At New Location, J. Press Hopes for New Money
J. Press, the venerable clothier of generations of New York Wasps and their privileged offspring, moved from East 44th Street once the epicenter of conservative men’s fashion earlier this month, after nearly 50 years on the block. (Brooks Brothers, bless them, remains.) Just around the corner on Madison and 47th, a few changes at the new J. Press stand out. The old shop, like a Wasp wedding, was a little too big and a little too quiet. The clothes were immune to the vagaries of new fashion; you could always find a sport coat that went out of style sometime during the Carter administration and dress shirts with little button flaps over the chest pockets.
Let’s Go to the Swap
The new trend in clothes-shopping among the city’s more environmentally conscious sorts are clothing swaps, like last Sunday’s Swap-o-rama-rama (that’s not a typo) inside NYU’s Eisner & Lubin Auditorium. (There’s a smaller swap this Sunday afternoon, from 3 to 5 p.m., at 49 Warren Street in Manhattan.) It’s a simple idea: Walk in with a bag full of clothes, pay $10, and walk out with as much as you can carry. This is not vintage shopping in the fashion-y, “curated,” sense; rather, swappers peruse tables piled high with disused crap, hoping for the occasional gem. Polyester and pleats considered too weird to be vintage move on to a new life phase: Sewing machines lined the NYU room, and participants were invited to transform unwearable pieces into dolls, bras into handbags, and sweaters into mittens. We spoke to a few shoppers about their finds.
show and talk
Madewell? Ask Uma Thurman for the Number
On Monday night, Uma Thurman scheduled a special preview appointment to shop the Madewell spring collection, located in a private showroom near Astor Place. The “store” is open to New Yorkers for just eight days (tomorrow through Friday, and then next Monday to Friday) by appointment only. And to make the call, you need the “secret” phone number. Inspired by the Massachusetts workwear company founded in 1937, the spring women’s collection (currently available only at the label’s two stores in Dallas and L.A.) includes garment-dyed denim, washed “boyfriend” shirts, and an assortment of cool and girlie skirts, dresses, and accessories, ranging from $12.50 for tanks and tees to $248 for the flat, equestrian boots. The renowned jeans range in price from $75 to $115. Often likened to the hip and modern French label A.P.C., Madewell is owned by the J. Crew Group but bears virtually no resemblance to the classic, preppy label. The Manhattan pop-up store has garnered impressive fashion buzz owning to its semi-secret, exclusive viewings. For those who are not privy to the private shopping experience this week, do not fear: More Madewell stores are opening soon. This Friday, a branch opens in Austin, Tex., and in May, stores arrive in Short Hills, New Jersey, and Las Vegas. New Yorkers will have to keep waiting, however, as a permanent Manhattan spot has not been chosen. Sources swear that it will open before the end of 2007. Until then, women can just scour the city for that secret phone number. Doria Santlofer
Saks Now Offering Package Deals?
We couldn’t help noticing this mannequin in a Saks window as we walked past last night. We have no idea what they’re actually trying to sell with it. Or, come to think of it, maybe we do.
[Snap a Photo Op–worthy shot? Send it to us at email@example.com.]
in other news
Clothing Bargains for Transgender People, Too!In another small victory for the city’s ever-brawnier transgender-rights movement, Loehmann’s, that venerable mecca of fashion markdowns, has agreed to let its customers choose fitting rooms and restrooms based on the gender they identify as rather than the one they may look like to the rest of us. The decision came after Transgender Legal Defense and Education Fund filed a complaint with the city’s human-rights commission because the Seventh Avenue store last year denied Jane Galla, “a transgender woman and regular Loehmann’s shopper,” as the press release describes her, access to the women’s dressing room. Galla took today’s news with aplomb. “Like all New Yorkers, I appreciate a good bargain,” she said in the release, “but the price is too high if I have to endure discrimination when I go shopping.” Agreed. But, well, what if it’s a really good bargain? —Tim Murphy
Rolling and Reading• Rolling With Style gala. Cipriani, 110 E. 42nd St., nr. Vanderbilt Ave., 6:30 p.m. Fashion Week continues to suck the biggest names away from the gala circuit, but Carol Alt and Nick Cannon are expected. Nothing against Nick Cannon, but it’s amusing that the most highly approved sample usage of his name in the Urban Dictionary is “One time Nick Cannon made a joke that was almost funny … just kidding, it was terrible.”
