Just A Few Fashion Week Sales Featuring BaubleBar, Milly & More

Fashion Week has never been a strong Sample Sale time, and this season is no exception. Still, like Friends reruns, there is always some sample sale running at any given moment.

This week's big draw is likely to be the BAUBLEBAR sale starting today at 260 Fifth Avenue. The popular accessory retailer is promising trinkets starting at a mere $10 through Sunday the 19th, so you almost can't go wrong.

Popular contemporary label MILLY will be having a mono-brand sale at Clothingline starting tomorrow the 16th for three days only. Its promised to be the biggest Milly sale ever featuring all product categories including apparel and handbags.

Jewelry of a more precious kind will be offered on Thursday the 17th when Soiffer Haskin opens a four-day IPPOLITA sale, As usual, this venue requests that you leave the kids at home.

Finally, on Saturday the 19th, sportswear mainstay EILEEN FISHER will have her fans flocking to the East Village just for the weekend to offer 50% off samples from the current Fall season. Follow the shoppers decked out in loose, layered tunics and leggings.

See our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for all details and locations as well as late-breaking events. Next week, make time for luxury lines from Sferra as well as debuts from Links of London and WP Lavori's stable of classic labels including Barracuta, Spiewak and BD Baggies.


Totokaelo Is The New York-iest Store To Ever Come Out Of Seattle

New Yorkers have not always been kind to ambitious fashion retailers from other cities coming to make a splash here. While a store like Jeffrey can boldly arrive from Atlanta and become a popular city fixture, we can never forget when the widely admired Louis Boston arrived here years ago with a lavish midtown store at 57th and Lexington only shutter within a few years, shunned by city shoppers. Naturally, we were wary when we heard that a designer boutique from clear across the country in Seattle called Totokaelo (pronounced Toh-toh-KYE-oh —remember it) would be opening a five-level store next to the back-side of Bloomingdale's in SoHo. How would such a bold move be accepted by New York's discerning and often merciless shoppers who already have an excess of exceptional stores to shop in? After our first visit, however, it seems clear that the store couldn't be better conceived, not for everyone, but specifically for a certain type of New Yorker —specifically that faction of city dwellers who dress along the Belgian/Japanese axis that eschews runway trends in favor of  loose but inventively styled, usually black garments. In fact, the store's stock appears to consist of about 75% black clothes if not more. The women's shoe section featured only a few styles with high, chunky heels, emphasizing esoteric flats and minimalist sneakers instead. This is not the place for shoppers in search of spindly stilettos or glitzy embellishment, but there are plenty of other places to shop for those things in New York. 
With three levels above ground and two below, Totokaelo makes the most of an unusually long and narrow building with staggered floors and double height ceilings creating a deceptively airy atmosphere. There's an open-air terrace at the top for everyone who makes it up all the stairs —an elevator is conspicuously absent from the store's otherwise clever design. Downstairs, there is a small section for denim and basics, and yet another level below is the men's section with a distinctly different ambiance featuring black walls and louder music. The lighting could use some improvement here as drama sometimes trumps actually seeing the clothes, but as with the rest of the store, staffers are friendly and helpful without being oppressive. You will find many of the same designers as in the women's sections like Rick Owens, Marni, Maison Margiela, Acne Studios, Ann Demeulemeester, Yohji Yamamoto and Dries Van Noten, but while the store is full of familiar such labels, there is also a smattering of lesser known designers for New Yorkers to discover as well.
Every new store has its growing pains, but perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised that Totokaelo is so New York-ready. Its creative and merchandising teams relocated here last January giving them plenty of time to study our peculiar ways and tastes. Opening the store at the beginning of Fashion Week was smartly timed for maximum publicity, and if all goes well, Totokaelo is poised to quickly settle in as a mainstay on New York's shopping circuit.

Totokaelo now open at 54 Crosby Street between Broome & Spring Streets, SoHo.


