The Comme des Garçons Mega-Sale Is Coming Back With Dover Street Market Too!
More Last Minute Sample Sales

CDG-DSM-SuperMarketMarket-CutWe told you that there would likely be a few last minute sale announcements this week, and we weren't wrong. Like the private JIMMY CHOO sale that went public today at Metropolitan Pavilion (through tomorrow the 5th), Several covetable labels made their sample plans know with only days and even hours to spare, but the big exciting news comes from COMME des GARÇONS who announced that their only-once-every-few-years blowout sale is coming back in a couple of weeks on May 20th for three days at Skylight Clarkson Square, a new venue for them that should hopefully be cavernous enough to mitigate the inevitable long lines that this event has generated in the past. The "Super-Market-Market" will be offering not only every brand user the Comme des Garçons umbrella (and there are always more of those than you think), but also DOVER STREET MARKET brands as well. We're not sure if this means DSM-labeled merchandise and specialty items like their housewares, or if this will be more of a warehouse sale meant to include clearance leftover merchandise from past seasons? Maybe it's a little of both? Either way is fine with us.

But back to this week. There's plenty to fill out your shopping schedule if you weren't already booked up.
Tomorrow, Thursday the 5th, brings a one-day GIAMBATTISTA VALLI sale in West Chelsea that is promising up to 80% off the popular couturier's ready-to-wear collections. It hasn't been fully specified, but we are guessing that the sale would include both the luxurious main collection as well as the more accessible and sporty Giamba line. 

Anyone looking for more prosaic fare should look for JAMES JEANS on Greenwich Street just north of Tribeca where denim for men and women will be 50% to 80% off from Thursday to Friday.

The other longtime seasonal fave happening tomorrow through Saturday is the Staff USA sale in Chelsea featuring the DSQUARED2, MAISON MARGIELA and MM➅ collections for men and women. Bargains aplenty have been known to be found at this event in the past, but novice shoppers should be warned that it is typically heavy on sample sizes. It is a veteran crowd-pleaser, so it's one worth getting up early for.

As always, find details and locations on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left where we do our best to update any other last-minute additions that we catch wind of.


Carson Street Calls It Quits

CarsonStreetClothiersCrosbySt2013Much admired men's store Carson Street announced that it would close its doors at the end of June after just over three years in business.
Originally opened on Crosby Street as Carson Street Clothiers (pictured at right), the store recently made a major move to a larger but somewhat more out-of-the-way space last Fall coinciding with a new abbreviated name and distinct change in direction from a modern, updated classic point of view to a more progressive style. Perhaps it was too much change too fast. Trouble seemed to be brewing earlier this week when cofounder Brian Trunzo announced his exit from the company to pursue his own projects. The store's 2013 debut was highly anticipated by industry watchers as an audacious project from menswear fans but retailing outsiders Trunzo and Matt Breen. The shop's construction was chronicled on, and was greeted with praise when its doors finally opened featuring a well edited assortment of the most favored menswear designers of the moment displayed in a welcoming setting featuring a cozy lounge and friendly salespeople. The location was smartly chosen as Crosby Street became home to more and more complementary stores like Saturdays NYC and Miansai. The arrival of Seattle's Totokaelo last fall seemed to solidify the street as a prime destination for shopping, but Carson Street was already planning to relocate to a block of Greene Street that was further off the beaten path of shoppers.
A new, separate wholesale collection called Deveaux was launched earlier this year at New York Fashion Week Men's for this fall, which may have been one complication too many too many for the still growing company. That business will continue even as the store closes, and is expected to be found at Totokaelo, United Arrows and Spruce according to WWD.
The Shophound will miss browsing through Carson Street's racks, and its always sad to see a promising shop depart before its time, but the predictable silver lining remains what will have to be an excellent G.O.B. sale over the next couple of months.