• Because She Can book party. At a private residence on Greene Street. (If you really want to try and crash it, head to Soho and follow the smell of catered appetizers.) Because She Can is the roman à clef by former ReganBooks employee Bridie Clark. Now that Judith Regan, Anna Wintour, and Harvey Weinstein have all gotten the thinly-veiled-fictional-tyrant treatment, it’s clear there’s only one notoriously psychotic boss left to be exposed: this guy.
Or check out all our Agenda listings for tonight, selected by New York’s culture editors.
On Super Bowl Sunday, Spotted Pig Staff Partied Like It Was 1999
Where does Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman hold his holiday party? Not at the Spotted. When does he hold it? Not during the holiday season. And what does he serve? More food that you can imagine. This past Sunday — Super Bowl Sunday — Friedman threw a belated holiday party for his Pig staff at Del Posto, another eatery owned by part Pig owner Mario Batali. The feast was one of Dionysian excess — a roasted pig, mac ‘n’ cheese with black truffles, innumerable apps, cake “served by scantily clad babes.” Rob and Robin have the complete menu — plus photos! — at Grub Street.
Batali Helps Devise Insane Feast for Spotted Pig Staff [Grub Street]
Charlize Theron, Double-Dipping Monster?Charlize Theron has been wearing the wrong accessories lately, and yesterday she was sued for it. The Oscar-winning actress swung a deal with Swiss watch designer Raymond Weil, promising only to wear Weil’s watches at public events from October 2005 to December 31, 2006, according to a complaint filed in New York County Court today. In exchange, it says, Theron was to receive a “very substantial sum.” But then she appeared in an online ad for Dior, pimping perfume and wearing, the suit alleges, “faux canary diamond jewelry.” And wearing Montblanc jewelery on a billboard at a luxury-watch trade show in Geneva. And wearing a Christian Dior watch at a film festival in Austin. And — perhaps worst — in a “The watches your favorite celebrities are wearing” feature in an issue of the Tourneau Times, with the caption “Charlize Theron wears Dior.” Weil’s complaint doesn’t quite call Theron a monster, but it does charge she committed fraud. They want their money back. —Nick Divito
Read the complaint.
All These People Wore Khakis
On Monday the Gap — you know, that ubiquitous purveyor of khakis and pocket T-shirts you stopped shopping at sometime in college — fired its chief executive, Paul Pressler, after it decided he couldn’t turn around the flailing brand. As the company searches for a new direction, we sent an intrepid New York reporter to the enormous Fifth Avenue store in midtown to chat with shoppers on their way out and see what advice New Yorkers have for the retailing giant.
Men Don’t Make Passes?
And yet the guy behind the counter at A.R. Trapp Opticians on Madison Avenue tells us he’s never even seen Ugly Betty.
Ugly Betty [abc.go.com]
Still Standing at Tower
Tower Records, at long last, is really no more. Today’s the last day of business at the Village location; the Upper West Side branch closed yesterday. In the weeks leading up to this, cost-conscious music buffs have streamed into both locations to pick through thousands of marked-down CDs and DVDs. But some things you literally can’t (almost) give away. After the jump, a sampling of what remained at the Upper West Side store near the close of business yesterday. —David Browne
Hevesi Looking for New Car, Job
• Reelected or not, Alan Hevesi may be on his way out, and soon: The Times reports that governor-elect Eliot Spitzer will most likely be asking the State Senate to remove the wife-chauffeuring comptroller. Spitzer then gets to hand-pick and name his ex-ally’s successor. [NYT]
• At least Hevesi reimbursed the state for the misused 88 grand. It’s less clear how we get back the $1.3 million NYPD spent fighting bicycles that’s right, bicycles. That’s how much money the recent crackdown on the annual Critical Mass bike ride cost, according to an economist who tracks cops’ expenditures. [Streetsblog]
• Lest you think the police are only battling hippies on bikes, the NYPD issued a somewhat bizarre, 2002-style scare statement telling business owners to be “on the lookout” for female jihadists who can “hide explosives by faking pregnancy or sweet-talk their way past security officers.” Finally, a glorious merging of xenophobia and misogyny. Better check if their breasts are real, too! [NYDN]
• In a lurid Post front-pager, a Brooklyn man caught a cemetery caretaker urinating into a vase on his grandmother’s grave and got into a scuffle with him. The Post then proceeds to piss puns all over story, including “‘Relief’ Grief” and “Mourner Pee-ved.” [NYP]
• The rival Daily News, meanwhile, does an impressive job smearing Rupert Murdoch and by extension the Post with Nicole Brown Simpson’s blood; at least four indignant items are devoted to the Fox TV special and HarperCollins book wherein O.J. flippantly what-ifs the murders. [NYDN]
Stars Amped for Laser ZeppelinTonight’s boldfaced parties:
• American Museum of Natural History gala. Central Park West nr. 79th St., 7 p.m. Featuring a performance by Paul Simon in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. Guests to include Steve Martin, Mariah Carey, Rupert Murdoch, Caroline Kennedy, Alec Baldwin, Tom Brokaw, Tom Freston, David Koch, Lorne Michaels, Steve Brill, Helen Gurley Brown, Susan Lyne, Lesley Stahl and the entire cast of Saturday Night Live. In short, a concert for tuxedo-clad celebrities and billionaires in the aquatic wing of an epically cavernous museum. The New York gala scene is so trippy!
