The Princess is beyond mystified at this juncture by the ups and downs, the little vagaries of the retail world, so without editorial comment here’s what we can report about the varying ‘marriages of commerce’ recently announced.
First off, the numbers are in, the data never lie, and the shoe sales at Burberry are more than sizzling, they are on fire. Therefore the luxury retailer plans to expand this segment of their business tenfold, and accomplish that massive task in five years time. The Princess loves capitalism. Really. Above you see the company’s ‘Stud Plate Bootie’ (left) available for pre-order at Nordstrom, and the Burberry ‘Armor Plate’ Buckle Flat (right), also from our good friends at Nordstrom. Those who think The Princess is merciless in her criticism of this firm for their commercialization of the brand should note the second shoe shown above, as it is a style perilously close to “cute,” also something we might actually purchase and wear! Egads! Not to worry. Our keepers will ensure that doesn’t happen.
Also Wednesday, word from everyone’s favorite discounter, Target, they have another limited-edition collection on its way, this time from Sami Hayek, brother of Hollywood actress Salma Hayek. The line will feature contemporary furniture, bedding and stationery. Prices will run the gamut, with a low of .99 cents to a high of $149.99 for an office desk.
The collection is aimed at college students and according to Le Boutique, it will be done “with minimal packaging that is designed to be reused or recycled, making the items both stylish and practical.” Hayek is quoted as saying the Target collection reflects his “core design beliefs, which include structure, humor and a commitment to sustainable design.” Below you see the Sami Hayek™ for Target® Striped Comforter Set in Brown on the left and the Reversible Coverlet Set in Gray/Tan on the right.
The snooze news release goes on to say that “Anyone who values function and practicality housed in great design will gravitate toward Hayek’s product.” Of course; we were thinking just that. When one does a search at the Target site for ‘Sami Hayek,’ 17 results are returned. We do know there are pieces also available for purchase in the stores, we just don’t know how many or what kind of merchandise they are. Have any of our fearless readers spotted any Hayek pieces yet? Anyone with early reviews they can share? As best we can ascertain, this clearly isn’t the Whim line from Cynthia Rowley, but then it’s not intended to be. Some of the pieces appear to have bright colors that pop and reversible fabrics – and you know we like reversibility!
And now for some truly significant discourse. I know, I know, you have been very patient these past months and previous 99 posts, wondering if we might ever engage in some kind of meaningful conversation about life, man’s inhumanity to man, that kind of thing. Well, that time has arrived, and to whom do we give our thanks for initiating the dialogue? Eddie Lampert* and his gang of goofballs at Sears. (This is definitely a candidate for the “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up” list.) Evidently LL Cool J is going to save Sears, with a casual clothing line for juniors & young men, girls’ & boys’ that is supposed to hit stores starting this September. The price points will be at the higher end of the spectrum for Sears, $22 for a graphic tee and approximately $50 for a pair of jeans, according to Women’s Wear Daily. What greater topic for meaningful conversation than this?
According to WWD “The collection of casualwear for juniors, young men’s, girls’ and boys’ will roll out to 450 of Sears’ 900 stores in September and could generate as much as $100 million to $150 million in its first year, sources said.” A 40-year-old hip-hop star at Sears? I dunno’. Apparently he’s at Macy’s (See reference below) with a different line, and has been for a few months. BTW, we don’t know about the hyphenation of hip-hop, and that is causing us all sorts of aggravation…. guidance from any of our, well, our hipper readers?
Think of all the other old dullards like TP learning what LL Cool J stands for: Ladies Love Cool James. Oh. Duh. Did everyone but yours truly know that? Huh? I mean, I might have walked into a Sears to learn that fact (doubtful), maybe (not) looked more closely at an ad, perhaps (please call Sister Mary Hand Grenade as this whopper is getting bigger and bigger) watched a TV commercial more closely if I had the time. Or not. Gone into a Sears to return a Lands End purchase gone bad? In a heartbeat. But then, we are not, most assuredly not the demo Sears is after. Not even close. And as mentioned above, we are a raging capitalist at heart, and nothing would be better than to see this little endeavor go great guns.
Now, The Princess does know celebrity lines are what it’s all about in terms of branding and buzz for retailers. Think Vera Wang at Kohl’s. Or the upcoming Avril Lavigne at Kohl’s. Can we talk about Jessica Simpson? Martha Stewart? Hello? It is not as though this is unheard of. But it is also not as though Sears hasn’t tried this. Repeatedly. Again. And. Again. And Again. The Chicago Sun-Times covers Sears quite well, they have to – the company is practically in the paper’s backyard. And according to an article in Wednesday’s paper, Sears has been down this path 97 times:
“Sears previously launched 97 multicultural concept stores in its stores, and has offered African-American-themed items in its catalogs. It also has sold labels by Latin TV star Lucy Pereda, as well as well-known designers Liz Claiborne and BCBG’s Max Azria.”
“Meanwhile, analysts expect another dismal quarter at Sears when the Hoffman Estates-based retailer reports earnings on Thursday.”
Where the Princess becomes completely confused is this: no one seems to mention in any of today’s coverage that LL Cool Jay just launched another line of clothing this spring, the Todd Smith line! (The star’s real name is Todd Smith.) Nor do we see mention of Smith’s 2006 apparel line; this link takes you to a 2006 MSNBC story that makes interesting reading. The photos below are datelined March 8 of this year with a caption reading “LL Cool J Debuts His New Clothing Line ‘Todd Smith’ at Macy’s Department Store,’ so TP is most confused. Why start an additional line, arguably competitive line?
We leave this confusion behind for the time being, and move on to the news that Hermes will open its first stand-alone Mens shop in New York sometime this fall. The success of its men’s and women’s apparel lines has been explosive, and added emphasis on menswear has been in the works for some time. The luxury goods seller wants to continue raising its mens ready-to-wear profile; the heavy focus on men’s products at its Financial District Boutique that opened earlier this year is proof of that. Below, a few looks from the Hermes Spring and Fall 2008 RTW Collections.
Tomorrow we’ll celebrate our 100th (or 101st, we have to check!) post and chat about the competition Hermes will face from another upscale mens retailer also planning to open a store on Madison Avenue.
TODAY’S ABBREVIATIONS DEMYSTIFIED: