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Posts Tagged ‘Gilly Hicks’

Ruehl doesn’t rule

Tuesday, August 26th, 2008

Maybe there isn’t life after distressed denim and cargo pants.
Finally got over to Mall of America to check out Ruehl No. 925Abercrombie & Fitch‘s attempt to outfit post-grads. Located on the second level of MOA outside Nordstrom, right next door to the other new A&F concept, Gilly Hicks, Ruehl clearly used the same design team, with a brick facade and a maze of dimly lit rooms. Nearly impossible to navigate with a stroller, which should matter, when you’re trying to appeal to those of us beyond 21. I was expecting sophisticated new takes on basics for work and play. But the Ruehl wardrobe is designed for the dorm supervisor with a trust fund. Premium denim, lacy camis, cotton tops and sweats. Fewer logos than you’d find at the sister stores, but other than that, it’s basically more of the same, plus handbags priced at $300 and higher. Just what we need.
One corridor over, Levi’s has opened its first company store in town. Yes, more denim. But much less pretense.
Oh, and more jeans to come: True Religion will open a store at MOA in December. Other brands opening stores in the coming months include Nike, Columbia, Lush, Harley Davidson and Frederick’s of Hollywood.

Bras, boy shorts and sex appeal

Wednesday, February 13th, 2008

Give me a minute to cool off. I just visited Gilly Hicks Sydney, now open at Mall of America (second floor, west side near Nordstrom). In case you’re not familiar with this brand new chain, there’s a squad of sorority girls in camisoles and lounge pants to greet shoppers with "Welcome to Gilly Hicks. We’re the cheeky cousin to Abercrombie & Fitch." Anything Abercrombie left to the imagination – and we all know that wasn’t much – is revealed at its new women’s lingerie shop, which is filled with $13.50 cotton panties – you’ve never seen so many boy shorts – and $29 bras. The store takes its design cues from Hollister – it’s a dimly lit tangle of boudoir-like suites decorated with sketches of mostly naked men. Sexy, for sure. So who is going to shop here? The bras don’t seem to come in DD cups and you’d be hard-pressed to find many women over 30 who would dare to wear those short shorts. Teens are clearly the target – and if their parents didn’t already loathe Abercrombie, they will now. (Don’t tell Mom about the naked video on the Gilly Hicks website or she’ll really blow a gasket.) But of course, this is Abercrombie marketing, and enraging parents with overtly sexual marketing to teens is the tried and true strategy. Whether you’re a mom, a teen or somewhere in between, let me know what you think of this new shop (we’re one of the first four cities in the country to get it) – I’ll be writing about marketing lingerie to teens in my St. Paul Pioneer Press Savvy Shopper column.

New at MOA

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

It’s been a while since Mall of America had an exciting announcement
that didn’t involve SpongeBob. (The Nickelodeon Universe theme park
is supposed to open March 15, by the way.) But finally, MOA is rolling out the welcome mat for a whole new crop of stores, including two new concepts from Abercrombie & Fitch: Gilly Hicks Sydney, "an upscale but moderately priced" underwear brand launching world-wide this year and Ruehl, targeting the post-Abercrombie generation of 22 to 35-year-olds with urban business casual apparel.  After Gap’s "grown-up" Forth & Towne brand tanked before making it to Minneapolis, I’m glad we’re going to get a shot at shopping Ruehl. Other newcomers in the next few months will include Gymboree’s fancier line, Janie and Jack as well as company stores from Levis and Lacoste. Just when shopping starts to seem staid, MOA does come through, reminding us of its power to draw big brands. I just hope someone in this price-sensitive town is actually buying those lovely things at the new Burberry store. | Mpls.St.Paul Magazine © 2008 MSP Communications, Inc. All rights reserved