This week's Lauren Merkin sample sale, on today through Thursday, is filled with the brand's classic and contemporary handbags. Snakeskin-embossed mini leather wallets ($50) and large zip-up wallets ($50, down from $175), share a table near the entrance with iPad cases ($25-$40) with ID/credit card cut-outs or zipper detailing.
Most of the large clutches and handbags include free canvas storage bags. There's an abundance of Louise clutches ($100), and Quinn calfskin handbags in muted colors ($195, down from $375). Bargain boxes ($20-$85) teeming with a variety of glitter, canvas, and leather Louise, Tatum, and Lucy clutches line the walls.
There are also classic leather Olivia totes for $75, marked down from $325. There's a coat rack full of leather Stevie saddlebags ($195), and tomato-red Cece ($175) leather handbags with chain strap detail.
The color selection feels limitless; black is available in nearly every style, but animal prints, muted grays and beiges, and bright colors are also featured. The sale is running through Thursday at 231 West 29th Street between Seventh and Eighth Avenues, from 11am to 7pm daily.—Kimberly Colvin
· Dealfeed: Lauren Merkin [Racked NY]
· Get On It: 21 Sample Sales to Shop Before the End of April [Racked NY]
Setting up at Open Gallery Space; Image via Instagram/@trickponi
EAST VILLAGE—Ever wonder how the Middle East does a pop-up shop? Get a taste with Trickponi (yes, with an "i"), a seasonal boutique making its first stop in the United States, opening tomorrow in the former Eva New York space. The four-day experience will feature a mix of American and foreign designers selling jewelry, accessories, and more for an "East meets West" experience.
MIDTOWN WEST—Because gold never goes out of style, stop by the Golden Thread trunk show at Saks Fifth Avenue, running from tomorrow through Saturday in the jewelry department. Check out handmade gold, rose gold, and white gold styles featuring monograms, diamonds, and gemstones that start at just $40.
The Yigal Azrouël and Cut25 by Yigal Azrouël sample sale opens to the public at 1pm today at the company's showroom at 225 West 39th Street. We checked in on the friends and family portion this morning, and found racks well stocked with the main collection's signature form fitting dresses, ethereal gowns, and staple leathers, as well as plenty of tops, dresses, pants, and more leathers from the sister brand, Cut25.
A few things to note right off the bat: prices aren't cheap, especially for the Yigal Azrouël collection. That being said, the selection is really good, so if you don't mind throwing down a bit of cash, you can walk out with something nice.
The deals are definitely the best in the sample section for both brands, but the quality is better in ready-to-wear. Cut25 samples are just $40 (leathers are $90) and Yigal samples are $60 (leathers are $125).
The sample section is directly toward the back of the sale, and is a mix of Cut25 and the main collection. There are some great things mixed in here, but they're sprinkled through a lot of lackluster items.
We found a stunning Cut25 black gown with mesh cut-out details from the fall 2013 collection, a pair of buckle leather shorts, several beautiful Yigal dresses, and a lot of casual tops worth grabbing.
You're going to want to make sure to check with a sales associate before determining if something is truly a sample, because we saw several overstock items misplaced on the racks. Most of the samples that we saw have white "sample" hang tags, though.
Now, onto the ready-to-wear, starting with Cut25. Shorts, pants, skirts, and tees are $95; novelty tops and sweaters are $100; jersey dresses are $125; other dresses are $150; blazers and vests are $175; and leather jackets are $325.
A few highlights from Cut: a red stretch knit dress from the resort 2014 collection, breezy printed silk pants from the spring 2014 collection, and a cobalt leather jacket with shoulder details, also from the spring collection.
For Yigal Azrouël, tops are actually cheaper than Cut25 (they're $75), but everything else is more expensive. Novelty tops are $120; pants (non-leather) are $125; skirts are $150; knits are $178; blazers and leather bottoms are $225; dresses are $250; gowns are $400; and leather and other outerwear is $500.
There are a lot of really great dresses on the Yigal racks, which are perfect for an easy work-to-cocktails-somewhere-nice kind of day. A bright yellow zip-front dress from the resort 2014 collection (recently worn by Jessica Simpson here) was a hit with shoppers, and when we left there were only a few left.
