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Sunday, 5 June 2011

Uptown Girl

As if straight out an chapter of Sex and the City, Miss Mannequin is most at home sashaying up Madison Avenue in some frivolously delicious outfit, dangling a presumptuous handbag from one wrist whilst window shopping with the best of them. 
The opportunity therefore, to bring you an update from uptown was just too good to miss, I caught a cab over to the Metropolitan Museum and after viewing the McQueen Retrospective, meandered happily back down Madison Avenue towards Barneys. Weather perfect and footwear fine, I soon noted a curious parade of well-heeled women leading small dogs, all of whom appeared to be wearing shoes! Manolas for dogs? well not exactly: more like exquisite baby bootees in every style and colour under the sun. I later discovered a doggie spa...yes really (on Lafayette St), complete with tiny pooch being given a massage on a proper spa bed in the glass fronted sanctuary. The array of day beds and doggie couture was fascinating. See more at their website Urban Canis
The Urban Canis Doggie Spa
Poochie Posing Couch!
On the whole Madison I have to say was tame. It was everything I have come to expect from this area of New York...and nothing more. Luxurious, discreet and attentive service, invisibility of price tags (well, if you need to ask)! all concur to assure one that you have arrived. However arriving was exactly the problem...there were few customers that I could see in any of the stores. Interiors, presentation, windows...all tame. Pared back? or simply boring? I could not make up my mind. Barneys was it's usual lovely self. Again however, restrained rather than edgy...it left Miss Mannequin sadly uninspired. This said, I do have to comment that I wholly admire the standard of dressing at Ralph Lauren. Always perfectly presented, restrained chic, never deviating from the groomed formula.
Exquisite attention to detail at Ralph Lauren

Distinctive styling at Ralph Lauren Home
Trotting across to 5th Avenue, the crowd-swell picked up a little. A Plus-Star (as always), to the windows at Bergdorfs, showing the McQueen outfits that didn't quite make it to the MET retrospective. The beautiful Takishamaya store has now become Forever 21 (a bit like having Primark on Old Bond St really)! Remarkably busy, just slightly out of place. The Hollister storefront beguiled me: a flat screen facade of monitors channeling a live feed of surfers from Huntingdon beach. Hollister shopfront  The interiors echoed a pier at dusk, drawing the customer unknowingly into this total retail experience. Not the most exciting product...but top marks for first rate concept and presentation. On the whole 5th Avenue felt very conservative. The stores all seemed to have the same collection of merchandise, same colours, laid out in the same way. The windows still filled with gloss white Schlappi style figures, few realistic mannequins...and these were generally a lacklustre very obvious wig and boring make up. Bustforms mostly showing vintage finishes or clean calico covered. i wish i could tell you otherwise!  
Bergdorf Goodman windows - showing McQueen Archive on a floor covered in white roses dripping in wax
Shopping is all well and good, but I have to say the highlight of the day for Miss Mannequin was the Dawn raid on the MET, in order to be first in line on day three of Savage Beauty - The Alexander McQueen Retrospective. Stunning, emotional, overwhelming, simply gorgeous are all words that come to mind: truly this is a breathtaking exhibit. Six rooms of sartorial magnificence, each as glorious as the last. This man's work takes ones breath away at times...as indeed does the exhibit setting created here. My very good friends at proportion london created the bustforms for the tailoring room, darkly distressed, they presented the outfits well. Get on a plane and go see this show...for I am informed that it is very unlikely to travel to the UK. 
Image courtesy of The Metropolitan Museum of Art
View Curator Andrew Boulton walking and talking you through the collection at this link Savage Beauty Tour 
Further adventures tomorrow, when i'll tell you what happened when I explored downtown and joined the "bridge and tunnel" gang!

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