Power was slowly being restored in Texas on Tuesday after the ravages of Hurricane Ike, permitting more retailers to get back to business.
But with almost 1.5 million customers — 66 percent of businesses and households — still without electricity in the Houston metropolitan area, authorities said it might be weeks before full service was restored.
“It is improving,” said Terry Hadley, a spokesman for the Public Utility Commission of Texas. “It will take anywhere from a few days to a few weeks. It is such a large area.”
Houston Mayor Bill White said a critical shortage of ice to prevent food spoilage was one of the biggest problems. He also cited a delay in distribution of meals, ice and water by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
As President Bush viewed the storm wreckage along the Texas coast from a helicopter Tuesday, some stores and malls reported brisk business for basic needs, like underwear and linens. The Texas Attorney General’s Office said it was investigating alleged price gouging by some merchants.
“Ike is certainly a shock, but over the next 12 months somewhere between $10 [billion] and $20 billion will flow into the state from insurance payments and charitable donations and federal disaster insurance,” said Bernard Weinstein, an economist at the University of North Texas. “That is new money that gets pumped in, and in a curious way natural disasters often lead to economic boomlets as the area rebuilds.”
An estimated 300,000 to 400,000 people suffered significant property loss. Some of the worst hit areas, including swaths of Galveston and the Bolivar Peninsula, were almost leveled and authorities urged evacuees to stay away.
Farther north, The Galleria, the largest mall in Houston, had 365 stores up and running Tuesday and just 10 were closed, said Nicole Davis, marketing director. “We are seeing quite a bit of a crowd. I see a lot of people buying shoes and clothing,” she said.
At Macy’s stores that were open in metro Houston “the traffic has been surprisingly strong,” said Ed Smith, regional vice president.
Two more Macy’s were to reopen Wednesday at San Jacinto Mall and Pasadena Mall, and the company was assessing damages at seven other stores in the area.
A cool front brought comfortable temperatures in the mid-70s. “That has been a real godsend,” Smith said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast