Broadway in SoHo? That was way back in November of 2017, and since then, the chain has charmed shoppers in New York, Boston and up and down the coast of California with its deceptively sophisticated mix of minimalistic merchandise ranging from apparel to kitchenware to home furnishings to a plethora of pens and paper goods. It's hard to walk through a Muji store without pondering where one might find a place for a sleek stack of polypropylene drawers just to make things a bit tidier around the house. As the chainlet expanded through a series of increasingly spacious stores throughout the city, its original location began to feel a little bit cramped. Despite the fact that it has remained the highest volume location in the U.S., the past few months have seen the store undergo a dramatic update that added a new shopping floor and a multi-fold expansion of its square footage. With the new expansion unveiled over the weekend, SoHo shoppers now have the full assortment of Muji offerings including fragrances and skin care and extra services like an embroidery station for personalization. Now that Muji's most productive location has been upgraded, the company will turn its attention towards other unexplored U.S. regions. The East and West coasts have discovered and embraced the concept of simple but well designed, useful things, the next Muji stores will start appearing closer to the middle of the country to see if the midwest takes to the stores with the same enthusiasm as the coasts have.

See below to browse a gallery of the newly revamped SoHo store at 455 Broadway (Between Grand and Howard Streets)
Scroll and click each image for a larger view.
Images courtesy of MUJI


FLAGSHIP FLASH:

Nordstrom's First Men's Store Makes The Chain's NYC Debut

NordstromMensOpening
The doors are finally open at Nordstrom's first New York City store. It has been a long wait for the company to finally enter the city, and though it has already opened a series of off-price Nordstrom Rack stores here, this is the first iteration of the retailer's full-price concept to reach NYC, even if it is really an adjunct unit to the grand flagship store still under construction across Broadway. That store is now projected to open in time for the Fall 2019 season.
Of course, this is no ordinary Nordstrom branch. Not only is it the company's first all-menswear store, but it is also the rare unit that has been constructed within an existing building creating some unusual architectural challenges that we will get to later. First, let's get to the important bit: What's in the store? Those New Yorkers who don't get to suburban malls very often may not be familiar with Nordstrom's merchandising strategy. For Manhattanites, it can probably be best compared to Bloomingdale's (minus the furniture, kitchen and home furnishings departments) in the sense that it's merchandise can range, depending on the location, from Misses and Young Men's categories up to the most exclusive international luxury labels. On the whole, it is one of the most important mens retailers in the country, and most of its vendors can reliably count it as its biggest retail client by far, so a separate men's store makes sense for the chain. It also allows the retailer to open in the city about 18 months ahead of the rest of its splashy main flagship. Nordstrom has traditionally had something of a middle-of-the road fashion image as far as menswear goes, but it has has gone about updating that over the past decade. For this store, the first designer racks you see entering through the doors on Broadway between 57th and 58th streets belong to Gosha Rubchinsky, Loewe and Comme des Garçons Homme Plus. That makes a hard won statement. Nordstrom merchants have made an effort to play down the most popular (and lucrative) brands it carries in favor of labels with more limited distribution or the kind of cult appeal that will excite jaded New York shoppers. So there are Moscot sunglasses mixed in amongst the more ubiquitous Tom Ford and Gucci frames. While Tommy Bahama has been excused from this particular store, high volume producers Theory and Hugo Boss are still there, but pushed toward the back. 
Downstairs, there is a coffee bar, a blander casual sportswear section and the centerpiece of any Nordstrom store: the shoe department. Here is where the store's more egalitarian ethos comes into focus most clearly. It takes up a large section of the block-long floor and features an assortment that ranges from Timberland to Christian Louboutin. There are lavish Gucci sneakers only a few steps away from more prosaic Nikes and Adidas and everything in between arrayed just a few steps further. Up on the second floor, high fashion designer collections share quarters with Tailored clothing. Collections like Dior Homme, Givenchy, Valentino and Calvin Klein 205W39NYC are in the spotlight with distinct mini-shops proving the store's luxury bona fides as more classic upscale sportswear takes shoppers into the suit department. Rather than the extensive banks of suit racks that you may still see in some more traditional Nordstrom locations, the emphasis here is more on fashion as well with patterned shirts and surprisingly few ties on display. In the back corner we found  a full bar for those brave enough to drink and shop with a private shopping are tucked behind it.
As expected the store was operating with a full, beaming sales staff. You can't reasonably be annoyed that every associate goes out of their way to greet you when it is opening day, but , to their credit, they were neither cloying nor overbearing, just generally friendly and available if you needed them.  Also seen was a full complement of Nordstrom executives looking alternately proud and anxious, along with the inevitable scouts from other retailers curious to see what the new entrant is bringing to the game. We spotted Bergdorf Goodman and Neiman Marcus Men's Fashion Director Bruce Pask snooping around the shoe department, and you can confidently assume that by now, his counterparts at Saks, Bloomingdale's and Barneys have all been through the place with a fine toothed comb.
As far as the store itself goes, its unorthodox footprint presents it with an unusual challenge, a split main floor, due to the main entrance of the office building above at 300 Columbus Circle. This separate section is accessible from both the upper and lower floors, but not from the rest of the main floor, not unlike the predicament Bergdorf Goodman found itself in when its mens store opened in 1990 while it waited five years for one small store on Fifth Avenue to run out its lease. Nordstrom, however is unlikely to recapture that space like Bergdorf's eventually did, and its side store is currently devoted to jeans, fragrance and grooming and a specialty electronics department. It's the concession they made to get to New York. It seems like everyone has to make one on some level —however real or figurative. We aren't worried that it will hold them back too much. The store was certainly busy with curious shoppers who looked like they were also eagerly buying. Nordstrom has opened the first major men's store in the city since Bergdorf's spun off its men's department into the former FAO Schwarz space 28 years ago. That tells you what a challenging market it is to enter. One thinks one the withering defeat that the much admired Louis, Boston suffered when its ambitious New York store ended its brief tenure in the late 1980s. That unfortunate rejection by locals has scared off some retailers from other cities for decades. Nordstrom has been trying to open a flagship in New York for even longer than that. While they aren't completely done yet, They have made a strong start. Thanks to suburban branches in the New York and New Jersey suburbs, they are not an unknown interloper to proud NYC shoppers, but a well liked mainstay they have been anticipating. So far, it looks like Nordstrom will not disappoint.


