Launch of Jay Z’s pricey Barneys collection a snore

Welcome to the Jay Zzzzzzzzzz collection.

More gawkers than shoppers showed up for the controversial launch of Jay Z’s highly touted, limited-edition, luxury holiday collection at Barneys — where the buzz Wednesday was more about the rapper’s sky-high prices than his cutting-edge design.

RELATED: BARNEYS AUDIT CLEARS STORE, BLAMES NYPD IN RACIAL PROFILING FLAP

A couple who drove up from Philadelphia for the debut left the Madison Ave. store empty-handed and underwhelmed.

“I was a little disappointed,” said Salie Schimmer, 52, a personal trainer. “We walked in and we were like ‘Wow, this is it?’ ”


Photos by Marcus Santos/New York Daily News

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Schimmer, who described herself as the “oldest hip-hop fan in Philadelphia,” is a huge Jay Z aficionado, part of the reason she made the two-hour drive from the City of Brotherly Love.

But after seeing the lackluster response from shoppers and the prices — ranging from $ 70 for the cheapest T-shirt to $ 58,000 for an alligator-skin coat — Schimmer wasn’t optimistic about Jay Z’s sales.

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“I thought it would be more exciting,” she said.

'I thought it would be more excitiing,' said one Jay Z fan who traveled from Philadelphia to see the collection. Here, the part of the display at Barneys.

Marcus Santos/New York Daily News

‘I thought it would be more excitiing,’ said one Jay Z fan who traveled from Philadelphia to see the collection. Here, the part of the display at Barneys.

Schimmer, who is white, said she wasn’t affected by recent allegations from two black New Yorkers that they were racially profiled at the store.

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Trayon Christian, 19 and Kayla Phillips, 21, have both filed notices of claim declaring their intent to sue.

Christian claimed he was stopped outside Barneys April 19 after buying a $ 349 Ferragamo belt. He said undercover NYPD detectives wrongly accused him of debit card fraud.

RELATED: COUNCIL SETS HEARING ON ‘SHOP-FRISK’

Jay Z faced pressure from some fans and civil rights groups to drop his alliance with Barneys after the allegations of racial profiling were reported.

Greetsia Tent/WireImage

Jay Z faced pressure from some fans and civil rights groups to drop his alliance with Barneys after the allegations of racial profiling were reported.

Phillips said she was stopped by undercover NYPD officers three blocks from the store Feb. 28 after buying a $ 2,500 Céline handbag and accused of debit card fraud.

After the Daily News first reported their stories, Jay Z faced pressure from fans and civil rights groups to drop his alliance with the upscale store.

RELATED: COUNCIL SETS HEARING ON ‘SHOP-FRISK’

The ruckus seemed to have tamped down the launch of his clothing line, Schimmer said.

“I think some people are going to stay away, it will turn some people off,” she said.

One shopper plunked down more than $  2,000 for three items from the collection, including a $  695 white-and-black ski mask (pictured).

Marcus Santos/New York Daily News

One shopper plunked down more than $ 2,000 for three items from the collection, including a $ 695 white-and-black ski mask (pictured).

RELATED: ‘DAILY SHOW’ BELTS JAY Z OVER BARNEYS PROFILING CLAIMS

NYU student Andrew Davey, 21, wasn’t one of them.

He was among the few actually seen buying items in the small, black gallery on the third floor that housed Jay Z’s collection.

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He plunked down $ 2,670 for his three items, including a white-and-black itch-free ski mask that cost $ 600. He also got a T-shirt for $ 70 and a leather varsity jacket for $ 2,000, he said.

The prices at the collection ranged from $  70 for the cheapest T-shirt to $  58,000 for an alligator-skin coat. This $  1,795 bag was one of the items available.

Marcus Santos/New York Daily News

The prices at the collection ranged from $ 70 for the cheapest T-shirt to $ 58,000 for an alligator-skin coat. This $ 1,795 bag was one of the items available.

“I liked the style … when you see it, you know it’s Jay Z,” he said.

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Davey, a regular customer at the ultra-luxury store, said the “shop-and-frisk” scandal didn’t taint his view of Barneys.

“I saw it on the news but I felt like I doubt they would stop me,” said Davey, who is black.

RELATED: AT BARNEYS, 13 CREDIT CARD FRAUD BUSTS INVOLVED MINORITIES

The logo for the rapper’s limited-edition luxury line. ‘BNY NYC SCC’ combines Shawn Corey Carter’s initials with Barneys New York’s and a nod to New York City.

PR NEWSWIRE

The logo for the rapper’s limited-edition luxury line. ‘BNY NYC SCC’ combines Shawn Corey Carter’s initials with Barneys New York’s and a nod to New York City.

He said he blames the NYPD and not Jay Z.

“I don’t know how much he can do about it,” Davey said. “Plus, he came out and said he would meet with them,” he added, referring to the performer’s latest public promise to head a council on racial profiling and give 100% of the sale’s proceeds to his foundation, which helps disadvantaged students pay for college.

But even for a good cause, the hefty prices put the goods beyond the reach of most New Yorkers.

“It’s expensive. The T-shirts are like $ 1,000,” said one young woman who declined to give her name. She perused for 10 minutes but left without buying anything.

Barneys CEO Mark Lee also showed up Wednesday morning to get a personal tour of the “New York Holiday” collection.

Lee, who didn’t show at a City Council hearing probing racial profiling at stores later in the morning, milled around the darkened gallery.

He asked employees if there was a lot of interest in the collection before he left around 10 a.m.

A few hours later, security guards were overheard talking about the lack of foot traffic.

“It’s been trickle, trickle, trickle” all day, one of them said to the other.

gotis@nydailynews.com


Daily News – Gossip

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