The New Look Of NYFW Is All Business

When it was officially announced that Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week would be leaving its most recent tent complex at Lincoln Center, nobody in New York's fashion community was particularly disappointed. Ultimately, the heavy presence of sponsors and increasingly irrelevant promotional events turned fashion folks against the concept of centralized shows that, at its inception as 7th on Sixth two decades earlier, had been hailed as New York Fashion Week's coming of age.
Well, if an absence of sponsors and promotional activity is what they wanted, then that is wha they got. Now unencumbered of its auto industry title sponsor, the newly renamed NYFW: The Shows is going back to basics in a dramatic way with a spare, bare bones set-up in the raw construction space of the future Moynihan Station and a clean, minimalist white space at Skylight Clarkson Square in SoHo.  Of course, the many sponsor booths that were so reviled are gone in the future train station, except for a single Tresemmé mini-salon discreetly off to the side, and, ever more incongruously, a small balcony studio for E!'s Fashion Police (pictured below), the show that will not die even after the only real reason to watch it did. If you used to look forward to grabbing a bottle of Vitamin Water from a handy bin or refrigerator, you will now have to line up at a single window in each location where an attendant will hand you a single bottle —so no more stocking up on free water on your way out, fashion folks. If you are feeling peckish and need a quick bite to eat, as far as we could tell, you will be out of luck at both locations where the standard overpriced cafe featuring sandwiches and other snacks that had come to be a standard fixture was nowhere to be seen. Even the rack of gratis fashion periodicals, always a popular feature, was hidden around a corner by the bathrooms.
It is a move from one extreme to another. Instead of the padded benches we once saw around the main lobby at Lincoln Center, there are now bleachers in midtown on the back wall for anyone who needs to wait around between shows or just wants to sit down (pictured above). A few press tables are hidden at the top, and the arrangement is indeed practical but could easily have been executed with a bit more comfort in mind. Still, it's better that the Skylight Clarkson Square arrangement. While the NYFW: Men's set up in July in the same location was practical but comfortable with little oppressive promotional activity, the current version is all optic white walls and empty space.
The effect of this stripped-down Fashion Week is that of a palate cleanser to say the least. Perhaps the strategy is to show designers who eschewed the tents over the years that WME-IMG's Fashion Week arrangement could be just as spartan as a raw space in the Financial District if that's the vibe they were looking for. But then, Fashion folks can be, dare we say, a bit fickle. After a few runway seasons without random makeup giveaways and other various free stuff, showgoers may be longing for the good old days of sponsor booths and swag. Be careful what you wish for.


Mary Katranzou, Andrew Christian, Ports 1961, TOD's, Rick Owens, Billy Reid, Patagonia, Prada, Baume & Mercier, Burberry, Splendid

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!

Mary Katranzou, Armani Collezioni, 10 Crosby, Nephora Diamonds, Wolverine 2000 Mile, Baume & Mercier, Yves Saint Laurent, Gucci, Katie Rowland, Tart, Rachel Zoe, Fred Perry, Prada, Gordon Rush, Andrew Christian, Hans Kristoff Scarves, WMF Kitchenware, Delsey Paris, Alora Ambiance  —join HERE
Alberto Fermani, Robert Graham, Joyfolie, Kosta Boda/Orrefors, Brioni, Stephen Webster, Elie Tahari, David Yurman Sunglasses, Vince, Neu Home —join HERE
Nicole Miller, L.A.M.B., Joe's Jeans, Yummie by Heather Thompson, Coach, Diesel, Hartmann, Splendid. Tahari, Tiffany & Co. Eyewear, Burberry, Gracia, Reebok, The North Face, Patagonia —join HERE
Joe's Jeans, Façonnable, Cullen, DOMA Leather, Cullen, Arturo Chiang, Cole Haan, Hart Schaffner & Marx, Halston Heritage, Urban Decay, Eileen Fisher, Sea Gypsies, Dune London, Ports 1961, Billy Reid —join HERE
Fendi, Marc Jacobs, Armani Collezioni, Sam Edelman, Schutz, Ellen Tracy, DL 1961, Salvatore Ferragamo, Natori, Charriol, Dolce & Gabbana, Taryn Rose, Robert Wayne, Gitman, TOD's, Isaac Mizrahi, Ben Sherman, J Fold, Simon Spurr, Rick Owens, Burberry, Viyella, Naked & Famous —join HERE