GROCERY GAME:

The Trader Joe's Sign Goes Up On Columbus Avenue

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It's been a tedious wait for the Trader Joe's on Columbus Avenue to open, and while it hasn't happened yet, we are getting close. This week, we saw the sign being affixed above the future store's entrance at Columbus Avenue and 93rd Street, which means the official opening (still listed as "coming soon" on the chain's website) can't be too far away. A look through the store's large, uncovered windows tells us that the check-out registers are hooked up, and the shelves appear are ready to be stocked. Anyone who has had to experience the winding check-out line of the cramped, multi-level Trader Joe's at 72nd and Broadway will appreciate a second unit on the Upper West Side to alleviate the teeming crowds at busy shopping times —or perhaps there will just be more teeming crowds. At least they will be more convenient for us here at Shophound HQ.  The new store will also add a relatively affordable food store for the West 90s neighborhood which, despite Whole Foods and Westside Market branches within a few blocks, has only a Gristedes and a tiny Associated to serve as traditional supermarkets. We are projecting an opening within the next few weeks, if not sooner.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

A Rare Brooks Brothers Warehouse Sale Kicks The Sample Sale Schedule Back Into Gear With Proenza Schouler, Ghurka, Saturdays NYC & More

it's been a relatively quiet few months on the Sample Sale front, but it's about time for that to change as retailers are closing in on cancellation dates for Spring deliveries, and designers are getting ready to unload overstock and empty out their warehouses. One such warehouse is that bastion of classicism, BROOKS BROTHERS, who launched a three day shoe and accessory warehouse today just around the corner from its Midtown flagship. While the venerated retailer's elevated fare may still bee too stodgy for the fashion-y crown, it's shoe offerings have always had fans across the boars, and with most of the offerings at this sale priced at 80% off the original retail price, this will be a blowout for as long as the stock lasts. A visit this morning showed that selection may vary depending on size, so if you are a very popular size (sorry 9Ds) there may not be as many styles available as you would hope. Bog and tiny-footed folk may fare better, and the makers available include Red Wing, Allen Edmonds, the exclusive English label Peal & Co., and shoe connoisseur favorite Edward Green, whose pricey label the retailer appears to be dropping.
If shoes aren't your bag, then there are plenty of other bargains to be found like chunky knitted cashmere mufflers for under $50, hats from Stetson and Locke & Co. and various leathergoods from wallets to formal briefcases. While there is a selection of women's merchandise, the vast majority of the offerings are for men. You will immediately know if this is a sale you can't miss, and you have until Thursday to shop.

