Gene Pressman, the rakish, free-spending Barneys New York heir who lost his perch in fabulous retail after his giddy nineties expansion ran aground, wants his store back. “I think I could help,” he said from vacation in Miami. Pressman just co-wrote a book called Chasing Cool: Standing Out in Today’s Cluttered Marketplace. So what’s changed during his exile? Jeans, for one thing. “I bought a pair of custom-made Levi’s at Barneys. I’m not sure I understand premium jeans, charging $250 for a pair.” And then there’s Target and H&M. “The trend of trying to educate the more mass market is fantastic.” Where does he shop? “At Costco, I buy packs of ten white athletic socks. At Target, I bought a pack of Fruit of the Loom T-shirts, which are the perfect white T-shirt.” If he can’t get Barneys, he’d settle for saving the Gap: “I would be amused to get involved with the Gap. It needs a merchant to turn it around.”
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