Saks Fifth Avenue Announces Its Latest Flagship Makeover Plan

SFAflagshipAt this point, several announcements about major renovations for the enormous Saks Fifth Avenue flagship store have come and gone with little actual activity, often because top management has changed faster than they have been able to implement the ever more elaborate and expensive renewal projects. The most recent one came earlier this year when then president Marigay McKee presented plans which included a series of bi-level designer lifestyle boutiques that would ring the main floor and extend up to the second level creating what we could only imagine to be a construction nightmare that wouldn't actually solve the store's pressing merchandising problems. McKee's noisy but brief tenure as Saks president ended shortly after that announcement, and the plans were apparently scuttled.
Today, WWD reports that current Saks President Mark Metrick has announced a new 3-year $250 million renovation plan that is even more radical, shuffling floors and adding a lower concourse level and even a dramatic new elevator. Ordinarily we would simply sigh and say, "We'll believe it when we see it," but now that Saks appears to have settled more comfortably as a division of Canada's Hudson's Bay Company, we have a feeling that this plan, or at least parts of it, will stick. Here are some of the main points of what will ultimately be a startling shakeup of every floor in the store.

Handbags and Accessories will take over the entire main floor.
One of Saks' longtime merchandising struggles on Fifth Avenue has been an epic fight for space on the main floor of the original building between cosmetics and handbags. Despite the enormous amount of floor space, there has never been enough room for retail's two most profitable categories to coexist peacefully there along with jewelry, and it would appear that cosmetics has won, taking over almost all of the floor space, and pushing accessories to a series of in-store shops around the store's perimeter and an undersized multi-brand handbag section crammed into the escalator atrium. This forced handbag customers to not only shop in a cumbersome ring around the huge main floor, but also to have to contend with aggressive makeup reps while buying purses.
In a reversal, Accessories have now gained the upper hand, and will not only take over the front of the main floor, but also the Swiss Tower sections behind the escalators currently occupied by jewelry. That department will be divided between the new concourse level downstairs to be called "The Vault" for precious gems and watches and part of the tower section of the second floor which presumably will house semiprecious baubles. It's a big change that will not only make it easier to sell those high-margin accessories, but should also mollify some important luxury brands without their own in-store shops who could not have been happy with the puny accessory area around the escalator atrium. This means that...

Cosmetics will move to the second floor.
Competitors Bergdorf's and Barneys have previously solved space problems by creating expansive makeup deportments in luxuriously renovated basements, but Saks will twist that scheme by moving it upstairs instead for 53% more space. The second floor at Saks is currently dedicated to more separates-oriented women's designer collections (they used to call it Designer Sportswear), but the section in the front of the store hasn't seen a major renovation since the 1970s, which is when the dramatic wooden superstructure you see there now was installed. Presumably, it will finally be cleared out. How will Saks keep what must be one of the biggest cosmetics departments in the world humming without the main floor foot traffic? A new glass elevator with a 23-foot staircase spiraling around it as well as an additional escalator will be installed in the center of the main floor to ferry customers up to two and down to the new jewelry concourse. Having cosmetics on two will trade the main floor's hectic —and extremely loud— ambiance for a more relaxing environment that will encourage customers to buy more. It will also save store visitors from having to brave battalions of fragrance models on their way to the upper floors, which is a win for everybody

Women's apparel will shrink from four to three floors.
With cosmetics moving up, women's wear will lose an entire floor, but the entire women's departments are being re-imagined. No longer to be stratified by price between the second and fifth floors, women's departments will now be arranged by lifestyle, with varying price points and different designer collections on every floor between 3 and 5. In addition, a new department call "The Ballroom" will be created on the 9th floor devoted only to eveningwear including shoes, handbags and jewelry. Bridal will also be included on the floor as well.

While Men's will remain on 6 and 7, it too will be rearranged with more of a lifestyle point of view, and other departments will be tweaked and moved around. The plan is one of the most elaborate store renovation plans we have seen, but, assuming it is fully carried out, it will give Saks some long overdue changes and updates. Don't get too anxious to see the results, however. It is not projected to be completed until 2018. In the meantime, there will be much construction disrupting the store, but when it is finished, it should result in a state-of-the-art ready to do battle just as fierce competitor Nordstrom sails into town.