Several other resort 2014 dresses made appearances, like a blue crinkle shift with a zip detail across the shoulder, a fitted red dress with black a side panels, a fuschia gown, and a black leather dress with a zipper slit that can go as high up the thigh as the wearer deems needed.
Sizes are fair across the board on the ready-to-wear racks, with a solid mix of extra smalls, smalls, mediums, and larges scattered throughout. There's a space to try things on that's semi-sectioned off by a rack. We're told that there are more samples to be put out, but the staff wasn't sure what overstock ready-to-wear would be replenished. There's a box of shoes for $30 in a handful of sizes, but nothing was that impressive.
The sale runs from 1pm to 7pm today, and from 9:30am to 7pm Wednesday through Friday, at 225 West 39th Street (between Seventh and Eighth Avenues) on the fifth floor.
· Dealfeed: Yigal Azrouël, Cut25 by Yigal Azrouël [Racked NY]
· Get On It: 21 Sample Sales to Shop Before the End of April [Racked NY]
The Bulgari sample sale is going on now at Soiffer Haskin, with fragrances, wallets, bags, and other accessories. Men's and women's scents are the best deals ($7 to $48), but something like a white diamond encrusted Assioma watch will set you back at least $13,800. [Mizhattan]
Robert Blue 14 ounce mug, $28
Mociun in Williamsburg carries more than just jewelry (although if it didn't, designer Caitlin Mociun's beautiful designs could easily stand on their own). The Wythe Avenue boutique also carries an array of home goods and apothecary items, such as this Robert Blue glazed stoneware mug made by hand in Woodstock, Illinois.
· See More Editor's Picks Here [Racked NY]
Image via Making a Mark Reviews
When the building housing Pearl Paint went up for sale earlier this month, with the promise in the listing that it could be "delivered vacant", things weren't looking good for the one of the best art supply stores in the city, which had been at that address for five decades and had been a neighborhood shop for more than 80 years altogether. And on April 17, its iconic red gates closed for good—but employees and longtime customers couldn't believe it.
"It's devastating," a salesman who did not reveal his identity said to the Tribeca Trib. "They just broke up a whole family unit here. People I've been working with for years...the people running this place don't even understand its history and the artists who shopped here."
"Pearl Paint was part of my life for many years. I don't remember never coming here." said 61-year-old Brooklyn artist Peter Borstein, who stopped in during the final days to pick up supplies during the closing sale. "It was a member of the family."
"It's like you're going through your dying grandmother's house," he added upon exiting. "This is heartbreaking."
There's no word on whether the building has yet sold, but it's likely that they won't keep the existing colorful structure. Tribeca Citizen noted in the listing: "Due to the sizable floor plates, phenomenal location for retail (Canal) and residential (Lispenard), the building offers a great opportunity for a developer, investor and/or user."
· All Sales Final: The Last Days of Pearl Paint, a Tribeca Institution [Tribeca Trib]
· Pearl Paint Has Indeed Closed [Tribeca Citizen]
· Where to Get Crafty in NYC, From Supply Stores to Classes [Racked NY]
The Smith Street store; Photo by Brian Harkin
Brooklyn's beloved Bird is turning 15 this year, and it's celebrating in a big way. In a T magazine interview, owner Jen Mankins revealed that some of her favorite designers, including Rachel Comey, Maria Cornejo, and Jane Mayle have designed original capsule collections for the occasion.
"I really wanted this to happen," Mankins said of the collaboration with Mayle, who did the magazine interview with her and previously had an eponymous line and Nolita boutique that both shuttered in 2009. "I basically begged her. I was like, 'please, please, please, can we look at some archive pieces, can we look at some fabrics...' And luckily, she was open to the idea."
There's no word on how many pieces each designer created, their price range, or if there's any other designers in the mix. Regardless, look for the collections to be on sale sometime this week.
