Category Archives: Collaborations

A World for Men to Shop

**Just thought I’d share a feature I contributed to the 2012 Department Store Yearbook. It’s an in-depth look at the shape of men’s retail today (in store and online) and presents a world of possibility for brands and retailers. Enjoy!

Men finally have their very own stores to shop in after sharing retail space with womenswear for decades. The reason for the shift comes as a result of both a more educated male customer, and also because men are more into fashion and largely making their own buying decisions without influence from their female counterparts. That means that the time is right for retailers and e-tailers to finally market to guys, cultivating their very own man cave to explore.

MEN’S-ONLY DESTINATIONS

One of the pioneers of the men’s-only retail concept is J. Crew. In 2008 the Liquor Store (named for its former use) opened in New York City’s TriBeCa neighborhood, selling an expanded selection of men’s products, which had previously only sold under one roof alongside womenswear. J. Crew’s men’s-only stores have had much success and are attributed to revitalizing the menswear business. The stores now boast 4 locations, 3 in New York City and 1 in a mall in New Jersey. Aside from offering a complete universe of J. Crew menswear and select third-party brands, each location retains elements from the store’s former use, such as the aforementioned liquor store signage as well as a bank vault used to display product at another location. Accessories and lifestyle products that inspire each store are also factored in including coffee table books, DVDs and vintage items.

Ralph Lauren has also helped cultivate men’s-only retail by turning his New York City Rhinelander Mansion into a 4-story men’s destination in 2010. While Mr. Lauren has always been a master of visual merchandising, it’s important to note that in this instance, as well as the other examples, simply creating a more “masculine” concept of the women’s stores isn’t the answer. At Mr. Lauren’s men’s-only address, 5 different brand labels are featured amidst displays like a hunting lodge. Customization and personalization services also heighten the experience. And as is the case with most men’s-only stores, the women’s store is located conveniently right across the street.

European luxury brands are also expanding into men’s-only retail outlets. 2010 was a telling year starting with Hermes Man on Madison Avenue in New York. In Paris, Balenciaga opened the first freestanding men’s store with a high-tech look featuring cube displays and an illuminated staircase.

Dries Van Noten also went the route of men’s-only in Paris and sells one-of-a-kind products not sold elsewhere. In Fall 2011, another crop of luxury brands opened men’s-only locales, including Christian Louboutin in Paris, Jimmy Choo in London (a simultaneous men’s collection and store launch) and Valentino in Hong Kong.

With so many designers and brands going the route of brick-and-mortar men’s-only stores, it will become increasingly difficult for department stores to differentiate themselves. If you’re a department store with only a selection of a branded product, the customer is going to go to the designer’s store for greater assortment. One solution would be collaborations between retailers and brands to provide “exclusive” product and drive customers into department stores. It is also becoming more important for department stores to invest in their own private label lines, which can be used to fill a void in merchandise and also help in developing a unique identity. Keeping in mind that men tend to be highly brand/store loyal, department stores have the added advantage of selling familiar labels, while also introducing new ones that customers will be more open to because they’re right next to their favorite brands. The key to this is finding the right balance to make the customer feel at home with the brands they know, while presenting just the right amount of newness.

THE LANGUAGE OF SHOPPING ONLINE & EDITORIALS

Knowing that we are now dealing with a more educated and interested customer, the key to success for brands and retailers is to engage the male audience. Recognizing the fact that men shop differently than women is key, and so far the e-commerce route has been much more editorial, speaking to a man’s quest for information and advice.

Launched in February 2011, Mr Porter, the male extension of Net-a-Porter, has already achieved much success. The e-tailer features extensive editorial content ranging from brand introductions to style icons and lifestyle tips. Much of the point there is to engage the customer into what to wear and how to wear it. The site’s Style Advice section is popular for answering common questions from an expert, and then suggesting related products to purchase. Recognizing that there is still the demand for women shoppers, Mr Porter also launched a guide geared to women buying for men.

Gilt Groupe, the American purveyor of flash sales, has also quickly grown into several male outlets. First there was Gilt Man, the flash sale site in which 400,000 male customers proved that women are not alone in their quest for discounted impulse buys. Then, GiltMANual was introduced as an editorial outlet providing fashion news, mostly drawing viewers back to flash sales.

In August 2011, Gilt launched Park & Bond, a full-priced men’s site which not only offers a full assortment of products, but also provides more extensive advice and editorials. Furthering the cross between editorials and retail, GQ magazine teamed up with Park & Bond for a brick-and-morter pop-up store in New York City just in time for Holiday 2011.