Also along the classic line, traditional leather brand GHURKA has returned to the sale schedule this week through Thursday offering up to 75% off bags and accessories for men and women, and promising enough product to fill Soiffer Haskin's cavernous facility.

Back to clothes, British contemporary sportswear chain REISS LONDON is at 260 Fifth Avenue starting today through Sunday featuring up to 70% off its men's and women's collections.

For a little bit more rarefied tastes, the celebrated PROENZA SCHOULER will be offering up to 70% off its apparel, shoes and accessories on Wooster Street in SoHo starting on Wednesday the 21st. Look for long lines of style obsessed shoppers.

Also on Wednesday, men's casual label SATURDAYS NYC will be taking up residence in Chelsea Market offering sportswear, shoes and beach basics through Sunday .

Bridal and Evening specialist ROMONA KEVEZA has become a red carpet regular, but her bridal wear also fuels her business. Both are expected to be on offer starting on Thursday for three days on Greene Street in SoHo.

Finally, Sunday brings the return of JOHN HARDY to Soiffer Haskin for the brand's seasonal clearance featuring Sterling silver, gold and precious gemstones at up to 65% off regular prices.

See our SALE ROLL sidebar for hours and locations as well as late-breaking events. Coming up, look for big names like Versace along with popular brands like Milly, The Kooples, Desigual and more.


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

UNIQLO's Tomas Maier Collection Arrives In 2 Months
—See The Lookbook Now

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All Images: UNIQLO.com

It's a collection for fans made by a fan. Uniqlo's announcement that it was collaborating with Bottega Veneta creative director Tomas Maier has caused a stir of excitement among the quiet but expansive base of customers who like casual but stylish clothing that may not turn heads like the latest Paris runway confection, but express sophisticated style in subtler ways. Most of these individuals are already Uniqlo customers, drawn in by their well priced basic cashmeres in other prosaic items as well as the erstwhile +J collection that the designer Jil Sander designed between luxury gigs and, more recently, the Lemaire collaboration that morphed into a permanent, premium Uniqlo U "LifeWear" line. It turns out that Maier himself is a Uniqlo fan as well, so who better than he to merge the style of his own signature label with the mind-boggling production capabilities of the Japanese mega-chain. Maier and Uniqlo fans will be waiting and ready when the Tomas Maier x Uniqlo collection arrives online on the evening of May 17th, and in stores on the 18th.
While he is best known for his extravagant Bottega Veneta designs, the collaboration will be done under Maier's own label. While it has been a niche brand, it actually predates his Bottega days, and is now being more heavily supported as a result of the designer's most recent contract renewal with the owners of his day job. This collaboration appears to be part of the program to raise Maier's own profile, and it expresses the casual, beachy look of his brand. The color palette includes recognizable hues from earthy neutrals as a base with shots of vibrant reds, oranges and purples. The military fatigues he has interpreted so many times make an appearance in versions of a multi pocketed jacket for men and women, meant to top swimwear for both. Maier's palm tree insignia is incorporated into prints and discreetly embroidered at the hem of tees and polo shirts, while other military details abound on shorts, and women's skirts. As with other designer collaborations from the chain, the styles will appear familiar to those who have followed Maier's label, but they will come in at Uniqlo prices, so be prepared for multiple purchases to stock up. It will be perfectly timed to provide a smart summer brach wardrobe, giving us two solid months to save up. See the collection in action below with the entire lookbook below, or click HERE to see each item in the complete collection (with prices) online to make your early picks. 


Scroll horizontally & Click each image for a larger view


HUMAN RESOURCES:

