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The Past Perfect At James Coviello


If James Coviello ever decides to hang up his fashion hat, it’s comforting to know he’s got a bright future as an antiques dealer waiting as a very viable plan B. The designer—who got into millinery when pal Anna Sui needed some headgear for a Steven Meisel shoot she was styling, followed it up with stints at Oscar, Calvin, and Todd Oldham, and launched a full apparel collection of his own in 2000—has an expansive collection of antiques, just the sort that come in handy when you’re opening your own store. His Orchard Street shop, which opened last night, recalls a bustling ladies’ emporium of the nineteenth century. Dresses hang on cast-iron brackets, chapeaux sit in sliding-glass case doors, and the entire scene is lit with brass gas lamp fixtures. Even the 23-karat gold-leaf storefront sign was sourced through a guy in New Jersey who still executes the process as it was done over 100 years ago. Sui, on hand to host, took a moment to pick out a French porcelain vase for herself. Interested customers can do the same. In addition to his ready-to-wear collection, Coviello will be offering lifestyle items, too: French soaps, vintage letterpress stationery and carved graphite pencils, and home decor like the exquisite taxidermy-and-floral-arrangement bell jars that he designs.

70 Orchard St., NYC,

Photo: Courtesy of James Coviello

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