Coach has had men in mind ever since the launch of their first men’s-only store in New York City back in 2010. While the brick-and-mortar store concept continues to expand (a new men’s store recently opened in Las Vegas and a Coach Men’s pop-up opened in London for the holidays), Coach has a men’s Facebook page which has harbored over 14,000 fans since May 2011. The goal here is parallel to other editorial initiatives, featuring products and features such as “Did you Know” with the goal to educate the customer.


The younger male customer is also becoming more responsive to editorials. Topman recently launched Topman Generation, a monthly online magazine that features icons, music, film and art. The only connection to product is noted on items worn by featured personalities, with the end point once again speaking to engage the customer.

A STYLISH RELATIONSHIP: MAN & BRAND

It’s an exciting time in men’s retail. The eagerness of men to listen and learn makes retail and e-tail environments much more enticing. We are no longer only speaking to wife or girlfriend who tends to buy exactly what they’re looking for; instead we’re providing the story behind brands and educating men on what to wear and how to wear it. Knowing that men and women shop differently in both brick-and-mortar and online environments means that we can now provide men with the right options to engage them, increasing loyalty and encouraging an ongoing style relationship.

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Filed under Brands, Collaborations, Designer, Lifestyle, Luxury, Magazines, Retail, Websites

This is What a Target Store Looked Like Yesterday at 8pm

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For once, I’m actually in the States for one of Target’s designer collaborations. But typical this collab was not. As you surely know, yesterday was the release of Missoni for Target in stores and online. I was in fact part of the thousands of people that contributed for the website not working for HOURS yesterday – in fact I was partly convinced that the “Internal Server Error” was my laptop, but twitter confirmed that the world was experiencing the same issues. Luckily I got online sometime around 11am and managed to get a few sweaters and dresses. Now, being that I am in fact in the States, I needed to get into a store, which I did last night at 8pm. The slideshow above shows the store as it was. I must also note that the Target I visited was your typical suburban Target, 2 hours away from a city.

So you might have been a little excited at the sight of ACTUAL MISSONI FOR TARGET MERCHANDISE not only lining the racks but FULL. That was the girls and infant/toddler department. The womenswear selection was almost bare, with a few sweaters and corduroy coats. I was really excited to see Missoni shoeboxes, but what was left was mainly styles for girls. Other accessories displays were completely bare. My partner in crime managed to get a tie and the only cardigan style remaining in menswear, which for only $49.99 was of excellent quality. A candle and a few stationary sets were around and there were still a few vases left. Excited that there were still some items to be had – and just generally excited to see it in the store – I snagged a card set, some girls clothing and a ladies coat to gift and the 2 menswear items.

In today’s market of numerous collaborations, Missoni for Target goes down as one of the best ever. The entire collection is said to be sold out. So what can we learn from this? For one, Target did an excellent job at PR and marketing leading up to the launch date. As one of my friends told me, “You might have luck in your suburban Target, there is no hope in NYC.” I was skeptical that people in a suburban middle-class area even knew what Missoni is let alone about the release date of the Target collab. I was wrong. I spoke to a sales person who said that at this particular Target, there were no lines, but that the RTW departments were crazy all morning with most clothing items selling out then. Of course there is something to be said about the supply and demand here. In my estimation, this was the most hyped Target collab with a major Italian designer. That went far. The limited edition factor also went far. IF Target would have produced enough Missoni product to meet the demand, would customers still want it as much? Probably not. The thrill that surrounded this designer collaboration surpassed that of even the most popular H&M collaborations. I’ve got to almost feel bad for Versace at H&M which launches in 2 months because I don’t feel like it’s going to be as major as Missoni for Target.

If you’ve read this and are in any way distressed by not scoring any goods yesterday, I have a solution. At posting time of this blog, there are 16,446 Missoni for Target clothing, shoes and accessories items on eBay! But Target prices, they are not.

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Who Killed Bambi by aleXandro Palombo

I can’t stop laughing. Leave it to aleXsandro Palombo to keep the fashion industry amused. Here at Fashion Snoops, we’ve been a fan of his work ever since we first spotted the collaboration between him and Parisian brand ELEVEN PARIS, depicting our favorite editrix and designer friends on graphic t-shirts. Some of aleXsandro Palombo’s newest “Humor Chic” work portrays everyone’s favorite Disney deer – Bambi – in a series of illustrations from “No Fur” Fendi ad campaigns to The Day After Bambi Is Dead (shot by Karl Lagerfeld), Anna Wintour in Bambi Is Dead, André Leon Talley in I LOVE FUR and more. Hysterical! Someone please tell me that these graphics will show up at the next Bread & Butter show.

