Saturday, November 15, 2008

Diary of Comme des Garcons Sale at H&M.

Comme des Madness
Retail may be doing poorly--I don't doubt the grim statistics.  But let's just say that I witnessed an exception.  
On Thursday November 13, Comme, 
designed and privately owned by sartorial original Junya Watanabe, made its mark with the masses.  
The morning started at about 5:30 because I could not sleep any longer, likely due to an anticipation of the adrenalin rush to come. 
Once through the doors of the Lexington Avenue store, I went for the drop seat pants that I already have in silk (from Issey Miyake).  I grabbed about three pairs because there simply was no time to look at sizes. I ran to the men's shoes because they were the ones in the deep indigo blue with black rubber--I can get polka dots anywhere and the women's shoes were polka-dotted.  A lot of people were distracted by eye-catching polka dots on Thursday.  I bought the shoes 1 size too big, since the smaller sizes were gone--I'd photographed the Japanese girls at Sturbridge wearing their Chuck Taylors like clown shoes.  Why not?  I want to wear my Comme version with a Greek sailor's striped cotton shirt (one of my international staples).  
I needed to pare it down:  what would seem silly later?  What wouldn't wear well?  What would not truly fit into my life?  What looked more like H&M and less like Comme?  What could I get from the main line for a good price somewhere out there?  When all was said and done, I bought the clown shoes and a pair of the droopy pants, which I'm wearing as I write.  Well, that was almost all.  
We ran off to the Fifth Avenue store after finding out that it was the only one in New York City with the full collection.  Merde, alors!  We were so far behind the curve at the point that it was virtually hopeless.  
Aside from the collection, which was very well executed and equally sweet and serious, the customers were uber-stylish (see the rope scarf, furry vest and awesome deconstructed bomber jacket) and seemingly serious and intelligent.  Nevertheless, all we really wanted to do seriously was to shop.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Obama Won.

My friend Nayia voted for the first time in the United States after becoming a citizen just a few months ago.  She snapped this license plate on the FDR Drive on Wednesday, November 5.

The Chevrolet emblem adds a nice touch. Now if this person could trade in the behemoth for a smaller, greener car, we'll be all set.  

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Laura Stephen Appears in Dress Code

Introducing Laura Stephen, the subject of my most recent Dress Code column in Berkshire Living magazine.
According to Laura, business changed at the end of the summer due to pressing economic concerns.  She discussed the two extremes dancing in shoppers' heads: necessity and desire.  "People want something that speaks to them emotionally," she explained.  

"Really speaks to them in a powerful way," if the luxury market is going to survive in light of our current economic reality.  

As for Armani, where Laura is vice president of women's ready-to-wear, "We are watching our business," she revealed.  "Business is steady for us." Nevertheless, when it comes to trying new and untested merchandise, the company has to be cautious to avoid adversely affecting its profits.  As for the fashion industry overall, Laura does not mince words:  "Business is terrible right now."  

Indeed, about two months after I spoke to Laura about how the downturn is affecting the luxury end of the fashion industry, the stock rating of high-end retailer Barneys New York was downgraded to below junk bond status.  Ouch!

As shown in the bottom, behind-the-scenes photo, we needed to tape Laura's fabulous silk Fendi dress to her back because the straps kept falling.  

What helps to keep Laura's life in balance?  She runs about 25 miles every week and travels around the country to run in relays for various causes.  Whenever she's not traveling, she runs across the Brooklyn Bridge daily, usually beginning at about 5:30 am.