Carson Street to Close Store (WWD)


Spring Contemporary Sales From J.Lindeberg, Sandro, Maje & More

It's only a few weeks away from Regular retailers' first markdowns, so the Sample Sale schedule continues to heat up for the season. Here are this week's highlights:

It's a great week for trendy, contemporary brands with a continental edge, starting today with popular French sibling chains SANDRO (select items pictured above) and MAJE (select items pictured below). They will be sharing space at 260 Fifth Avenue featuring their signature sleek contemporary apparel, shoes and accessories for men and women.

Downtown at 150 Greene Street in SoHo,  J.LINDEBERG will be taking over the store only a few blocks from its New York flagship with its trend-driven menswear at up to 80% off offering an excellent opportunity for some fashionable menswear at nearly irresistible prices.

Still in SoHo, Franco-Japanese sibling brands PAS DE CALAIS for women and SAGE DE CRÊT for men will be taking over the basement of their boutique at Broome & Wooster for their seasonal sale featuring current and past season merchandise up to 80% off.

On Thursday, popular contemporary brand LAFAYETTE 148 will be relinquishing its showroom at, yes, 148 Lafayette Street for a 75% off sale of merchandise from the past Fall collections for two days only.

Walk over uptown a few blocks to NoHo and find find cult like New York label ZERO MARIA CORNEJO selling apparel, shoes and accessories at up to 75% off including Samples, one-of-a-kind items and regular stock.

Finally, Saturday shoppers can take a detour to Soiffer Haskin near Penn Station for 65% off IMPOLITE Jewelry just in time for Mothers' Day. A special selection of items will be specially proceed at 75% to 80% Off which should be incentive enough to get there early.

It's more than likely that more sales will be announced at the last minute before the end of the week, so keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar for details on all sales. Next week, brace yourself for heavy hitters like Diesel, Rebecca Minkoff and AEFFE's seasonal European designer blowout.


The Met Takes A Turn Toward The Technical With Manus x Machina

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, Lower Level Gallery View: Tailleur and Flou © The Metropolitan Museum of Art

The Met Ball is tonight, and, for the first time, you will be able to watch the red carpet arrivals on E! just as if it were the Oscars or the Golden Globes. What with a splashy documentary about last year's blowout in theaters now, you might be forgiven for forgetting that this weekend, long after the gala detritus has been whisked away form the museum's galleries, there will be a exhibition opening, and this year's entry, Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology, is just a bit different from the lavish extravaganzas of past spring seasons.
The pre-publicity for the exhibition has put the emphasis on the "tech" of the title, which has been underscored by having Apple as a major sponsor, but the shoe is less about "wearable tech" than it is about how technology has shaped the clothes we wear, or maybe, as it focuses mainly on Haute Couture and extremely deluxe Ready-to-Wear, the clothes that just a select few of us wear —or sometimes just the clothes that models wear on the runway.
We aren't sure if the neoprene couture wedding gown by Chanel that sits at the center of the exhibition has ever been worn by anyone in real life, but it is the emblem of the exploration into the merging of cutting edge materials technology snd high fashion that is the concern at hand. In his remarks to the press previewing the exhibition this morning, Andrew Bolton, Curator in Charge of The Costume Institute talked of re-evaluating the exalted status of hand-made objects versus the more mundane view of machine made products.
So the actual exhibition is not the grand, glamorous display we have seen in the past few years, though its emphasis on the inner workings of construction owes something to the recent Charles James retrospective which presented a surprising focus on the engineering structure of his famous sculptural ballgowns. Manus x Machina is a somewhat smaller affair contained entirely in the museum's Robert Lehman Wing which has been transformed into a gauzy white space by a striking arrangement of taut scrims designed by Shohei Shigematsu of OMA New York. Organized around the disciplines of Couture, it highlights the innovations that technology has made possible by juxtaposing vintage fashion with its modern counterparts made in materials that Coco Chanel and Christian Dior could not have dreamed of. See a vintage Chanel tweed suit alongside Karl Lagerfeld's 2015 versions made with an 3-D printed overlay that creates a quilted effect in a mix of high-tech, machine made materials and traditional hand-finished embroideries (pictured above). This is an opportunity for some of the most avant-garde designers to shine and shine they do, chief among them, Iris van Herpen, the Dutch designer who has made a name for herself by pioneering the use of cutting edge materials and 3-D printing to create ensembles that range from elegant to outlandish, but are never less than fascinating, especially when the museum delves into her unusual manufacturing techniques. This is one exhibition where reading the item descriptions really pays off as each item is described by which elements are handmade and which are made by machine. Also well represented is Japanese innovator Issey Miyake, whose famous pleated garments are shown alongside the gowns of the often overlooked Mary McFadden who pioneered the heat-pleating process to great commercial success in the 1970s and 80s, and Mariano Fortuny, whose technique for creating his early 20th Century pleated silk gowns remains a fiercely protected secret still held by his heirs. Also on view are Proenza Schouler's remarkable forays into fabric research, Raf Simons' elaborately constructed creations for Dior, Hussein Chalayan's mechanically automated dresses and more. It is a particularly scholarly detour for the Costume Institute, but it is encouraging to see that the museum is making a move away from some of the exhibitions of the past that had alluring themes but maybe not quite as much much depth as one might have hoped for (remember Punk? Superheroes?). This time, the flash is backed up with real substance.

Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology is at the Metropolitan Museum of Art from May 5 through August 14th.


Max Mara, Billy Reid, Armani, Oscar de la Renta, TOMS, Valentino, Chloé, Nanette Lepore, Aquatalia & More

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Shop well!

Max Mara, Carven, Repetto, Foley & Corinna, Elie Tahari, Gucci, Billy Reid, Leonard & Church Watches, Berge Belts, John Varvatos, Soludos, Saint Laurent Eyewear, Giorgio Armani, Armani Collezioni, Joe's Jeans, Mikoh Swim, Jared Lang, J.Lindeberg Golf, Kenton Michael Bracelets, Robert Graham —join HERE
Salvatore Ferragamo, Charles Krypell Jewelry, Pandora, Hugo Boss, Piazza Sempione, Charles David/Bettye Muller, Max Mara, TKEES,  Gucci Watches, Aquaswiss, Marika, Villeroy & Boch, ATM Anthony Thomas Melillo, WeSC —join HERE
MARC by Marc Jacobs, Mara Hoffman, Kenzo Sun, Hickey Freeman, Oscar de la Renta, Aquatalia, Equipment, DL1961, Junk Food, Mason's, Halston Heritage, Blu Pepper, Lukka Lux, Lindbergh, TailorByrd, Andrew Christian, Heidi Klum Intimates, Elizabeth and James, Athena Footwear, Alternative Apparel, Da-Nang, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, TOMS, Jared Lang —join HERE
Chloé, Nanette Lepore Swim, T.Tahari, Mara Hoffman, Silent Damir Doma, Perry Ellis, Valentino, Howe, The Kooples, Just Cavalli, Isaac Mizrahi, Puma, Tommy Bahama, Kenneth Cole, TOD's, Roibert Graham —join HERE


Insta-Dressing In SoHo Edition

Photo by Emily Andrews for The New York Times

A new Critical Shopper has arrived at the Thursday Styles today. We don't know if Katherine Bernard will take over Molly Young's women's shopping duties permanently, but she does give us a respectable survey of the new Balmain boutique that quietly opened its doors earlier this month in SoHo. Don't worry if you are concerned that glittering label's thirst for publicity is starting to wane. The official opening party is scheduled as this year's Met Ball after-party on Monday night. Now you can picture the requisite Kardashian/West/Jenner extravaganza, and our shopper reminds us that it is almost impossible to make mention of the Balmain brand without also using the words Kardashian and Instagram. She also notes pointedly that Instagram followers do not necessarily translate into throngs of eager customers. Despite Balmain's social media following of multiple millions, the store is a quiet and serene environment in neutral shades of beige and black when she visits mostly because clicking 'like' and 'follow' are free, but owning single piece of Balmain apparel beyond a $365 t-shirt requires four figure investment at minimum. And what of those clothes? They are tight.