Bonus: See all the Bambi illustrations HERE plus a very special Bambi series on Pippa Middleton.

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Filed under Artists, Brands, Collaborations, Designer, Prints & Patterns

Rodarte x Opening Ceremony FOR GUYS!

Girls don’t always get the cool stuff and leave guys in the dust. Behold, the Rodarte for Opening Ceremony collection which just launched yesterday. If you remember the covet-worthy sweaters the Rodarte sisters did for guys last year, then you’re probably going to LOVE the first-ever men’s collection.

The above photos are my favorites of the collection, although there’s more on the OC site. While the men’s collab isn’t quite as extensive as the one for the gals (and understandably), I think it’s a really cohesive look for the Rodarte guy. There are some definite cross-overs with women’s product, such as intarsia sweaters, floral prints and leather items, however it definitely works to get that Rodarte look across. Also I think the color palette works well here. Items such as the leather t-shirt or bomber jacket – are offered in a great vintage shade of chocolate as well as black. The chocolate speaks more to the die-hard Rodarte fan and seems to hit that California road-trip vibe just right, while the black is more universal.

The Rodarte by Opening Ceremony collection is available now in OC stores in NY, LA and Tokyo as well as Barney’s in NY, Holt Renfew and a few others retailers in Moscow and Saudi Arabia which makes me wonder WHAT IS TAKING SO LONG for OC to open up shop in Paris (or at least sell this fab collab in Colette?). Price points for guys run around the $250 – $400 range, while the leather pieces go for upwards of $2000. As I mentioned in my ladies blog, I hope this collab opens the door to a greater commercial success for Rodarte, and as well, I would love to see men’s product further developed.

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Gilt-y Gifts

It’s no secret that I’ve long been a devout Gilt Groupe member (read: addict). And while I had the old school experience of real-life American mall shopping on Black Friday, Gilt launched their very own Holiday Shop last week – a collaboration of sorts with Marie Claire editor Nina Garcia.

For 4 weeks, Gilt’s Holiday Shop will feature a new sale each week, which is “themed” according to the December issue of Marie Claire. The current sale features Color, and sales to follow include Cozy, Natural and Retro. Here’s a glimpse.



Ok so the Color theme is quite obvious.. you scroll down the page where green turns to blue, turns to orange, yellow, red, etc. You could search by product category – say scarves, hats, or leather – or by size. The selection is vast and covers mens, women’s, kids and home gifts from various price ranges, though you can’t narrow it down to those departments. (You could however do that on the more extensive Gilt-only part of the site which also allows you to shop by personality, for her/him etc. and by price.)

The thing that is missing here for me is that aside from a banner at the top of the screen, I see no connection between Marie Claire and Gilt’s themes. They are apparently the same, but I don’t have Marie Claire in front of me and even on their website, I only found 1 article about the Nina + Gilt feature.

Gilt is surely at the forefront of flash sales and the team-up with Nina Garcia has potential and value with a curated perspective. However I need to see a greater magazine tie-in here, which is something that’s also been lacking in Gilt’s shop-by-trend sales. I would love to see a pretty picture or trend collage that entices shoppers not only from a have-to-have-it product standpoint, but from a broader perspective that combines online shopping by product and the beauty of magazine editorials.

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Filed under Celebrities/Models, Collaborations, Magazines, Retail, Websites

Sporty Stella

Stella McCartney launched the first of three athletic inspired collections which are part of a new lifestyle collaboration with adidas, and that includes menswear! Stella has been at the top of the activewear game since her first collaborations with adidas, and we’re sure that things can only get more exciting with her design involvement in the 2012 Olympics. While concise, the new range includes both men’s and ladies gear. It will be interesting to watch Stella’s hand in menswear progress, either in activewear or dare I say, sportswear. With the launch of Stella Kids just around the corner, I’m sure a full lifestyle range isn’t too far off.

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Werk It: A.P.C. x Carhartt

The trend for heritage, Americana and workwear is still going strong, and Jean Touitou over at cool French brand A.P.C. is on top of it with a brand new collaboration with Carhartt. The A.P.C. x Carhartt capsule collection offers a tight selection of denim worker shirts and jackets, jeans, t-shirts (complete with a fancy new logo) and hats. In stores and online now.

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Filed under Brands, Collaborations, Denim