Menace to Society
I hate department stores. They remind me of being a chubby 12-year-old with braces being dragged around by her mother to try on bat-mitzvah dresses at the Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s located in the heart of Delaware’s Christiana Mall. (We eventually decided on an electric blue sleeveless number, and suffice to say I have vowed to burn the photobook of evidence the first chance I get.)
So sartorially misinformed was I that for many years I associated most department stores with the cheap and gawdy—obviously, I reasoned, most cool clothes come from stores that sold only their own brand, places like Ann Taylor, or Hot Topic. Up until embarrassingly recently, I didn’t understand what my so-called friends were driving at when they offered to take me shopping at Macy’s, Nordstrom’s or Bloomie’s. I just flashed back to Delaware and that blue dress and assumed that they were making some sort of ironic commentary on prom season.
But a girl can’t live in blissful ignorance forever, and by the time I was, oh, say, 28, I found out that, far from being tacky, New York’s haute couture was synonymous with, yes, Madison Avenue designer flagships, but also: Bergdorf’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and Barneys. I had never stepped into these hallowed halls of fashion. I had to take a Valium just to step into a Century 21, with its maze-like layouts, dressing room item limits and panic-inducing number of choices.
But I couldn’t wear jeans and sweaters with cat faces on them forever, and no matter how well that kitschy-cute skunk hat I had purchased last summer in South Dakota went over at a recent Broadway after party, I realized that eventually I would have to make peace with the luxury department store.
After the Runway
As New York shovels up the Fashion Week embers around town after the onslaught, The Observer still has a few loose ends. One thing we wanted to know in all the ruckus was how the new comers had fared.
Kara Laricks, the winner of NBC reality show Fashion Star, is certainly a new face in the crowded sea of designers. Under the tutelage design mentors Jessica Simpson, John Varvatos and Nicole Richie, Ms. Laricks convinced the buyers’ judging panel from H&M, Macy’s and Saks Fifth Avenue that her creations were worthy of the $6m capsule collection award. The show was a hit: Nielsen TV Ratings Data reported 4.81 million viewers for the finale, and NBC has already renewed Fashion Star for a second season and begun casting. We caught up with Ms. Laricks after her first presentation at Runway@Pier 57 last week to get all the buzz about her début. Were her masculine-feminine-meets-1920s-Japanese matchbox looks a triumph or did she she fall flat?
What did it feel like to finally present your first bona fide fashion week presentation?
I felt vulnerable! In the past, if my collection was not well received, I was under the protective wing of The Academy of Art University, NBC, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s, H&M … this time, the pressure was all on me. However, there was never any question as to whether or not I would continue designing post Fashion Star and I knew “sticking my neck out there” would be worth the risk no matter what the response. Now that my first collection has been shown at New York fashion week and the reviews are rolling in, I feel exhilarated, proud and accomplished. Can’t wait for the next!
The Lease Beat
Ted Baker, the high-end clothing retailer, will open a flagship store at 595 Fifth Avenue, it was announced today.
The U.K.-based company signed a long-term net lease for 12,000 square feet at the corner of 48th Street and Fifth Avenue, just down from retail icon Saks Fifth Avenue. Ted Baker will use three of the five floors of the building, which they will rent in its entirety, for retail, while the balance are for office and showroom uses. Just a block from high-profile tenants Michael Kors and LaCoste, the space could command up to $2000 per square foot, sources not affiliated with the deal speculated.
An article in the U.K.’s Daily Mail says, citing “rumours,” that a group of private equity firms are aiming to buy Saks Incorporated. The Mail pegs the purchase price, which it says could be made public soon, at $1.7 billion, or $11 a share.
The purveyor of Gucci handbags and other fashionable wears has lately seen Read More
This week the Daily Transom reported a string of fashion-related thefts on the Upper East Side, one of which occured at Saks Fifth Avenue. On July 11, two young woman entered the department store and attempted to walk out with four Herve Leger dresses (stuffed into a shopping bag) without paying for them. Read More
Fashion’s Night Out drew a big crowd at Saks Fifth Avenue. People scurried about on the first floor: getting their make-up done, being sprayed with perfume and hand lotion, and, presumably, buying things.
On the second floor, designer Chris Benz stood awkwardly in front of a television with a sign next to it that read Read More
Design duo Mark Badgley and James Mischka, who are also romantically involved, are reportedly fighting and may split their company in two. [NY Daily News]
Saks Fifth Avenue plans to weather the economic storm by featuring featuring 15 of its newest labels in its newly redesigned contemporary department. [Read More
Katie Holmes already has the Comme des Garcons line for H&M, even though it doesn’t get released in stores until Nov. 13. [The Cut]
Burberry‘s CEO on the economy: "We could turn off everything right now, but we’re not going to. This is the sort of time when leaders are born Read More
989 Sixth Avenue recently sold for approximately $510 per square foot, and it looks like Saks Fifth Avenue may be involved in the deal whether the luxury clothing company likes it or not.
On June 29, Meringoff Properties unloaded the 96,000-square-foot, 21-story building for $49 million to a buyer listed in city Read More
Saks, Bloomingdale's, Nordstrom, and Lord & Taylor are hardly bargain-basement stores. But anyone who's had to buy a Vera Wang dress for a wedding will be shocked in October when they get a look at the price-tags on Ms. Wang's new line of lingerie.
Of course, a month before that Ms. Wang will already Read More