in other news
John Tierney, Contrarianly, Has Shortest ‘Times’ Op-Ed Tenure Ever!With Times op-edster John Tierney’s surprise announcement Tuesday that he’d be departing what is generally considered the most valuable real estate in American journalism — or at least used to be considered that, in the pre-Internet, pre-TimesSelect era — we were struck, as many no doubt were, by the brevity of his term. Tierney, who joined the page last year, replacing William Safire, was undoubtedly the shortest-serving current columnist. But, we wondered, was he perhaps the shortest-serving op-ed columnist ever? After some quality time with Nexis and the Times archive, we can now report that, yes, he was. After the jump, what we think is a complete list of all Times op-ed tenures since the page’s inception in 1970.
Bruce Ratner, Atlantic Yards Neighbors, All Set to Have Heart AttacksAtlantic Yards: IRS set to make thing more expensive for Bruce Ratner. [Brooklyn Papers]
Brownstone Brooklyn: In fancy-pants gentrified neighborhoods, people binge-drink more and die more often of heart disease. [Brooklyn Papers]
Carroll Gardens: Is a biodiesel plant coming? [Carroll Gardens Courier]
Downtown Brooklyn: Developer wants to “Botox” Fulton Street Mall, adding maybe a Cheesecake Factory and an Equinox. Existing shoppers ain’t thrilled. [Brooklyn Record]
East Village: Crappy scaffolding gets a scolding. [Neither More Nor Less]
Flatlands: The Aviator Sports complex, opening soon at Brooklyn’s Floyd Bennett Field, will be joined by high-end and highly caloric eateries like Junior’s, Grimaldi’s, and Jacques Torres. [Brooklyn Record]
Fort Greene: Residents fight to save a big rock. [NYDN]
Hell’s Kitchen: Pier 76, behind the Javits Center, would be a good place for a recycling transfer station. But then what to do with the tow pound? [Villager]
West Village: Locals still don’t think enough is being done about the queer kids who hang out at the Christopher Street Pier. [Villager]
Williamsburg: Northsix to close for renovations, plans are in the works for a new version of the club with a really lame name. [Brooklyn Record]
Uniqlo — Japan’s H&M — Signs Up Chichi Brands for NYC Store
Uniqlo, the Japanese source of hipster basics, is known for affordable T-shirt collaborations with artists like Barbara Kruger. Now we hear that the company plans to bring the same approach to its New York flagship when it opens on November 10. (Meantime, there’s a temporary store at Rockefeller Center.) Sources say Uniqlo has tapped high-end designers Lutz & Patmos (cashmere sweaters), Philip Lim (womenswear), and Cloak (menswear) to create collections for the store for spring 2007. An official announcement is expected on Monday, but spokespeople for both Lutz & Patmos and Cloak confirmed the partnership. (Phillip Lim’s spokesman would neither confirm nor deny.) All items — in Cloak’s case, a jacket, a slim jean, a trouser, a polo shirt, and some shirting — will conform to Uniqlo’s reasonable pricing philosophy (nearly everything is in the low double digits). We only hope the sizing will be more American than Japanese.
— Rima Suqi
Gamers Roam Manhattan, Seeking Next Level
Say what you want about this morning’s rush of hush-hush Playstation 3 preorder sales — at least it got the gamers out of the house.
Here’s how the whole event — itself reminiscent of a video game — went down: Around midnight, EB Games and Gamestop blasted their mailing lists with an announcement that down payments would be accepted on PS3 consoles, set to go on sale in November 17. And by first thing this morning, fans laid siege to the stores’ Manhattan locations — to find the coveted product doled out in sadistically small doses.