Halls: goodbye and hello

So, farewell then, Plaza and hello to Crown Center. Halls spent nearly 50 years on the Plaza before finally closing up and re-opening at the Crown Center (owned by Halls) on Sunday Sept 14th. Truth be told, it was probably an inevitable and almost certainly wise move – the Halls plaza building seemed to be somewhat of a metaphor for Kansas City itself in recent years – grand in scope but when you looked closer it was tired, depressing and smelled of damp. What will happen to the building, of course, only time will tell. It’s an architectural curiosity that may well sit idle for a while. It also means that Burberry is now the only high end clothing store on the Plaza, which will make their position yet more precarious as the Plaza seems to shift further away from high end stores into becoming one huge eatery.

But what of Halls at Crown Center, well it is a Halls II of sorts. Going with the resurgence in life currently running through KC as a city courtesy of events such as Google Fiber, it has taken on a more modern outlook and the 60,000 square foot store at 2450 Grand Boulevard has looked to sweep away the fusty, fuddy duddy image and become more forward looking. A good example of this is the creation of the H Bar where customers can take a break for food and drink whilst shopping and the addition of flat screen TVs.

All in all, Halls seems to be taking a book out of Selfridges of London in terms of ‘the full shopping experience’, and let’s hope that it manages to keep all the high end lines as there are some names missing in their designer lines. For KC to really revitalize itself, it has to – absolutely has to – have a high end department store to show that the aspiration and the money is still in the local community and not fall foul of an ebay or Amazon shopping mentality.

Halls Plaza is dead, long live Halls Crown Center, may it reign long and prosperous.

UPDATE:

Having some time off, we decided to pay the new Halls a sneaky visit and it feels much more modern and open plan than the plaza location and, although in some areas the lines do feel a little thin – female shoewear in particular – it does feel that the apparel sections have been expanded and, if anything, feels more like an upmarket store than it ever did at the Plaza, their traditional lines such as Hugo Boss, now being complemented with more avant garde lines such as Clover Canyon.

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Entrance from the main atrium

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The funky looking H Bar

Not only that, while shopping we bumped into a trunk sale, complete with fashion show – which it seems may be a regular feature at the new location.

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Focus on: Baldwin Denim

 

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While the Plaza has seen some stores move out – farewell Pottery Barn, you shall be missed, and welcome back to Westport Blanc Burger – 2014 saw the arrival on the Plaza of Baldwin Denim. In fact Baldwin Denim has opened not one, but two stores in Kansas City, the other being in Leawood. Founder and owner, Matt Baldwin originally had a boutique in KC back in 2003 after getting a degree in apparel manufacturing from the prestigious FIDM. Through running this boutique, Matt realized that there was a gap in the market for a modern, uptempo, American denim brand and so, in 2009, he began Baldwin Denim. Originally starting out with very limited-run capsule collections, Baldwin Denim has gone from strength to strength with Matt himself being recognized by in 2013 as one of the menswear designers of the year by GQ Magazine and has grown to include sportswear and a women’s wear collection. Unfortunately anamericaninwesport was not able to get pulls so we are lacking in images, but the full collection can be viewed here. 

 

While some people may baulk at paying $298 for sweatpants, the Baldwin design ethic of fit and fabric runs through the entire line with particular emphasis to detail – Anamericaninwestport considers the pocket pullover and the Rivington pants being particularly outstanding. This season’s palette is fairly muted – mainly blues (obviously) and is heavy with grays and off white/oatmeal; the exceptions being the Henley Chord pant which comes in a rich burgundy and the tiniest splash of camouflage print. Prices range from about $150 to $235 for jeans, with tanks and t-shirts in the $60 range: not budget by any means but, at the same time, not out of the range of all but the deepest of pockets.

 

BALDWIN ON THE PLAZA
340 W 47th Street 64112

PHONE: [913] 312 2375

STORE HOURS:
Monday-Saturday 10-9
Sunday 12-6

BALDWIN IN LEAWOOD
4573 W. 119th St. 66209

PHONE: [913] 312 2382

STORE HOURS:
Monday-Saturday 10-7
Sunday 12-5

Focus on: Coach

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Long seen as a quintessential American staple, Coach started out in a loft on Manhattan’s 34th Street way back in 1941. Miles and Lilian Chan joined in 1946 and oversaw the emergence of Coach as a brand thanks to the hiring of Bonnie Cashin in 1961 and, later, (current CEO) Lewis Frankfort in 1979. The Cahns eventually sold Coach to the Sara Lee Corporation in 1985 who helped to exponentially expand its base. However it wasn’t until 1996, when Frankfort hired Reed Krakoff that Coach really blossomed into the worldwide brand that it is today.

Despite the current economic climate, Coach has managed to thrive, posting a turnover of slightly $5 billion in 2013, – an increase of 4.9% in the US and over 6% globally, part due in fact to the increase in sales of men’s bags (which accounted for 11% of total sales in 2013, more than doubling in the past two years).

And what is the relevance of all this, I hear you say? Well, because of this, the Coach store in KC has moved to 336 West 47th Street from its previously much smaller space on the Plaza. This means that the store now has room for a small, but stylish selection of apparel and footwear, (and more end of line Coach footwear can be found in Nordstrom Rack at 9540 Quivira Rd) which lack of space previously prevented. Plus, just as importantly – if not more so – the store now features a thriving menswear section which we will hopefully visit more fully in a future entry.

Mix and matching is particularly easy with Coach, because of which the englishwomaninwesport kindly opened up her extensive clothing vault to put together two assemblages: firstly we have a monochome look comprising headscarf (worn as a neckerchief), wallet and handbag.

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(Model: Shelli, Hair: James Pillatzke, Styling: Erin)

The second look is based around seasonal earth tones,  including wristlet, sneakers (from Nordstrom Rack) and glitter lizard doctor’s bag (with an additional python Madison bag for variation/accent).

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(Model: Jessi, Hair: James Pillatzke, Styling: Erin)

OPEN HOURS

Monday to Saturday:

10:00am – 9:00pm

Sunday:
11:00am – 6:00pm
contact: (816) 561 1771