Miracolo On 34th Street: Fine Italian Comes to Macy’s

As long as you’re blowing a few hundred million on a renovation, you might as well class up your commissary. That’s the thinking at Macy’s, which is lifting the quality of life for shoppers with some serious Italian on the sixth floor. The Patina Restaurant Group (Summer Garden, La Fonda del Sol, et al) will lay out Neapolitan favorites at Stella 34 Trattoria, while Florentine gelato masters Vivoli will cover dessert.

Jonathan Benno of Lincoln Ristorante (another Patina property) has worked up a menu that leans on a trio of wood-burning ovens. There’s a Master Piazzaiolo Napoletano in the kitchen, turning out pies made with Caputo flour, San Marzano tomatoes, and water synched to natural springs in Naples. The Napoli focus carries through to the salumi starters, small-plate antipasti, and house-made pastas like the “priest strangler” (strozzapreti, named for its addictiveness, not any ecclesiastical scandal). The wine list is a hundred strong and Italian chauvinistic all the way. This being a trattoria, you’ll also find Negroni and Aperol cocktails. A “cibi ronda” does take-out, a major boon in the lunch wasteland that is Herald Square.

In this interminable winter, the hope of gelato seems more mirage than oasis, but frozen awesomeness is also coming to the same Macy’s space (both venues open next Monday, March 11th). Florence’s Vivoli Il Gelato is unveiling its first satellite location, Vivoli New York. The family business dates to 1929 and still follows the Italian way with top ingredients and an emphasis on craft. Gelati and sorbetti are made fresh daily. Old-country faves like Riso (arborio rice pudding) and Crema (cream custard) carry over, joining the likes of hazelnut and honey. Sorbets keep it pure, using only fruit, water, and sugar. The results will be more than ample reward for slogging through a One-Day Sale.

The modern interior of Stella 34, and its custom art by Robert Risko, will have plenty of competition from views of Broadway and the Empire State Building. This sixth-floor space was long relegated to storage, with windows blacked out to protect the goods. As Macy’s brings in more high-end brands, it’s fitting that they’re opening up to the glamour of the skyline, and adding fine dining. After all, a $400 million renovation should be good for something. 

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Love It or Hate It, Karl Lagerfeld’s Macy’s Line Will Sell Out

We first mentioned the Karl Lagerfeld and Macy’s collaboration late last year, and after much anticipation, the first image of an actual garment from the line emerged today. While some are saying “ugh,” others think it’s “apropos.” Regardless of whose side you’re on, Karl Lagerfeld’s new line for Macy’s is sure to sell out, simply because it’s the closest most of us will ever get to owning Chanel.

The 45-piece collection, featuring jackets, tees, and, yes, tweed, is set to debut on August 31 in 235 Macy’s stores and online. Even if you’re not loving the range, it’s might be worth picking up a piece or two for fashion archive purposes.

Who’s Next For Fast Fashion: Lagerfeld Followed By Ford?

Not even a week after consumers started picking H&M clean of its limited-edition collection by Lanvin’s Alber Elbaz, the industry is being hit with rumors of some pretty serious potential follow-ups. Tom Ford, whose namesake women’s wear collection (which debuts in Vogue’s December issue) will drop this spring, is, according to rumors, a potential candidate to follow in Elbaz’s footsteps. Fashionista is calling the speculated pairing of Ford and H&M “probably bogus,” which isn’t too hard to accept considering Ford’s SS11 presentation at NYFW this fall stood as a figurative middle finger to fashion’s increasing appetite for disposable styles and impatience with regard to the seasonal model. “To put something out that’s going to be in a store in six months, and to see it on a starlet, ranked in US Magazine next week? My customer doesn’t want to wear the same thing she saw on a starlet!” Ford famously says in Vogue’s December issue. It’s hard to imagine Ford now envisions extremely low-priced frocks from a store the produces trends as fast as they sprout as being reflective of his customer either.

But, you never know. Karl Lagerfeld is doing it a second time around, although not with H&M this time (the two collaborated back in the Wild West days of diffusion, in 2004). The infamous designer will be lending his name to a second lower-priced capsule collection come spring, which will be stocked exclusively at Macy’s. “We hear that the national retailer has inked a deal with the Karl Lagerfeld brand, owned by private equity firm Apax Partners, for an affordably priced ready-to-wear line that will range from jeans to gowns. The new line, slated to launch with a collection for fall 2011, is also expected to include a major online component, with e-commerce as a key distribution channel,” says UnBeige of the collaboration. Having premiered Madonna’s Material Girl line earlier this year and the Rachel Rachel Roy collection, the deal is quite a coup for Macy’s. And it just goes to show there will be no quieting of the designer collaboration storm anytime soon. Whether or not Ford will find himself at that storm’s center before long remains to be seen.

Lagerfeld Comes To Macy’s, Women Everywhere Begin To Scream

Karl Lagerfeld is a big deal. No bag will come anywhere close to spawning as many knock-offs as the quilted Chanel purse, and anything the man touches instantly turns to gold. You can imagine our extreme excitement over today’s news that Lagerfeld is being tapped to produce a line for Macy’s–meaning we’ll finally get our hands on some original Lagerfeld designs.

The line will feature a variety of pieces ranging from jeans to gowns, with a focus on quality. Lagerfeld says, “My concept of ready-to-wear today, at whatever level, is that it has to be as good as the most expensive brand.” After the buzz and hysteria of his line with H&M in 2004, we’re extremely excited to see what he does for Macy’s. We might even start camping out at the store tonight.