Riccardo Tisci To Take On Burberry Design Job ASAP

RTisciWell, you cannot say that he doesn't take full advantage of the element of surprise.
Riccardo Tisci, who exited his star-making creative role at Givenchy just over a year ago, will step into the Chief Creative Officer role at Burberry, ending speculation about what the next moves would be for both the designer and the brand. Burberry's much admired former creative leader Christopher Bailey presented his farewell collection just weeks ago, and it was expected that the next collection for the British heritage house would be created by an anonymous design team, but Tisci will be on the job fast enough to present his first collection in September, to great anticipation. The move re-unites Tisci with former Givenchy CEO Marco Gobbetti, who currently serves in the same role at Burberry. 
The move raises a few questions about Burberry's future direction. Over the past few years, the brand has merged its luxury "Prorsum" runway collection with its more accessible Burberry London and Brit labels for a unified brand presentation that pulled the label out of the top tier luxury segment, a move that has had mixed results for several brands who have executed similar consolidations. Last year, Gobbetti promised to reposition Burberry at the top of luxury segment, which would fit with the strategy of bringing in an experienced couturier like Tisci as creative director. That could mean some changes in distribution strategies for the brand which might affect its retail partners. As for Tisci, he managed to transform Givenchy with a combination of opulent women's collections and increasingly sporty men's presentations with an aesthetic ranging from the most ornate, Goth inspired ballgowns and Oscar red-carpet fare to sweatshirts festooned with intriguing prints and patterns. The breadth of his design aesthetic should serve him well at Burberry which has offered a similar range of products alongside its core product line, the ultra-classic trench coat. Upon his surprise departure from Givenchy last year, where things seemed to be chugging along nicely for all parties, rumors were strong that he would be joining Versace as its design chief as soon as his non-compete requirement had expired, but that presumption seemed to falter in recent months as some suspected that Tisci might revive his own short-lived label fueled with the fame and design clout he had built up while at Givenchy. He had been designing a sneaker and sportswear collaboration under his own name with Nike that had been well received, but it is likely that that team-up is finished with Tisci's new position. "I have an enormous respect for Burberry's British heritage and global appeal and I am excited about the potential of this exceptional brand,” says the designer in a statement. “I am honoured and delighted to be joining Burberry and reuniting with Marco Gobbetti." Fashion fans will be waiting anxiously to see what the new collaboration has to offer as one more of the industry's "orphan" star designers finally finds a home.


EXIT STAGE LEFT:

Barneys Has Ditched The Upper West Side

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While the imminent arrival of Nordstrom near Columbus Circle has retailers reevaluating the retail potential of the Upper West Side, Barneys New York has quietly shuttered its location at Broadway between 75th and 76th Streets. The store was originally born in 2004 as a co-ed Co-op location and then transformed into a more luxe Barneys New York branded boutique exclusively offering women's merchandise featuring more expensive designer-level apparel, footwear and handbags. The problem, however, even in the store's initial Co-op days, has always been the mantra of real estate agents everywhere: Location, location location.
You don't have to be a real estate savant to know that an upscale apparel shop on the Upper West Side would belong not on Broadway, a stone's throw from Fairway, Zabar's and Citarella, but two blocks east on Columbus Avenue amongst the Rag & Bone and Theory boutiques. While Brooks Brothers appears to have found some success near Lincoln Center and also on Broadway in the 80s, fashion on Broadway has tended to top out at chain stores like Banana Republic and Gap. Even the fabled, sprawling Upper West Side mini-chain Charivari of decades ago kept its casual unit on Broadway while its directional designer boutiques were on Columbus —and that was in the go-go 1980s.
The location was never a winner for Barneys in either of its incarnations. As a Co-op store, it was the smallest of the spin-off chain's Manhattan branches, and made for a cramped shopping experience, even if its premium denim and somewhat more affordable contemporary fare was well-suited to the general demographics of the area. Despite only a smattering of upscale apparel retail north of Columbus Circle, The Upper West Side provides a wealthy customer base that has been traditionally under-served when it comes to fashion. As Barneys revamped its direction in 2013, the transformation of its Upper West Side shop into a more minimalistic women's-only boutique with luxurious designer offerings felt much more out of place with its four-figure handbags and stock of Manolo Blahnik heels on Broadway flanked by Lululemon and other more prosaic food and service merchants —the right store in the right neighborhood on the wrong street. Additionally, the store was never really big enough to reflect the full expression of the Barneys New York brand, which is associated with large, department-store sized locations. It was like a tiny Barneys that wasn't really much of a Barneys.
As you can see in the photo above, the former micro-Barneys' shelves and racks are now bare. Commercial Observer tells us that it closed on February 18th, but that the lease runs through the end of 2023. One would hope that a replacement tenant can be installed soon, but given glut of overpriced retail space that stands empty for extended periods of time all over Manhattan, the potential for it to become another white elephant storefront is unfortunately high.