Master Plan for the Saks Flagship Breaks Convention (WWD)


A Jester's Revival In SoHo Edition

10CRITIC1-master675The Critical Shopper makes a return in today's Thursday Styles as Molly Young drags her brother Ned to the recently opened Moschino boutique in SoHo. We have been to Moschino and experienced its gallery-of-fashion-puns aesthetic for ourselves, but our shopper has revived the ageless trope of bringing a rube to experience high style. She collects her brother from painting crates on a Chinatown roof (?) to the sleek store which expresses designer Jeremy Scott's recent reimagining of the Italian label. "Like wandering onto a cereal box" is Young's rather apt description of the stage-set-like store where Scott is presenting not only his own interpretations of the Moschino style, but more than a few apparent replications of products that made the label famous in the first place.
Truth be told, The Shophound has always found Moschino to be tremendously entertaining as a brand, but one we wouldn't be caught dead in. Mainly, it's because we have always felt that one's clothes shouldn't be funnier than oneself, however brother Ned ultimately feels otherwise.

During our circuit, Ned became ensorcelled by a pair of denim shorts ($325) printed with a trompe l’oeil pattern of other denim swatches. He tried them on.
“You look insane,” a salesman said.

Like a good sister, our shopper buys matching pants for herself which she describes as "not so much pants as a vortex of denim Op Art".
Are we to buy this story?
Perhaps we are just jealous that Ned is apparently a gentleman handyman who has $325 to blithely throw away on shorts that sound truly ridiculous looking.
And, really, who wouldn't be?

Critical Shopper: At Moschino in SoHo, a Tweety Bird Sweater and Other Charms By Molly Young (NYTimes)
Moschino 73 Wooster Street between Broome & Spring Streets, SoHo
Flagship Flash: Moschino's New Boutique Is A Double Nostalgia Trip For SoHo


APPLE WATCH Meets HERMÈS For Its First Collaboration — Updated With Details

's new product announcement event is still going on as we type this, but the biggest fashion news for the tech giant was pushed to the front of the agenda as its first Apple Watch collaboration was announced with none other than the most luxe of the luxe, Hermès.
Is that exclusive enough for you?
This was a development that was conspicuously not bandied about by the tech blogs which have been breathlessly reporting on rumored product developments for the past few weeks (giant iPad Pro with high tech pencil stylus confirmed), so it was a genuine surprise.
The Apple Watch Hermès will be available in October at select retailers. it comes with a classic single strap, signature double tour (see image above) or wider cuff strap, all with a customized Hermès watch face. Perhaps this is the push that was needed to get the Apple Watch into real luxury players like Barneys and Neiman Marcus. So far we have no price info yet for the watches, but stay tuned. We will update as soon as more information is released.

Now that Apple has updated the Apple Watch page, we can offer some more specific details about the new collaboration.
For starters, these are emphatically not separate bands for individual purchase as has been reported by some outlets, but only sold with Apple Watches in polished stainless steel and a custom Hermès face that will only be available on these models. Here are the prices for the three styles:

Double Tour in 38mm with four band colors: Fauve, Etain, Capucine, and Bleu Jean
- $1,250
Single Tour in 38 or 42mm with Fauve or Noir bands. Capucine band only in 38mm
- $1,100 and up
Cuff in 42mm with a Fauve band
- $1,500

The Cuff style has a cut-out in the back of the watch to allow the heart rate sensor to be in contact with the wrist. So far, we do not know if versions of the band can also be purchased with the gold Apple Watch Edition, but it is not listed as an option on the site.
As for stores that will be carrying the watch next month, there are only 17 North American retail outlets listed including Apple Stores in Eaton Center and Yorkdale in Toronto, Aventura and Miami Beach in Florida, The Grove in Los Angeles, Palo Alto, San Francisco and Santa Monica. Hermès boutiques to be selling the watch include Beverly Hills, Miami and San Francisco. The only third party retailer listed so far is Maxfield in Los Angeles. In New York, the watches will be available only at Hermès on Madison Avenue and the Apple Stores on Fifth Avenue, Prince Street in SoHo and Broadway on the Upper West Side.