Congrats to Macy’s Poster Contest Winner: Garrett Pruter!

Big ups to friend-of-BlackBook Garrett Pruter, winner of Macy’s First Annual Fireworks Poster Design Contest! There will certainly be tweaks to Garrett’s proposed poster design, but meanwhile, click the thumbnail for a larger version and marvel at the talent coming outta Parsons these days. In addition to the artistic laurels, Garrett gets a cool $10k. Drinks?

Madonna Lets Lourdes Design, Wishes She’d Dress Differently

More details of Madonna’s line for Macy’s are surfacing. And, it turns out Lourdes, whom it was previously reported had inspired the tween line, is more involved than just playing muse. In fact, “when it comes to designing the line it’s pretty much her point of view,” Madonna says of their line, “Material Girl.” “Lola’s really doing the work. I just sit in the corner on my BlackBerry,” she echoed to US Weekly. (Stella McCartney is apparently to blame for inciting Lourdes’ design instincts: the fellow rock ‘n roll scion gave Madge’s daughter fabrics and taught her quite a few things about the design process.)

So what does Madonna think of her daughter’s personal style? “You could say it’s in the DNA – but I could never tell her how to dress…If anything, I wish she’s dress more conservatively. How’s that for irony?” she says to US Weekly. But, in an additional interview with AP, Madonna is quick to explain her criticism of her daughter’s sartorial choices: “I am boring basically. She reminds me of me when I was younger. She just goes for it and tries different things. It doesn’t look like she thought too much about it.” At the end of the day, the Material Girl admires the lack of self-awareness and whimsy with which her daughter dresses and, most likely, designs too. (Her only real complaint: when the Louboutins and her ‘favorite’ skinny jeans go missing and the culprit is obviously her offspring.)

Madonna Follows in Olsen Twins’ Footsteps for Macy’s Tween Line

Just a few weeks ago, word surfaced of Madonna’s first-ever clothing line. While few specifics were released, now comes a wealth of information about the exclusive for Macy’s that will be called (ready to cringe?) … “Material Girl” for clothing, “Truth or Dare” for underwear and accessories. Madonna’s pulling a page from Ashley and Mary-Kate’s design book. No, she’s not hiring on Balenciaga favorite Marie-Amelie Sauvee as stylist or focusing on luxe basics. She’s designing for tweens.

Madonna’s juniors line will hit stores in August and is inspired by her own offspring. Madonna’s daughter Lourdes Ciccone Leon “is serving as the muse for the line and has been involved in design meetings for the collection.” Considering Lourdes has some pretty badass style for a girl her age, maybe a teen line isn’t such a nutty idea after all. Regardless, it’ll definitely be cheap.

And apparently a collaboration with Ed Hardy isn’t totally out of the realm of possibility. “Hypothetical opportunities for Madonna and MG Icon include endorsing other Iconix brands, such as Ed Hardy, which the singer has often worn in the past.” Madge is also partnering with a not-yet-named eyewear manufacturer come fall, meaning head-to-toe Material Girl-approved wardrobes will soon be possible.

Jessica Stam & Lily Allen to Launch Lines

Models, actresses and singers all want to be designers these days. From Coco Rocha’s recently launched line to Nicole Richie’s boho-inspired collection, there’s no shortage of crossover into fashion designer. The latest photogenic faces trying their hand at designer? Lily Allen and Jessica Stam. The latter tweeted yesterday, “Just finished my first design meeting with @Rachel_Roy. I’m doing a capsule collection with her for Macy’s. So much fun sketching designs!”

As for Allen, she’s leaving music altogether to pursue her sartorial passions. First up, Allen plans to launch a vintage shop in London called Lucy in Disguise, which she’ll curate along with her sister, Sarah Owen. “Allen and Owen will cherry-pick vintage pieces for the shop under the mentorship of Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, the English vintage gurus who have helped turned Camden Market into the destination it is today,” Style.com says of the soon to launch shop. But, Allen’s mission isn’t only to find and then pass along beautiful items.

In fact, the shop is a statement of sorts against fast fashion. “The thing I love about vintage is that it’s all incredibly well made, like Chanel—it lasts forever,” she says. “Hopefully, Lucy in Disguise will be an education as well, teaching customers there’s something other than mass-produced rubbish.”

Madonna to Design for Macy’s

Rumor has it Madonna is gearing up to design lingerie exclusively for Macy’s. While no comment has been released from either the pop icon or the department store, WWD is announcing quite a few details about the prospective collaboration. First off, in addition to undergarments it’ll include clothing, accessories and shoes. “Label names under serious consideration for the product lines include Material Girl for the apparel and Truth or Dare for the lingerie and underwear,” says WWD, a hat tip to Truth or Dare the 1991 doc that followed Madge’s Blonde Ambition tour.

While the idea of Madonna and Macy’s may seem strange, it’s not the first time the fishnet-loving star has partnered with a lower-priced store. Back in 2007 she designed a collection called “M” for H&M, which included kimonos, tailored separates and, as was the height of headgear at the time thanks to Miuccia Prada, turbans. Unfortunately for Madge, her namesake collection was greeted with merely a “mild welcome in NYC,” says Reuters. Hopefully her second attempt can stir up a bit more excitement.

Whatever happens with Madonna and Macy’s, if the line does hit it will be entirely the Material Girl’s doing. “The singer is known to demand total creative control over her projects, which is one of the reasons she has yet to launch a fragrance,” says WWD. Apparently “beauty companies have been reluctant to meet her financial demands, while many question whether her appeal remains as strong as it once was.” Madonna controlling? Who knew?