This blog is most assuredly not about retail. Shopping, frankly, depresses me. It’s all wish fulfillment with no seduction. Where’s the fun in that? Even “luxury” retailers like Saks and Neimans can be hit or miss.
There are very few stores any more that do seduction well. Takashimaya in New York was great for seduction. Sadly, it closed last year, and I read that it has been turned into a Forever 21. Figures.
Dover Street Market in London is pretty fantastic, but I found the atmosphere a little off-putting. I think the chilly atmosphere is a function of the uber-coolness of all they sell there. The store is definitely worth going to, though.
Several months ago, Ralph Lauren opened a new womenswear flagship store on Madison at 72nd in New York. It is right across the street from his Menswear flagship. Now, the RL brands don’t do much for me, but I kept reading what a fantastic store this is, so it made my list of Things To See. I finally went there Tuesday, and it totally blew me away. It is another world. The building is exquisite, the merchandise displays are gorgeous, and the staff is completely lovely. The decor, merchandise and staff all conspire to make you feel completely warm and welcome in this alternate Ralph universe. One article I read about the store is that they are not trying to sell you anything. It exists to further the brand. And boy, does it ever.
One fantastic display showed a mannequin wearing a floaty silk gown with a black turtleneck underneath. I love that look. Mostly, the mannequins look like party guests at some great party that you are attending.
So, if you are in New York or are planning on going there, please put the Ralph Lauren womenswear flagship on your list of things to do. You won’t regret it.