· In Conversation | Indie Fashion Icons Jennifer Mankins and Jane Mayle [T]
· Will Bird Ever Open in Manhattan? Jen Mankins Says It's Possible [Racked NY]
· The 38 Most Essential Shopping Experiences in NYC, Spring 2014 [Racked NY]
We stopped by a preview of the Scotch & Soda sample sale last night to peruse the offerings for girls and guys at up to 70% off. Prices start at $10 for accessories and top off at $150 for leathers. Women luck out with about two-thirds of the sale devoted to them, so guys should go sooner rather than later.
Ladies' sizes range from petite to extra large. If you need a new cold-weather jacket, you found the right sale. There's leathers, suedes, long coats, and short jackets from $60 to $150.
Pants and denim are $40 in sizes 24-32, and dresses, skirts, and shorts are also $40. Sweaters and buttons up are $35-$40, while tees at $20.
Guys sizes range from small to XXL. The selection is smaller than that for women, but there's still a few leathers for $150. Other jackets include puffers, overcoats, and blazers for just $70.
Sweaters and button-ups are $45, polos are $25, and tees are $20. Swimwear and shorts are going for $30-$40. Denim and pants are $40 and available in sizes 28-38. All the men's denim is out on the floor.
We also saw children's clothing mentioned on the price list, but the selection was so small that it wasn't worth seeking out.
There's a wide selection of accessories available, and if you don't see something on the price list, then it's $18. We saw clutches, wallets, and leather iPhone cases all for $18, while jewelry, socks, and underwear are only $10.
Scarves, belts and hats are $18-$20, and gloves are $18-$30. Bags are $40-$65 and include leather, suede, and calf-hair options. The footwear included a tiny selection of espadrilles and sandals for $25-$30.
There are two big, separate dressing areas for guys and girls with large mirrors, but there's no mirrors are out on the floor. They told us that they are restocking but it's mainly women's stuff, and there's no word yet on markdowns.
See the dealfeed below for sale dates and times, and click through the gallery for detailed product shots and prices.
· Dealfeed: Scotch & Soda [Racked NY]
· Get On It: 21 Sample Sales to Shop Before the End of April [Racked NY]
Lineposters has a pop-up shop on Kenmare Street [Bowery Boogie]
Queens Museum to debut Andy Warhol exhibit this weekend [WWD]
Employees trying to keep Kim's Video & Music alive [EV Grieve]
See Charlotte Olympia's Miami capsule collection [Racked Miami]
Mary Katrantzou on designing her first-ever bridal gown [W]
Did Kimye bump Kate Upton off the cover of Vogue? [E!]
Two retail factions battle over safer factories in Bangladesh [NYT]
How women are changing the Silicon Valley dress code [SF Gate via]
We scan the inbox so you don't have to. Today, five items of note:
Best Bets Daily: A new kind of pearl earrings
Byrdie: Eco-friendly celeb beauty choices
GiltCity NYC: 25% off any local deal for Earth Day
Into the Gloss: The beauty benefits of tea
The New Potato: Ivana Milicevic on her food habits
Pulsd: Deals on wine classes
Refinery29: Where to get a massage in the city
Well+Good NYC: The healthy case for meat
WWWD: Skirts under $50
The Zoe Report: Environmentally friendly fashion pieces (pictured)
Image via GiltCity
Upper East Side fitness studio Exceed Physical Culture has picked Tribeca for its second location in Manhattan (bring the total to three—there's also a spot in East Hampton). Well + Good NYC writes that it'll soft-open at 97 Reade Street between Church and West Broadway on May 12th with a lot more space—plus bigger and better locker rooms.
If you're live or work downtown and are searching for one of those change-your-body-workouts, this is it. High-intensity interval training classes incorporate rowers, cardio, TRX, Bosu balls, planks, and the dreaded burpee in 50 minute sessions that cost $32 a class (or $350 for a monthly unlimited).
· Exceed Physical Culture [Official Site]
· Twelve Super Hot Boutique Fitness Studios You Need to Try Now [Racked NY]
· Poll: Which Studio has New York City's Best HIIT Class? [Racked NY]
Shen Beauty; Image via Interview magazine
Happy Earth Day! What better time to drink out of your reusable coffee mug, filled with fair trade ground beans, don a vintage top, and re-evaluate what you're putting on your face and body? We've rounded up 18 eco-friendly spots in the city where you can pick up non-toxic sunscreen, all-natural lotions, and non-synthetic fragrances. We've also included a few salons that tout environmentally friendly products—one will even maintain your dreads.
