Mike Albo pens this week's "Critical Shopper" in the Times, and his review of New York's first Hollister store on Houston is pretty much the opposite of what Cintra Wilson wrote about JCPenney last week. And that could very well be because Hollister is essentially the opposite of JCPenney. Rather than "obese" mannequins, Hollister is overflowing with hot model salesboys and girls who are hired to flirt with you at your every ten paces. It makes the confusing four-story layout and shirts arranged to form "a kind of plaid fabric intestine along the wall" acceptable at the end of the day. Nonetheless, this must be said:
It’s confusing here. The interior is designed to resemble the Huntington Beach Pier, but it’s more like a store that is a club that is a pier. Bluish projections of waves appear along the first floor, and breezy pop music is blasted throughout the store at mind-peeling decibels. The management does not want photographers in the store in order to preserve the customer’s experience. I can see why. The rooms are so dark that flash photography would ruin the phantasmagoric quality, and the models would screech and run into the corners like bat people.
I stopped in the fragrance room and sampled the Laguna Beach body mist. It smelled like Jolly Ranchers being breathed on my face by Hayden Panettiere. Here the store also sells its California fragrance, which is spritzed on the mannequins every hour; it’s a noxious concoction that, I assume, is distilled from mink sex glands and the tears of broken-hearted teenage girls.