COLLABORATION ANTICIPATION:

Uniqlo Taps Tomas Maier For Its Next Capsule Collaboration

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There as once a moment when it seemed like designer collaborations were everywhere in every chain you saw in the mail. The craze may have cooled, but it hasn't disappeared completely, and for certain chains, it has been an an going tool for creating buzz and generating traffic. One of those chains is Uniqlo, and today the Japanese apparel giant announced that it was joining forces with Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier for a summer capsule collection under his own label. Whether or not this will be a one-off event or the beginning of a series of product drops remains to be seen. One of Uniqlo's current LifeWear collaborators, J.W.Anderson is about to deliver his second (and last?) collection for the chain, though a floor-up season for these projects are usually only announced after the initial collection has been accepted by customers. French model-turned-designer Inès de la Fressange seems to have an ongoing arrangement with Uniqlo, while Christophe Lemaire became the permanent designer of a new sub-brand, Uniqlo U, after two seasons of his collaboration. We shouldn't get ahead of ourselves, or Mr. Maier. All we know so far is that the collection will be arriving sometime this summer, and it will reflect the sensibilities of Maier's own signature collection. Unlike the opulent luxury items he creates for Bottega Veneta, Maier's own label features more casual, relaxed sportswear in luxury materials. Call them luxe basics. Now he will be creating affordable versions of his collection for a chain most known for well priced, simple basics in quality materials. This one will be yet another collaboration to save up for. Though it's too early for preview images, we are looking forward to some irresistible clothes and accessories for both men and women to come out of this team up.


SAMPLE CIRCUIT:

Nicholas K, Brian Atwood, Freemans Sporting Club, Canali & More Keep The Winter Sample Sales Humming

It is the dreary time of year when retail therapy may be the only way to get through short, cold days until Spring finally starts to take hold. This week, the Sample sale schedule has been doing its part to lift shoppers' spirits, starting with a debut in nomad from beauty and fragrance chain RITUALS. Customers have been responding well to the sale this week featuring bath and body indulgences along with gift sets and beauty items open through Sunday.

Also this week, designer NICHOLAS K enlisted 260SampleSale for the first time for his women's sample sale in SoHo. Look for savings on the advanced Contemporary collection also through Sunday. For good measure, last week's HERVE LEGER archive sale has been extended through Sunday. The label has recently changed hands, and is due for a revamp, relaunch or repositioning of some sort, so this may be the last chance for a while to pick up an iconic bandage dress.

For anyone with a taste for more advanced fare, the esteemed SoHo boutique IF is holding its seasonal basement sale through Sunday. Look for directional European labels like Margiela, Dries Van Notes and more at below-wholesale prices while they last.

For the tried and true menswear classicists, Lower East Side boutique FREEMANS SPORTING CLUB is holding its winter sale from Friday to Sunday at its Rivington Street boutique. Known for its timeless, meticulously constructed men's tailored clothing and sportswear, she label has evolved from Lower East Side pseudo-heritage brand trailblazer to classic clothing mainstay, and looks like a weekend must for men who are disenchanted with the parade of sneakers and streetwear that fashion seems be pushing on them these days.

This weekend, designer BRIAN ATWOOD appears to be holding a final clearing out of his stock of women's designer shoes advance of an expected relaunch of his signature brand. Fans looking for past favorite styles should be expected to turn up at the East Village Standard Hotel's penthouse on Friday and Saturday for a last chance before, hopefully, Atwood is ready to reveal the next steps for his brand.

Finally, Italian menswear mainstay CANALI will be taking over Soiffer Haskin for four days starting on Sunday with discounts on its luxurious men's tailored clothing, sportswear and accessories. It will be stock-up time for suited gentlemen looking for something more than middle-of-the-road classics.

Be sure to keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for hours and locations as well as any late-breaking events


COMING SOON:

Trader Joe's Next NYC Store Will Come With 2-Buck Chuck

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At this point, a new Trader Joe's is not as unique an event as it used to be, unless it is but a couple of blocks away, as the upcoming Columbus Avenue unit is from Shophound HQ. As we regularly pass breathlessly by the site to gauge progress, we noticed through the recently uncovered front windows that they are starting to install fixtures and registers to the store, suggesting that an opening may be only weeks away. We don't have a firm date yet, but the store at the corner of 93rd Street is listed as 'opening soon' on TJ's website, along with the more unusual news that it will include not just beer but also wine and spirits in its assortment. This will be only the second Trader Joe's liquor store in New York City where it has been notoriously difficult for the chain to navigate the licensing requirements to sell alcohol. Interestingly it will be just down the street from the only Whole Foods around that has a separate liquor store. This may signal fewer obstacles in the future for both chains in adding alcohol to their stores as the Trader Joe's slated for later this year on Spring Street in SoHo is also listed as selling wines and spirits. Perhaps the stores are being more aggressive in achieving their full presentations because, though it's taking a while, and it's going to be all the way in Brooklyn, there's one store on the way that will give both chains a run for their money: Wegmans. Get ready for a grocery way where all New Yorkers might turn out to be the winners.
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