An honorable mention goes to CAP Beauty, the reincarnation of Castor & Pollux as an all-natural beauty store, opening up later this spring. But in the meantime, there's plenty of places to hit up—check them out after the jump.
Kidrobot broke some sad news on its blog today: after ten-plus years in business, the Soho boutique is closing up shop. (Hat tip to an eagle eye tipster.) The letter explains:
This was an incredibly difficult decision for us; however, continuing to operate the current store at its present size and location is just no longer feasible. We know we belong in New York City and (don't worry!) we have every intention to re-open in a new location in the future where we can continue to build the community together.
The store is located at a prime spot—118 Prince Street between Wooster and Greene—so it probably won't be long until somebody scoops it up.
· Dear Kidrobot Community. A Letter from The President [Kidrobot]
Need a green juice ASAP and can't find the closest Organic Avenue? The GreenHopping app will do the legwork for you. In addition to sussing out the closest place for a cold (pressed) one, the app also searches for organic and vegan/raw/gluten free restaurants. It's available in New York City now, with plans to launch in LA, San Francisco, Dallas, Austin, Houston, Miami, DC, and Chicago by the end of the summer. [RackedWire]
ABC Carpet & Home is being green all week for Earth Day—they're planting a tree for every purchase made at their Broadway store between now and Friday. Shoppers will also receive a "plantable bookmark" made from biodegradable eco-paper that, if cared for properly, will bloom into a wildflower. [ABC Home]
Life:Curated melds the best of Brooklyn shopping (Ace & Jig blouses, Joya perfumes, Rifle Paper Co. stationery) with what we can only describe as an upscale Spencer's Gifts vibe. Think horse-head bottle openers (a.k.a. the best party hostess gift ever, with a six pack), 3D cat playing cards, and cheeky tees that read "Horny for Summer" (aren't we all???).
For spring, co-owners Sarah Meyer and Ryan Thomann (pals from Savannah College of Art and Design) have stocked the women's racks with iridescent party dresses, sculptural jewelry, color-blocked shorts, and flirty crop tops, while over on the men's side, floral button-downs mingle with fish-print backpacks, neon windbreakers, and acid-wash shorts ("so Zack Morris").
See what else they have in store, and plan your wish lists accordingly, below.
Our sister site visited the eclectic and colorful offices of designer Mara Hoffman, whose staff is never in the fashion-typical all-black errythang. Click over to see the best fashion advice her team members have received, as well as a huge dreamcatcher and the nifty office teepee. [Racked]
All photos by Driely S. for Racked
Words like "polished" and "ladylike" get tossed around when describing Alice Cheng's aesthetic, but really, it's much more specific than that. The A. Cheng girl—the one whose closet is full of Alice's perfectly tailored pleated trousers and hand-painted silk tee-shirt dresses—is a devotee of what the designer calls "old school proper." Which isn't a style, so much as a state of mind.
It means, "writing thank you cards. Borrowing something from the neighbors and then returning it with something extra," Alice says. And, most importantly, "throwing crazy parties and inviting people over for impromptu drinks, and not caring if everything looks perfect."
In Alice's Park Slope boutique, her namesake line mingles with enamel lockets, statement socks, hammered gold jewelry, and bold pattern blouses. In other words, everything you need for that perfectly-imperfect look.
Read on to find out how the designer went from Tommy Hilfiger womenswear pro, to East Village retail pioneer, to Brooklyn go-to for your work-to-weekend-to-wedding needs.
Can you tell us about your design background?
I graduated from Parsons in their fashion design program. And when I graduated, I started working at Tommy Hilfiger women's. This was when they only did menswear, I was part of the original womenswear team—there were five people. It was us and Tommy in a room, chilling. I was really lucky because I was able to get a lot of responsibility really early. I did women's cut and sew knits, and then I freelanced a bit at the Gap in sweaters, and I also worked at The Limited.
Do you come from a creative family?