After the jump, click to enlarge some official images of the three styles


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APPLE WATCH Meets HERMÈS For Its First Collaboration — Updated With Details" »


Find Out What Every Guy Must Have This Season

Check out 8 Must-Have Pieces for Men This Autumn

by Male Extravaganza at Mode

Technically, Fall doesn't start for another couple of weeks or so, but if you have been out shopping, you know that the beginning of September is when stores are packed with new clothes, and if you wait too long, the best  stuff will be gone. Click above to get an idea of what a stylish gentleman will not be able to do without this Fall.


& Other Stories To Join COS On Fifth Avenue For A Late October Opening

As an example of how the bewildering PR system at H&M sometimes works, let us remember about six weeks ago when it was officially announced that the popular contemporary chain COS would be opening its second U.S. store on Fifth Avenue in part of the space on the northeast corner of 42nd Street that had been quietly abandoned by H&M, its parent company. What would take the rest of the space, we all wondered?
Well, no official announcement appears to have been made other than big sign in the window telling us that the other budding chain from H&M, & Other Stories, will be joining its sister for its second store in New York —and the entire U.S, for that matter.
We won't have to wait too long for the trendy chain's expansion. What must be a pretty firm opening date of October 30th is clearly included in the window, which makes this scenario a striking mirror of the stores' arrivals in SoHo when the more sophisticated COS was the first to be announced, but lagged months behind & Other Stories in actually opening to the public. On Fifth Avenue, COS is still "opening soon" which could mean this Fall, Christmastime, next Spring or just when they are damn good and ready.
We aren't complaining. We'll take more COS anytime whenever they want to give it to us, but now we know for sure that both of H&M's up and coming nameplates are on the road to expansion in New York and beyond. If the new stores are as well received in Midtown as they have been in SoHo, you can bet that there will be more of both coming your way soon.

Flagship Flash: COS To Open On Fifth Avenue In Former 42nd Street H&M


Getting Back In Gear With Sales At
Paragon & Paul Stuart

ParagonPaulStuartLabor Day's over, and Women's Fashion Week is about to begin, so things are starting to get back into gear sale-wise, but slowly. There are two major sales this week that should get shoppers excited plus one final clearance sample consolidation sale that will be a delight to those who love to sift through the leftovers to find the gems that other lesser-eyed shoppers failed to notice.

Nattily dressed gentlemen will be headed to Soiffer Haskin Wednesday morning to take advantage of the PAUL STUART clearance sale running through Friday. It has been a few seasons since we have seen one of the elegant men's retailer's off-site sales, but it is back this week including deep reductions on both the store's main private label and the younger, more highly styled Phineas Cole collection. Typically this sale includes all products including Tailored Clothing, Sportswear, Accessories and Shoes. Fine suiting fabric  are also promised as well as a smaller selection of Women's Clothing and Accessories

Also on Wednesday, the other side of the spectrum will be represented by the PARAGON SPORTS Warehouse Sale held in its Broadway flagship store. Look for the lines of hungry activewear shoppers and be prepared to rummage through racks and bins crammed with markdowns including sneakers, athletic apparel of all sorts, swimwear and sports gear of all sorts from tennis rackets to skis to lacrosse sticks. The sale runs for 12 days through Sunday the 20th, so it's possible to take one's time and try to catch it at a quiet moment, but typically it is believed that the best deals are snapped up early.

Finally, 260 SAMPLE SALE, the tireless hosts of some of the city's most popular designer sales at multiple locations is taking this week starting today through Sunday to hold a final clearance of all the leftovers from sample sales over the past year at its main, namesake location on Fifth Avenue. It is expected to be a mish-mosh grab bag of merchandise, but whatever is there will probably be at rock-bottom bargain prices. 

See our SALE ROLL sidebar at left for details and locations plus late breaking sale updates.
Next week, look for Bauble Bar, Milly and Eileen Fisher sales.
Shop well!