These clothes are honest. They hold you. My designer friend tells me that the fabric embrace comes from technically advanced four-way stretch. There’s pull and lift. There’s no darting or corseting, it’s just extremely special fabric.

Ultimately, the experience seems like a taste of fantasy, complete with a salesperson impersonating a paparazzo. For better or worse, Balmain and its once reserved designer Olivier Roustieng has thrown their lot in with social media stars and red carpet glitz. The rabid rush for last Fall's H&M collaboration collection proved that, so if runway walking  in glittery opulence is your aspiration (and within your means), your boutique has arrived.

Critical Shopper: The Balmain Army Steps Out By Katherine Bernard (NYTimes)
Balmain 100 Wooster Street between Spring & Prince Streets, SoHo


Manolo Blahnik's Sample Sale Is Tomorrow


As per usual, the notice is last minute, but pro shoppers know to be prepared.
One of the pinnacles of the sample sale season, the MANOLO BLAHNIK sample sale has been confirmed to start tomorrow, April 27th at its usual Warwick Hotel home on the corner of 6th Avenue and 54th Street. Doors are set to open at 11 AM, which means you should start lining up at about the crack of dawn. Prices will start at $125. Generally, they top out at about $500- $600 for extravagances like alligator or ostrich skin boots. Bring CASH ONLY. No plastic or mobile payment.
As always, beware of aggressive shoe maniacs. If you have been there before, you know what to expect. If you haven't, brace yourself. this is one of the biggies. See our SALE ROLL at left for details, and good shopping luck to you.


Hit Or Miss At Scoop's Warehouse Sale + Helmut Lang, Carven & Christofle

We are just on the edge of where the Sample Sale season starts to heat up, but until that happens next month, there are a few major events not to be missed for Sale mavens.

Today, the SCOOP NYC Warehouse Sale (pictured above and below )makes a return engagement after being MIA for a season. You may understand why after a visit. In past seasons, the sale has been worth lining up for on Day 1, as well as visiting throughout the week as discounts deepened on a ton of designer and contemporary goods for men and women. From what we could gather from last night's preview, however, the merchandise available seemed just more meager than it has been in past seasons, which is probably why it has migrated to 260SampleSale's slightly smaller Greene Street location. On the plus side, though the flyers advertised 75% off, the discount we encountered was already 80%, so things are starting out at almost irresistible discounts —if there turns out to be anything you want. Runs through Sunday.

Uptown at 260 Fifth Avenue, Dancewear brand BLOCH has taken over the store for a rare sample sale featuring all manner of dance footwear and apparel for Women, Men and Chidren. It's a rare opportunity that is likely to turn out all manner of twinkletoes from amateurs to the city's deep bench of professionals. Shop through Sunday.

On Wednesday, contemporary label ALICE & TRIXIE will be offering its 100% silk separates at discounts of 80% off and more for 3 days in the Garment District. As an added enticement, the first 100 customers will receive a free gift with purchase.

Also on Wednesday Sample Sale stalwart HELMUT LANG will open at Chelseas Market featuring Men's and women's collections discounted up to 60% off. This may not, as many regular sample sale shoppers know, be the only Helmut Lang sale we see this season, but each one tends to have something to offer. Shop through Sunday.

Covetable French label CARVEN is launching its first New York sample sale on Thursday for 2 days in West Chelsea. Expect some dedicated fans as the discounts are promised up to 80% off including Samples and Stock for both men and women. Shop through Friday.

Finally, the luxe French silver company CHRISTOFLE is making its seasonal appearance for four days starting this Sunday at Soiffer Haskin offering exceptional discounts on silver and silver plate flatware as well as hollowware, crystal, porcelain and other gifts and jewelry. As usual, they will share the space with a few other labels including JUDITH LEIBER who is promising evening bags, presumably including at least a few of Leiber's famous crystal paved minaudières. Speaking of sparkly things, the sale will also include gold and precious gemstone jewelry from PAOLO COSTAGLI.

Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for times and locations and any late-braking events. Next week, save up for a French sportswear triple header from Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot as well as J.Lindeberg, Piazza Sempione and more.