No, I kind of fell into fashion. I've always drawn really well, and I think when you have a visible talent it's easy for people to sort of push you along into a trade that reflects that. And then when I went to college—the only things that made money at that point were fashion design or communications design. Luckily, I really love fabrics and textiles. So it was a nice path.
So how did you go from working for these huge labels to starting your own line?
I was living in the East Village around that time, and I happened to become friendly with one of the store owners on my block. Now it seems like so many people have their own business, or are makers. They start out doing a craft and then selling it, and it seems much easier to do it with a community. But 15 years ago it seemed like you had to be a big company to open a store. So I asked this woman who opened a boutique, "Is it hard to start a store?" And she was like "No, you just sign a lease and open a shop!" And I was like, "Oh!" I didn't know anything. Ignorance is bliss.
What was your first store like?
There was a 250-square-foot space on Ninth between First and Avenue A that used to be a little beauty salon. Six months later I opened a store with like, five items. This was 1999. I had my sewing machine in the back, where I would make all of my samples and patterns. It was like a little lab.
There was no H&M; on every corner, no Madewell, no Topshop. It was nothing like it is now. People were hungry for a wearable label that wasn't Banana Republic or J. Crew.
Do you remember your opening day?
The store was so small, I felt like I just had the door open to my room. When you start small, the fail isn't so big. Back in 1999, it wasn't as much of a financial investment. I didn't have a child yet, and I lived in a rent-stabilized apartment. It was pretty low-stress. You get hooked on the energy of watching people loving what they see. It sucks you in.
It seems like it would be much harder to do that now.
Yes! There's so much competition. When we first opened there was no Anthropologie. There was no H&M; on every corner, no Madewell, no Topshop. It was nothing like it is now. People were hungry for a wearable label that wasn't Banana Republic or J. Crew. And we really hit that niche.
When did you move your operation to Brooklyn?
I moved our older space, on Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, eight years ago, and I had both locations simultaneously for a year. I had moved to Prospect Heights at that point, and it was really hard to get to the East Village. That godforsaken train is never coming to Second Avenue! I was also doing wholesale for our in-house label, A. Cheng, and I had a baby, so it was getting to be too much to manage. I had to let the East Village space go.
How has the store changed in going from the East Village, to Fifth Avenue in Brooklyn, to Bergen Street?
It's really been fleshed out. When we got to a bigger space it became more practical and functional. We still have our own collection, but now we have tee shirts, and sweaters, and things that are necessities. You still want to make a choice, even if it's just a tee shirt. So many people who live in Brooklyn—myself included—don't want to go into Manhattan if they don't have to. Especially on the weekends. It's nice to know that you can get the same caliber of stuff you need here in Brooklyn.
When we moved to Bergen Street it was another level of refinement. We had these beautiful built-ins made, and we could really showcase our collections. Our style has become more relaxed, more at-ease. But we still have customers who come in wearing something they bought from me 12 years ago. I have to be like, "Come over here so I can cut a hole in that, because you've had that for way too long!" But that's the ideal, to buy something and have it still fit your aesthetic 12 years later.
How would you describe your label, A. Cheng?
I like to design based on fabrication. If this fabric has an interesting texture, the shape of the dress or skirt should be simple. A tee shirt shape in an old Japanese ikat fabric feels very modern. Some seasons I focus on a certain detail, like pintucking, and I flesh that out in every single category—jackets, tops, dresses. Now, it's about colors and minimal prints. Pretty shapes, things that are easy to wear. I like clean, simple, easy lines. I don't want to distract from the woman's face.
I like clean, simple, easy lines. I don't want to distract from the woman's face.
What do you have in store for spring?
We had one delivery that was all knits under out other label, Confetti. It's a looser celebration of shapes. We let the stitches show up, rather than forcing them into a certain silhouette. They're all in really pretty neutrals. There's this one poncho shape that you can wear over leggings or as a cover-up for the beach. The yarn is sort of dry and twisted, so the pieces feel breathable. It's like mesh, almost.
The second part of the delivery is about seasonless fabrics. There are things that you can wear right now with sandals to a wedding, but you can also put tights and boots with them. We try to use lots of natural fibers. Regardless of the season, you wear cotton year-round. I picked a very limited palette of neutrals and khakis, with navy as the print. We're also getting a bunch of dresses made in white because we're going to experiment with block printing and tie dye.
