All posts by Joan Volpe

Dover Street Market

By Jove: The Biz Buzz
Aha weekly tidbits for the HT Insider

Opps!  Did I say Radio City Music Hall when lauding Saks’ Christmas effort last time?  Clearly I meant Rockefeller Center.

I said we would talk more about Dover Street Market (DSM) this week.  If you are holding out, because the thought of facing east and walking to Lex and 30th in tundra-esque conditions stopped you, you’re forgiven.  Even the heartiest of us “Check out the stores” types hibernated this past week. As soon as the temperature rises check out DSM.   This is an “Alice in Wonderland” located in a neighborhood best described as – no particular reason to go there.  So why go?  Because sometimes it is very hard to explain what avant garde is all about.  It really depends on what your eye is accustomed to.   Many young FIT undergrads (aside from Lady Gaga) will confuse couture for avant garde, i.e., fashion and or any art form presented at the most extreme expression.  DSM from the interior design, use of space and merchandise is a temple to avant garde conceived by Rei Kawakubu, her 3rd DMS project after Tokyo and London.

Most importantly, it is a curated assembly of items from a wide mix of leading experimental extremist designers, representing a global assortment of markets such as Junya Wantanabe and Thom Brown. 7 floors of crazy nooks that as a whole somehow give new meaning to urban anti-fashion chic that breeds trickle down looks at lesser price points. Take the core glass elevator to the top and work your way down.  Make sure you visit the bathroom(s). Seriously. The big challenge when I visited was that one after another mortified men and women came out apologizing that they could not figure out how to flush! Also, the seats, in true Japanese fashion are heated.  This alone might inspire you. Finally, plan to eat at the Rose (a Paris icon) Bakery. Coffee to die for, and a décor and menu to match  “Jabberwocky” surroundings.   http://ny.racked.com/tags/the-racked-38

Entrance to the Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market

Entrance to the Rose Bakery at Dover Street Market

Meanwhile, in effort to clarify the difference between couture level and avant garde:

While not in the same neighborhood, another absolutely must see new store is Balenciaga at 148 and 149 Mercer in Soho. What a contrast DSM.  Having taken over the Balenciaga creative director’s position a little over a year ago, Alexander Wang has spearheaded the building of a green marble and chrome modern temple to luxury that manages to stun and yet in no way dominate the merchandise.  Absolute elegance that will remind you of a museum, yet in no way stuffy.  What an accomplishment. http://blog.contentmode.com/2013/11/the-new-balenciaga-flagship-store-in-soho.html

Now for the question of the week – was Beyonce’s Grammy gown designed by Michael Costello, Avant garde? Couture? Stunning or Slutty? What do you think?

 

 

Christmas 2013 Recap

By Jove: The Biz Buzz
Aha weekly tidbits for the HT Insider

Can you believe that Christmas is over and done with – kindly tell that to the people  who still are lighting up the house and have deflated inflatable Frosty ’s and Santa’s puddled on their lawns.  Don’t you always wonder how someone can come home over and over again and not notice the petrified wreath, the blown out bulbs, the downed deer, etc. as we approach Valentine’s Day.

Meanwhile back to the business of fashion- did you do “the windows?” You know you were supposed to… This is important fashionista holiday behavior, and a ritual that is so NYC.  How would you like to live out there in Shopping Mall America and have no holiday windows to visit?  This year, I did them twice, actually.

If for any reason – illness or a trip to a fabulous location prevented you from walking Bloomie’s to Barney’s, and down 5th, we have some pictures here for you to see.  A recap of Christmas just past.  I am going to give Saks the “This is what Christmas décor  and excitement should  be Award “ The light show on the outside of the building continues to amaze the crowds going to see  the tree right across the street at Radio City Music Hall.  The “Yeti” story that unfolded as one moved from window to window was enchanting for children and yet, sophisticated enough to amuse adults. I read a snarky snipe early in December that alluded to the fact that Saks was playing it politically correct by dodging mentioning Christmas. Oh please, d. if you do, d. if you don’t.  The interior was tastefully stunning, a winter wonderland of branches and ice white lights and all those fabulous accessories. A first class execution inside and out.

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Also notable – Bendel’s crazy tea party and those fabulous Cartier cats, particularly the one perched on the side balcony.

http://mommypoppins.com/nyc-holiday-windows-2013-macys-saks-lord-taylor-bloomingdales-department-stores-kids

Another new concept– you could get your picture taken on the outside of the Lord & Taylor 5th Ave.  Flagship and have it sent back to you instantly as a text message.  The Christmas miracle is that as of New Year’s it was still working and had not broken down.  Hordes were lined up to do it.  A wonderful opportunity for customer engagement, and needless to say their windows are always so special and classic.  It was a great contrast of old and new and as we have told you before, do not sell L & T short.  Anyone out there a convert or L&T fan?

JOAN LT

The tourists were out in full force all over 5th and Madison by the way, and some of the tour books must recommend that it is important to be as rude as possible when in New York City, too bad about that….

For those of you who did view the windows share your experiences with us, better to think about the visual merchandising  aspects of Christmas 2013 then concentrate on  the business figures, particularly for brick and mortar stores.

Now that we are into the New Year, get yourself to Dover Street Market, Lexington and 30th St., 160 Lex. But don’t look for any signs, look for a great old building and enter on 30th St.  It is one of those too cool to advertise its presence places!  A Comme des Garcons temple to avant garde.  We will share more tidbits about Dover Street with you next week.

 

The New Black to Menswear

By Jove: The Biz Buzz

Aha weekly tidbits for the HT Insider

Well, just when we thought the “new black” was going from grey to pink – news has it that new black is ….BLACK.  Of course for those of you haven’t noticed, black actually is the color of choice at FIT with both students and faculty.  I guess it must be that urban thing but I know I stand in front of a rack, and see all sorts of colors.  What do I buy?  The black. How about you?

WSJ Magazine, December 2013/January 2014. Check out this super layout.

Speaking of the WSJ, there was a great article last weekend on the surge in the men’s footwear business. Almost 2 full pages devoted to styles, care, shopping habits, etc. In fact, according to the Journal, men are starting to outpace women in building a full shoe wardrobe.  This is no surprise to us as the real excitement in the market both wholesale and retail right now is men’s. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303497804579242313439812406  If you haven’t checked out the re-done menswear floors at Lord where it is  calm and well edited with  great values.  Go to the 9th and 10th floor and you will a full selection for all the men in your life, plus if you are a younger guy, there is lots of stuff for you.  I promise.  Don’t forget that HT is offering more and more menswear related  courses these days and all of Spring is now available on line.

If you haven’t had a chance to see the current HUE, the FIT alumni magazine there is a wonderful extensive article on tattoos that really connects with a post I made quite a while ago that we still get comments on.  Check it out. http://www.fitnyc.edu/3636.asp.

Looking for that last minute gift? How about a HOT TOPICS course?  Gift Certificates are available.  Go to D130, open through Friday afternoon at 5:30pm or http://bit.ly/1bYBlT1.