Yesterday I had lunch at Peels with my dear, dear friend Elise, who was in town from LA to attend the gift show and who—rudely!—insisted on going back to work afterward. Which was disappointing, because I try to make my lunch dates run over into retail tours of discovery whenever possible, and also because Elise is one of the best shopping buddies ever. Still, the Lower East Side beckoned. So when Elise hailed a cab north on Bowery, I headed south.
First off, I popped in to Daha on Orchard Street, because they have the best selection of vintage Ferragamo boots you could ever hope to find (but no e-commerce, irksomely). I’ve already got a tiny little vintage Ferragamo museum going on at home—and no way to possibly justify new additions to the collection—so after a little ogling, off I went.
On to Assembly on Ludlow Street, where the clothes are edgy and deconstructed and require exceptional confidence to wear. Not everything, however, is as challenging as these extreme parachute pants or this dustbowl-era mullet dress.
…or this, which looks like the kind of sling you would buy if you were afraid your halitosis might offend the baby.
To be fair, there’s also a lot of stuff at that’s just interesting enough to be cool, but still plenty accessible enough for certain people (like me) who aren’t terminally stylish enough to pull off too much more. And they’ve got a fantastic and eclectic assortment of accessories: I can always count on finding pieces there that I haven’t seen all over town. Like this hairband, for instance.
And is this polished brass hair pin not to die? One rarely sees such elegant hair accessories.
In addition to which: It’s never a bad day when you find a Detacher sandals on sale.
I left Assembly and headed down the street to Reformation, where they make clothes out of “repurposed” material, ripping vintage pieces apart and then sewing them back together to other vintage pieces, Frankenstein-like.
And I have to say that when I saw this, I wondered a couple of things. 1. Maybe I don’t live far enough downtown anymore to get why certain things the cool kids wear are hip. 2. Maybe I’m just getting old. 3. Maybe both of those things are true and an army jacket with lace sleeves is still batshit crazy. You tell me.
As I left the neighborhood, heading west up Stanton toward the more age-appropriate retail opportunities that might await me in Nolita, I happened upon International Playground.
There’s a lot of wackitude going on at International Playground, but it’s my kind of wackitude. Bright, drapey printed top wackitude.
And long-asymmetrical-dress -that-could-not-be -more-out-of-my-playbook-if-it-tried wackitide. But a lot of the stuff at International Playground is way, way, wacky; like costume-level wacky. And their men’s stuff all has a very techno-surfer-geek vibe that I can’t begin to understand. But it’s all so in-the-name-of-fun that I don’t much care. Shine on, International Playground. I’m glad you exist.