Billy Reid, Aquazzura, Helmut Lang, Anna Sui, Alexandre Plokhov, Pierre Balmain, Chopard, Havaianas, SWIMS & More

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Shop well!

Rachel Zoe, Isa Tapia Shoes, Lanvin, Stuhrling Watches, English Laundry, 7 for All Mankind, Reem Acra, Ivy Kirzhner Shoes, RACHEL Rachel Roy, Momo Maternity, Splendid, Unsimply Stitched, SWIMS, Alexander McQueen, Lladró, Nespresso, Seda France, UMA  —join HERE
Invicta, Hale Bob, Teri Jon by Rickie Freeman, Blush, Aquazzura, Scott Kay, 2(X)IST, Roxy Girls, Chopard, Havaianas, Frette, Shiraleah —join HERE
Hudson Jeans, Mario Valentino, Romeo & Juliet Couture, SKY, Tommy Hilfiger, Creative Recreation, TUMI, T Tahari, Loveappella, Peter Millar, Invicta, Unsimply Stitched, Nicole Miller, Liebeskind Berlin, Junk Food, Badgley Mischka, Base London, Nudie, Thomas Pink, Billy Reid —join HERE
Helmut Lang, Shae, Anna Sui, L.A.M.B., Forté, Alexandre Plokhov, Mezlan, Ermenegildo Zegna, Pierre Balmain, Dolce & Gabbana Shoes, Balenciaga Accessories, Céline Shoes, Stephen Dweck, PRPS, Tailorbird, Rick Owens/Vivienne Westwood, Timberland —join HERE


Amazon's MyHabit Flash Sale Site To Shutter Next Month

In another sign that the flash sale online shopping model has peaked, Amazon announced today that its MyHabit off price portal will shut down at the end of May. A relative latecomer to the flash sale game, MyHabit debuted in 2011, while sites like Gilt and RueLaLa were thriving, but as the field became oversaturated with too many players fighting over too little bona fide designer merchandise, the fascination with limited online sales cooled. Relative latecomers like Vente Privee bowed out without gaining any traction, and now MyHabit is following it, while Amazon focuses its fashion attention on its other, more full line businesses like ShopBop and its men's counterpart East Dane.

We will miss MyHabit. While the competition was definitely tough, the site managed to regularly offer a good selection of high-end merchandise at deep discounts from luxury brands like Ferragamo and Balenciaga as well as European designers like Jil Sander, DSquared2 and Rick Owens. At this point, however, it seems clear that even the preeminent flash sale sites are either winding down or becoming adjunct to larger, full service off price retailers like Haute Look's joining with Nordstrom Rack and even the once mighty Gilt's recent link-up with new sibling Saks Off-5th. Though My Habit was always connected to Amazon —you could even use their gift cards to shop on the site— its latecomer status kept it from taking advantage of the peak of the flash-sale craze. Its departure may, however, allow for more prized designer goods to be available to the remaining sites like Gilt and RueLaLa, so perhaps there's still hope for remaining flash-sale fans.

Amazon Shuttering (WWD)


