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Ursula Wiskoski

Marni, 161 Mercer St., nr. Prince St.; 212-343-3912

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What’s the difference between Marni and Marc Jacobs?
Gosh, how do I say that nicely? I think that Marni has a bolder, edgier look. Marc Jacobs is more refined. Marni is Nolita and Marc Jacobs is West Village.

What kind of woman shops here?
Um, a wealthy one? We have more of an artistic crowd, fashion editors. Anna has people that come for her.

Are you here to pay the bills?
Yes, but I love the clothing. I make clothes for my 4-year-old daughter. She’s not quite as outlandish as I am, but she has her own style going on. She’s got the layering, the necklaces, the pins, the skirts over pants.

The store layout is very serpentine, and the clothes hang high up. Do you get vertigo?
I don’t, but I’ve had people leave because they were dizzy. Luckily, most people can deal with it.

Have you ever seen fights in the store?
Absolutely. People throw little hissy fits when they don’t get the piece that they want. The last one we had, a woman was in tears, and her husband was threatening one of the salesgirls—really getting in her face, menacing and yelling—and I had to step in.

Marni shopgirls look very intelligent and bookish. Is there a reading list?
We require that our clients have read a certain number of classics, attend the theater at least once a month, and tie part of their paychecks to socially aware endeavors. We have accountants who verify all that, and if they don’t keep up, they lose their VIP status at Marni. I’m joking.


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