Another Step for French Fashion in America: Isabel Marant’s New SoHo Boutique

Spring-Summer 2010

As an admirer of French fashion (subtle ladywear + fit + quality), I was excited to visit Isabel Marant’s first Stateside store in SoHo (469 Broome Street at Greene Street).

Observations:

  • Silk and linen distressed clothes
  • “Pastel Pirate “- grey/beige skinny striped shorts and pants paired with light pink tops
  • Garish, embellished things – American-exclusive?
  • ‘Lower’-priced Etoile line – grungy madras + army fatigue pants = wrinkled leftovers

Are all of the charming French chic items sold out? Like NYTimes Critical Shopper Cintra Wilson, I was underwhelmed and agree that many of the fashionista staple items can can be found at affordable prices elsewhere.

Camper Shoes are Pretty Sweet

In Manhattan, your feet are your wheels. You need to navigate crowded subway cars, dirty streets, flash-floods, sketchy puddles, and cobblestones — and get from point A to B to C with minimal blistering. Good shoes are a must.

While Camper broke onto the American market with its quirky “bowling-style” tennis shoes in the early 2000s, the Spanish company continues to endure as a reliable brand of quality footwear for women who want cute shoes that can walk a mile or two.

Their shoes are not only durable but on-trend – who says you have to sacrifice fashion for function?

This season offers speckled tan fisherman sandals without the Grandpa factor. . .

Casi Janis, Summer 2010, $135

. . .a gorgeous turquoise and peach take on the gladiator sandal. . .

TWS sandal, spring 2010, $120

. . .and flirtatious T-strap sandals that are retro without being costumey.

Kim, Summer 2010, $145

If you can’t find what you’re looking for at their Soho or Midtown store — you can order online! And shipping is free for NYC residents – or at least it was for me when I did a mock order. Unfortunately, there’s no room in the budget this month. For now, looking is enough. But hold on to those size 39s!

NYC: Fashion Buying Smart

Courtesy of Mr. Big - Carrie's new closet has prime real estate for shoes - Sex and the City movie

Courtesy of Mr. Big - Carrie's new closet in the Sex and the City movie has prime real estate for shoes

In a down economy, it’s tougher than ever to live in New York City. But scraping by and paying over half of your monthly salary to your landlord is nothing new for many who moved here from all over the country, and indeed, all over the world to be a part of this vibrant metropolis.

Rule No. 1 of budget fashionistas: stop shopping for what you want and start evaluating what you need. Mix up clothes to create quirky combinations and color contrasts. Dig through your dusty jewelry bins and accessorize.

June 7 - a day in the life of the Uniform Project

June 7 - a day in the life of the Uniform Project

Exhibit No. 1: The Uniform Project is chronicling a young woman’s one-year exercise in fashion sustainability by wearing the same dress every day. She mixes up her black, button-down dress with layers and adorable vs. badass hats, tights, jewelry, and shoes that are donated or vintage/used finds (shopping notes are included in every post). The Project is also a fundraiser for the Akanksha Foundation which supports children’s education in India.

After taking classes at Parsons and FIT and realizing how ephemeral cheap clothes are, I have halted my H&M sprees and used-clothing hunts and restrained myself from buying anything without ensuring fit, quality, and enduring style (Tim Gunn would approve).

My one weakness is the cheap and cheerful Target GO International collections by guest designers since they don’t require queuing up and you can buy online (best to read the user reviews since the fit can wildly vary). Past guest designers include Proenza Schouler and Thakoon.

This month’s Atlantic Monthly has an excellent article on the current economic reality of fashion.

Let’s hope that the decline of fashion consumerism will not be a passing phase. Remember the Sex and the City episode when potential evictee Carrie realizes that she could have had a down payment to buy her apartment based on the net cost of her shoe collection? Mr. Big is such an enabler.