Francisco Costa & Italo Zucchelli Out At Calvin Klein As Raf Simons Rumors Swirl

Courtesy Images by Danny Clinch for Calvin Klein

Perhaps his own women's line is not what Raf Simons has in the works after all. Maybe he's heading Stateside.
The revolving door of Europe's biggest designer brands has opened in New York today as the exits of both Francisco Costa and Italo Zucchelli (pictured left and right above), creative directors at Calvin Klein Collection for women and men respectively, have been announced. The company has indicated that all Calvin Klein products will be unified under a single creative director yet to be disclosed, while fashion insiders filled in the blank with Raf Simons' name, a rumor that has apparently been percolating recently. The new creative head will be announced "in due course” according to the company, which is in keeping with the belief that a non-compete clause in Raf Simons' former contract with Dior is delaying the completion of any transition until this summer.
While both Costa and Zucchelli have been credited with maintaining the fashion authority of the Calvin Klein brand after its purchase by PVH and the retirement of it's namesake, commercially, the Calvin Klein Collection business plummeted after Klein's retirement as the company turned its attention toward the newly introduced Calvin Klein White Label moderate line for profits and growth. The Collection lines remained beloved by the press, and Costa was a recipient of the CFDA award. The runway collections gained some traction in recent seasons as the parent company increased support for the neglected lines. Zucchelli's menswear has been embraced by avant-garde retailers like Opening Ceremony and Dover Street Market, and Costa's womenswear has found its way back into Bergdorf Goodman, but not all the way back to the prized, spacious in-store shop overlooking the Plaza  it commanded in its heyday through the 1990s. While Costa has had great success with red carpet dressing, he often dressed his stars in simpler gowns that recalled classic Calvin Klein styles like the sleek red tank gown Jennifer Lawrence wore at her first Oscar ceremony rather than his own more complex runway designs, causing a stylistic disconnect for the collection.
As for Simons, his success at the modernistic Jil Sander as well as his own influential men's label and balancing of ornate and minimalist looks at Dior make him a perfect choice to lead Calvin Klein —if it's true.
We will all have to wait a few months to find out for sure, but the prospect of a Simons led Calvin Klein is a promising idea for one of New York's greatest designer brands.

Francisco Costa, Italo Zucchelli to Exit Calvin Klein, Raf in Wings? (WWD)


Soulcycle, Reiss, Suno & More Hit The Sale Trail

It's a strong Sample Shopping week with with some old favorites making their usual appearances for dedicated fans. Here are the highlights:

You still have two more days to catch JOHN HARDY's sale at Soiffer Haskin which has announced reduced prices on all merchandise through Wednesday if you have been dawdling.

Starting today, fans of fine underpants can line up at HANRO of SWITZERLAND's showroom on Fifth Avenue to replenish their seasonal supply of innerwear as well as loungewear, sleepwear and other underpinnings through Wednesday.

Spinning devotées should be heading to 260SampleSale's SoHo outpost on Greene Street for SOULCYCLE's warehouse sale. Look for about 40% off workout wear for women and men suitable for any kind of exercise even if you aren't into spending hours riding a bicycle to nowhere. Shop through Saturday.

British contemporary chain REISS, which has been known to dress the Duchess of Cambridge as well as plenty of other more humble common folk, will be installed at 260 Fifth Avenue through the weekend offering a sizable 75% their men's and women's collections of clothing, shoes and accessories.

Tomorrow, fans of scented candles —and we know they are legion— can trek out to the vast Starrett Lehigh building in West Chelsea for a two-day NEST FRAGRANCES sale featuring discounts starting at 50% off their deluxe candles and other home fragrances.

Up and coming label SUNO has been off the sale schedule for a bit, but they are back on Wednesday in SoHo with savings on their women's designer apparel. Past sales have been noted for great bargains, so hopes are high for this return.

Yet another Duchess Kate fave, L.K. BENNETT is also opening its Madison Avenue showroom staring on Wednesday through next Tuesday offering savings on British designed apparel, handbags and the shoes that are known to cover those royal feet.

Keeping with the English theme, punk pioneer VIVIENNE WESTWOOD begins another of her much awaited samples sales on Thursday in the Garment district featuring, as expected, the full range of her offerings for men and women from apparel to shoes and accessories. Shop through Sunday the 24th.

Finally, for the guys, GILDED AGE will once again be offering great its great vintage inspired sportswear, shoes and accessories 60% to 80% off retail prices through Sunday in SoHo.

Keep an eye on our SALE ROLL sidebar for times and locations as well as late-breaking sales. Next week, look for Scoop's last-chance-warehouse sale, Bloch's ballet shoes and more.


Lanvin, Bottega Veneta, Robert Lee Morris, Baldwin Denim, Ohne Titel, Todd Snyder, Ray-Ban, Tracy Reese, Michael Bastian & More

Here is your weekly sampling of some of the brands you can expect to find on the bigger online Flash Sale Sites this week. You should click over to the sites themselves for a full schedule of events, and be sure to check for the correct start time for each sale. Shop well!

