Changes in store in 2012

Changes in store in 2012
The Fred Segal name changes hands.
(Ben Miller / Ben Miller Photography)
Los Angeles Times Fashion Critic

Marni comes to L.A.

The Marni for H&M; collection launched in L.A. with a star-studded soiree that included Drew Barrymore, Andrea Riseborough, Jessica Chastain, Milla Jovovich, Lily Collins, Freida Pinto and Winona Ryder. The setting — the 1926 Sowden House in Los Feliz, designed by Lloyd Wright — couldn’t have been more magical. The Mayan architecture, lush palm trees, kilim rugs and cushions were the perfect backdrop for Marni’s playful, tribal-meets-modernist aesthetic. (February)


Fred Segal, the brand?

Worldwide rights to the Fred Segal name, a retail brand that has come to define the Los Angeles fashion-shopping experience, were purchased by New York City firm Sandow Media. The deal allows Sandow to put the iconic red, white and blue Fred Segal logo on merchandise as well as build Fred Segal stores around the world. By year’s end, plans had been announced to put Fred Segal stores in LAX’s Tom Bradley terminal and the SLS Hotel in Las Vegas as well as the Japanese market. (May, December)


Sizing up

Not sure what size you are? The Westfield Culver City shopping mall debuted a body scanner that will tell you. Shoppers step into the “Me-Ality” (“measured reality”) full-body scanning machine and in less than 20 seconds receive a printout listing some of the clothes they can buy in the mall that will fit them. There’s still no word on when we can look forward to a machine that will tell us if this blouse clashes with that skirt. (July)

Shoe-floor wars

In August, Macy’s Herald Square opened what it billed as “the world’s largest shoe department” at 39,000 square feet, following the July opening of the Barneys New York Madison Avenue flagship’s revamped shoe salon combining men’s and women’s shoes in 22,000 square feet of selling space. These are just two examples in an industry-wide trend of retail shoe expansion in response to a footwear business that has grown so lucrative that sales per square foot top most other merchandise categories. Saks Fifth Avenue’s New York flagship kicked it all off in 2007, when it opened a shoe floor so massive (22,000 square feet originally, and now 32,150 square feet) that it was able to get its own ZIP code suffix, 10022-SHOE. (July, August)


Too-skinny Minnie?

Barneys New York is known for its elaborate holiday displays, so there was much anticipation when the retailer announced it would be teaming up with Disney for this year’s holiday display titled “Electric Holiday.” The centerpiece of the display is a three-minute animated video in which Minnie Mouse imagines herself and some of her Disney friends as ultraslim fashion models wearing designer clothes. Naturally when the first concept art came out, there was outrage from Disney fans who felt that making Minnie a size zero sent an unhealthy message about body image. The finished project wasn’t quite as extreme as the concept art. Minnie maintains her classic form, except during a short dream sequence. (October)

Retail responsibility

This year saw several major names in fashion and retail take up causes. Nike and Nordstrom made major donations in favor of Washington state’s Referendum 74, which legalized same-sex marriage. Used-fashion retailer Buffalo Exchange announced it would stop using plastic bags, which will “keep an estimated 350,000 bags out of landfills every year,” according to a company press release. H&M; announced a recycling initiative for 2013 that will give discounts in exchange for old clothes, and Levi’s committed to eliminate all releases of toxic chemicals throughout its entire supply chain and products by 2020. In addition, all corners of the fashion industry rallied in support of Hurricane Sandy relief efforts. Fashion houses and retailers donated money and clothing to help support victims of the superstorm. (2012 and beyond)


Change on Rodeo Drive

This year Rodeo Drive saw the opening of a new Valentino flagship and the reopening of Dior’s Beverly Hills boutique. But the most interesting news on the Boulevard came from an unlikely source: the 99 Cents Only Stores. The chain is seeking a space to rub elbows with Armani, Harry Winston and other luxury emporia. In a press release, 99 Cents Only Stores CEO Eric Schiffer said, “We are confident a Rodeo Drive store will be successful because our stores do well in affluent areas.” (October)

Local love

In an effort to make the city’s contributions to apparel design and manufacture as instantly recognizable as its flora and famous folk, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa announced the “Designed/Made In L.A.” initiative and garment hangtag logo. The goal? To brand Los Angeles as a city perfectly positioned to take fashion production seamlessly from mood board to shipboard and raise the city’s apparel manufacturing profile overseas. (October)

Black Thursday, Giving Tuesday

It seems that Black Friday is no longer the biggest shopping day of the year — stores that opened on Thanksgiving Day and offered deals reaped benefits. Thirty percent of Americans surveyed in a Reuters/Ipsos poll said they shopped online or in stores this past Thanksgiving Day, slightly more than shopped on the day after. Also of note, a coalition of 1,400 charities launched Giving Tuesday to encourage shoppers to donate to worthy causes after the five-day shopping binge. (November)

High-low collaborations

Sales of two of the year’s most buzzed-about cheap/chic designer collaboration collections — the Neiman Marcus + Target Holiday Collection and Margiela for H&M; — were less than stellar, prompting fashion insiders to wonder if the concept has fizzled out. (December)

Open 24/7

Growth in the use of tablets and smartphones meant that the store was always open. Retailers and Web entrepreneurs responded with a torrent of new mobile applications to use in and out of the store. They allowed shoppers to browse and buy items in tastemakers’ closets (The Cools), to purchase celebrity-recommended items (Opensky), get a second opinion in the dressing room (Go Try It On) and more.

Michael Darling contributed to this report.