Boots, Buzzwords, and British Designers

Photo: Liz Steger

We Warned You …
It may still be warm enough for open toes, but early summer’s boot-buying frenzy has already left shelves empty all over town. “They went right away!” said Sandrine Briere, manager of the Michel Perry store, of the tall stiletto boots with the tiny bows that disappeared during a heat wave. “I received the beginning of the fall collection at the end of June, and by the end of July I was already in reorder.” In early August, the Manolo Blahnik boutique sold out of three styles (tall suede stretch boots, ankle boots, and boots that lace up the side), Hogan’s riding boots are all reserved, and all of the boots from the Yves Saint Laurent Rive Gauche fall-winter collection are spoken for, whether they’ve arrived or not. “You never know! Someone may change her mind!” suggested an optimistic salesman at YSL. Doubtful.

The Discreet Charm of What?
The message came from a friend on the West Coast: “What’s up, gorgeois?” Confused, we called our friend back, only to learn the word is enjoying a moment in the stylist lexicon. It has even eclipsed genius. “It’s like bourgeois meets gorgeous meets beautiful. Which is the best you can get.” Has it been around long? “Six months, seven months …” She demonstrated: “Is it gorgeois? It’s gorgeois.” The New York response has been mixed. “It sounds like they’re trying to say gorgeous with a French accent,” commented one East Coast stylist, sniffing a bit. One New Yorker, who declined to be named, is already over it, having used it as a freshman at The Berkeley Carroll School in Park Slope ten years ago. “It’s so embarassing,” he said. “I stopped in tenth grade.” But it’s on its way here nevertheless. Says Christine Miller, an L.A. stylist and the designer of the line Trixie Marie, “I use it on shoots, and then it just travels. It’s it’s all good and amazing rolled into one. I mean, it’s gorgeois!

Bag of Guinness
English girls are enjoying a certain success in the New York accessories world these days – witness Tamara Mellon and Sandra Choi at Jimmy Choo, and handbag designer Anya Hindmarch. The latest Brit on the scene is bag maker Lulu Guinness, who opened her own shop last week in the West Village (394 Bleecker St.; 212-367-2120). Her whimsical, feminine style is reflected in the store’s design: black-and-white checkerboard floors, lilac-striped wallpaper, and a mural painted with a Parisian street scene. “America is our biggest market,” says Guinness, the owner of two shops in London who already sells her creations here at Bergdorf Goodman, Scoop, Selima, and Kirna Zabête and has just signed a license for footwear. “New Yorkers are so enthusiastic; they’re the serious shoppers. In London, all people spend money on is their gardens.”

Smart Set
Robert Danes
If you’re a designer, having your workshop in a gallery building in SoHo can have an unexpected bonus. Tourists will enter your studio, wonder if it is a performance-art piece, and then, when they realize that you are, in fact, making incredibly elegant eveningwear and wedding dresses, they will want to buy your clothes. Which is exactly why Robert Danes decided to combine a former gallery with a portion of his second-story workspace and devote it to retail. Danes, who has been designing for ten years, sells his Oscar-worthy gowns at Barneys and Bergdorf Goodman and is the designer of choice for lots of New York’s most fashionable brides. He studied architecture in college, but, he explains, “I fell in love with a sewing machine. I never studied fashion, and I never worked for anybody.” Danes’s evening collection will be joined by a line of simpler separates called Petite Luxuries. “That way,” Danes says, “if you’re not ready for a gown, you can still leave with something.” And nobody will complain if you call it art.

Boots, Buzzwords, and British Designers