When you're buying for your shop, how do you pick pieces to complement your label?
It took a while to feel it out, but ultimately we have to love the entire collection. If we love 90 percent of the collection, if we like the way the lookbook is styled, if we like the models' makeup—those things point to all the details of the clothing. In the showroom something can look great, but sometimes when we get it here it looks out of place. I have to look at the entire branding and know that we're on the same path. It's hard, though! At the shows there are goodies everywhere, and I'm freaking out like, "Oh my god, everything is so cute!" But when you really think about the home it's going to sit in and the customer it's going to go to, 80 percent of it is frivolous.
What do you look for when you're hiring?
I probably look for all the wrong things. I look for someone who is really, really smart. I look for nice people, people who are even-keeled. It's important to understand the nuances of the labels—why this store is different from that store. A lot of that just comes from experience.
How would you describe the A. Cheng girl?
I think it's someone who is very no-fuss and wants really clean details. She's feminine but not girly, and is really strong. Kind of old school proper, and doesn't care what people think.
What do you mean by old school proper?
Writing thank you cards. Borrowing something from the neighbors and then returning it with something extra. Those little things that we tell ourselves don't matter. Or inviting friends over for drinks and dinner, and not caring if everything is perfect.
We went away this weekend, and a friend of ours let us stay at her house, and another friend watched our dog, and another friend let us borrow a car. I got gifts for everyone, and my daughter [asked why]. I was like, "Because I want to. It's a nice thing to do." She said, "We do nice things for people and we don't get anything." And I was like, "I don't really care if we don't get gifts from them. I don't remember what they did. I remember what I'm doing. And really, you don't do anything for anyone. You're seven. You're in your pajamas on the floor." I think it's interesting for her to pick up on that. You should be keeping tabs on yourself.
Is your daughter interested in fashion?
It changes. She says she wants to be a designer, but one that sews. Or she'll be like, "I'm going to grow up and work in the American Girl store." The other day she said, "I want to be a miner. For jewelry and coal, because you need energy." I'm like, "Yes! Okay!"
Time for the lightning round! 8am or 8pm?
Beer or wine:
Beer in am and wine in pm.
Favorite vacation destination?
Paris. Everyone is filled with style. Every little pinky.
Favorite neighborhood lunch spot?
Favorite happy hour spot?
Scandal or Homeland?
I'm a little over her facial expressions on Scandal. Homeland is on my list of shows to start.
Hours: Monday—Saturday, 11am—7:30pm. Sunday 11am—7pm.
What to Expect From the In-House Line: "It's about colors and minimal prints. Pretty shapes, things that are easy to wear. I like clean, simple, easy lines. I don't want to distract from the woman's face."
Image via Bergdorf Goodman/Instagram
Bergdorf Goodman officially debuted a special Kenzo installation this morning on 5F, which'll remain up for about a month. To kick things off, The Glittery will be doling out complimentary nail art this coming Saturday, from noon to 4pm that's inspired by the collection. Tiger talons, anyone?
· Ten Brands That Don't Have a New York Store But Should [Racked NY]
Image via Facebook/Free People Fifth Avenue
FLATIRON—The Free People store is celebrating Earth Day with a book launch party for Stacy Stowers' Eat Raw, Not Cooked, featuring samples of her all-natural sweets and cocktails. The first 50 people in attendance will receive a gratis signed copy of the book and a tote bag. The event starts at 5pm.
UPPER EAST SIDE—Join David Burke and Donna Karan at the designer's Madison Avenue store for a night of shopping and light bites, culled from the chef's latest menu—think crab cake truffles and pastrami salmon sticks. A percentage of the proceeds from clothing purchased that night will benefit City Harvest, which donates leftover restaurant food to locals in need. Stop by between 6pm and 8pm tomorrow to enjoy.
MIDTOWN WEST—Though it's a little ways off, Norma Kamali is hosting a one-day vintage sample sale on May 1. You'll find parachute styles, development samples, and one-of-a-kind pieces during this three-hour sale. RSVP here for location details and to guarantee entry. Can't make it? Get a personal shopper to go for you.