Lanvin, Valentino, Zadig & Voltaire, Magaschoni, Lalique Jewelry, Alice & Trixie, Ike Behar, Field Scout, Zegna Neckwear, Ray-Ban, Temperley London, Ohne Titel, Velvet by Graham & Spencer, Alexandre Birman, Michael Bastian, Ben Sherman Footwear & Accessories, Diesel Black Gold, Todd Snyder, URBN, Dyson, Cuisinart  —join HERE
Asics, Stuart Weitzman, Cole Haan, Céline Sunglasses, Zwilling J.A. Henckels, Bottega Veneta, Draper James, NYDJ, PAMELLA Pamella Roland, Splendid, TAG Heuer, Montblanc, KWIAT, Satva, RACHEL Rachel Roy, Devotion Vodka —join HERE
Rebecca Minkoff, Oakley, Island Company, Papi, Frye, Black Orchid, Ronny Kobo, Skagen Watches, Baldwin Denim, Pendleton, Vince Camuto Collection, Tracy Reese, Robert Lee Morris, Perricone MD, Kenneth Cole —join HERE
Proenza Schouler Handbags, Longchamp, Schutz, Ellen Tracy Shoes, John Varvatos Footwear, PRPS, Prada Accessories, Timberland Luggage, Salvatore Ferragamo, Diane von Furstenberg, Kenneth Cole, SK-II, Versace Jeans, Vivienne Westwood, Kiton Ties, Tom Ford Sunglasses, Melissa Shoes, ASH, Maui & Sons, Rick Owens, Jared Lang Socks —join HERE


Is Raf Simons Finally Launching His Own Women's Collection?

Image by Willy Vanderperre via WWD

Raf Simons' surprise exit from Christian Dior last year seemed to spark an unprecedented upheaval of Europe's luxury brands with designers leaving or being forced out of what seemed to be secure creative director positions. For Simons part, he was said to be leaving because he wanted to spend more time at home in Belgium and also wanted to focus on his own signature label, the one that brought him his initial fame and had continued uninterrupted even as the designer took on more high profile creative responsibilities first at Jil Sander and then Dior. What is curious about Simons' trajectory is that even as he established his bona fides as a premier women's designer at Sander and Dior, his own label has always been restricted to menswear —until now?
Pitti Uomo, the prestigious mens' trade show that begins its Spring 2017 edition in a couple of months in Florence, has announced that Simons will be given the coveted spotlight this season to present his Spring-Summer 2017 collection and well as a "Special Project". Though this is a men's show, its spotlight is often used as an opportunity to launch new projects including women's or other additional collections. Could that special project be the first official Raf Simons women's collection? It would seem to be the obvious next move for the designer. One of the rumored reasons for his departure from Dior —from a position that fashion watchers are still waiting to be filled— was a lack of autonomy over the highly compartmentalized brand. Though he was responsible for the marquee Haute Couture and Women's ready-to-wear and accessory collections, he had little to no authority over other aspects of the brand such as store design, cosmetics and the choice of celebrity spokesmodels. Most surprising was that instead of turning over Dior Homme to innovative men's designer Simons to create a more unified brand image, Dior decided instead to renew Dior Homme creative director Kris van Assche's contract. It's not that van Assche was failing, but it seemed curious to have one of menswear's most highly regarded designers under the Dior roof but to keep him restricted to women's collections.
Now that Simons has streamlined his professional life, it seems like the perfect time to fortify his own label's profile by finally entering the much larger and potentially more lucrative women's market under his own name with an eye on the female customers he has cultivated over the years at Sander and Dior. Is this the special project set for Pitti? So far no details have been released, and this is pure speculation on our part, but we can't be the only ones who are taking bets on when Raf Simons for women will inevitably be launched. The proverbial iron is still hot, so now would logically be the time to strike before it cools.


Raf Simons to Present at Pitti Uomo (WWD)