Manhattan’s Meatpacking District appears to be getting overcooked.
It’s a changing scene, drawing merchants with more mass appeal and tourists as of late, and showing signs of dissuading high-fashion tenants and the designer clientele. In the latest fashion departure, Rubin & Chapelle will shut its store today and relocate to Mercer Street in SoHo sometime this summer, WWD has learned.
Another longtime fashion tenant, Stella McCartney, recently moved out to a new spot in SoHo, and Alexander McQueen is said to be considering the same.
“Our lease is up in the Meatpacking District. We have really enjoyed being here. It was very exciting to see the momentum and the changes. But we feel like since mass-product brands moved in, that’s really changed the coloration of the clients,” said designer Sonja Rubin.
The Meatpacking District is located on the West Side just south of Chelsea. Until the designer crowd started opening shops, the district was more associated with prostitution and drugs. In recent years, especially since the opening of the High Line elevated park and various trendy hotels, the area has become a tourist mecca, encouraging landlords to push up rents to $300 to $600 — and sometimes higher — a square foot, which is about twice as much as SoHo, south of Houston Street. Plans to open the Whitney Museum of American Art on Gansevoort Street in 2015 are also pushing up the area’s rents, generating concerns that Meatpacking rents approach Madison Avenue rates, which currently peak at $1,000 a foot on ground level in the 60s.
“When we first opened, we were the only fashion store on the south side of 14th Street,” added Kip Chapelle. “There were still many meatpackers here then, and no hotels. The atmosphere was quite special. We loved it.”
The Rubin & Chapelle shop, designed by Annabelle Selldorf, opened in 2002 around the same time Stella McCartney opened for business, and not long after Jeffrey’s launched on 14th Street in 1999. But Rubin & Chapelle’s lease coming up for renewal convinced the designers it was time to relocate.
“There has been a transformation” in the Meatpacking area, said Rubin. “We were kind of the first ones to open a store here. It was very different then. It used to be the idea of discovery and exclusivity and artsy-ness. That was why we came. We had a great time in this neighborhood but are really excited about our new space. We feel like SoHo has a revival and would like to be part of it.”
The designers declined to reveal their SoHo location, at the request of the current tenant. They said it will be similarly sized to the Meatpacking unit at 2,200 square feet.
In recent years, retailers of a different ilk have popped up on and around West 14th Street, including Sephora and Apple. Soon Ugg will move in, too. “It’s so crowded Saturday and Sunday, you can’t walk the streets,” said one retailer.
Other sources have characterized the performance by retailers in the Meatpacking District as mixed, with Scoop and Apple among the more successful, and traffic spotty during the week but heavy on weekends. It has something to do with price points, according to Rubin. Stores such as Scoop, she noted, have an assortment in the $300-to-$400 range. Theory is also in the range. “We average $1,500” per piece, Rubin said.
More changes to the neighborhood are inevitable, as one Midtown retailer observed. “For a lot of folks there, leases are coming due,” considering many signed leases a decade or so ago that would be coming up for renewal. With the rents only getting higher, “you have to do a lot of volume to make the numbers work,” he said.
EXCLUSIVE: @tomford is opening its first-ever beauty store. The boutique, which opens November 20 in London’s Covent Gardens, was designed with the over-the-top glam Ford is known for. Read the full story on WWD.com, link in bio. #wwdbeauty #wwdnews (📷: Simon Wagner) #TomFordBeauty
New York-based DJ @harleyvnewton threw a party to celebrate the holiday collection of her dress and pajama line @hvn at the Ladurée Beverly Hills. It Girls @katebosworth, @rashidajones and more joined in on the fun, which included cocktails, croque monsieur sandwiches and a photo booth. #wwdfashion (📷: Owen Kolasinski/BFA.com)
For the holidays, @Burberry partnered with 20-year-old artist @blondeymccoy on a series of three outdoor murals in downtown Manhattan. The murals are McCoy’s interpretation of a Christmas eve party, the idea of charity and the spirit of family. His third mural, pictured here, is the most personal. The image depicts McCoy’s grandparents and father in London’s Trafalgar Square in the Seventies. “My work often features lots of sentimental objects.” #wwdeye
For spring 2018, designers applied bold colors and cartoonish motifs on everything from sneakers and belts to key chains. See all the top men’s accessories trends on WWD.com. #wwdtrends (📷: George Chinsee; Prop Styling by @rnasti; Market Editor: @luiscampuzano)
The @dior-sponsored @guggenheim international gala pre-party has a history of drawing cool-girl musical acts to serenade the crowd –– and last night was no exception. @haimtheband performed songs both new and old, and lured a star-studded audience with the likes of Rebecca Hall, Kate Mara, Mamoudou Athie and more. #wwdeye (📷: @lexieblacklock)
In a partnership between the @metopera and the @englishnationalopera, “Marnie” was born. The opera, with costumes sponsored by @mrporterlive, is an adaptation of the 1961 thriller by Winston Graham. Arianne Phillips, who created the costumes, is no rookie: She’s styled Madonna for her tours and created costumes for a myriad of films in the past. Read WWD’s interview with Phillips, where she talks about her inspiration for the opera’s costumes on WWD.com #wwdfashion
@barneysnyc took a different approach to their holiday windows this year. Instead of Christmas decor, Barneys tapped @thehaasbrothers to tell a story of positivity, gratitude and inclusivity via heartwarming silliness and humor. “It’s about kids and it’s about coming together and being family and loving each other,” said Simon Haas. #wwdfashion (📷: @joshuascottphoto)
Beauty influencer @kandeejohnson makes her foray into hair care with a collaboration with @ogx_beauty — making it the first time that OGX has teamed up for a product creation. The collab includes shampoos and conditioners in three scents. At 39 and a mom, Johnson is a different profile than the emerging social media stars, but is considered one of the pioneers of the digital beauty influencer world. Read WWD’s interview with her on wwd.com, including the strangest beauty product she’s ever tried #wwdbeauty