While it doesn’t quite feel like spring yet here in New York, the scene at last night’s Joe Fresh flagship anniversary bash sure looked the part. Celebrating one year at its Fifth Avenue post, the Canadian retailer synonymous with affordable fashion-forwardness brought guests a burst of summer fun via its new acid-pastel collection. But perhaps more colorful than the clothes—which boasted a palette of pink, green, yellow, and the label’s signature orange—was the kaleidoscope of twenty Manhattan personalities chosen to catwalk up and down an escalator runway (yes, à la Louis Vuitton). The ensemble cast included nightlife notables Steven Rojas and Dani Stahl, and Paper magazine’s Mickey Boardman, who strutted his stuff in head-to-toe electric rose. Styled by Zanna Roberts Rassi, the romp was set to the beats of Brendan Fallis and Hannah Bronfman.
Despite the vibrant nature of the fete, creative director Joe Mimran warns not to get too comfortable with the Spring color craze. “For the Fall collection, we did all black. The theme was ‘Paris is black, black is Paris.’ ” Pushing black on black to a bunch of New Yorkers? We think Mimran might be onto something.
“It’s the greatest Canadian export since Justin Bieber,” Mayor Bloomberg said of the Joe Fresh brand at its Fifth Avenue flagship launch party last night. Certainly, the chic-on-a-shoestring clothing line (think Uniqlo, with Zara’s eye on trends), with orange as its trademark color, will add some zest to NYC. Guests like Jessica Stam (pictured, right) and Tommy Ton carried felt totes in signature Joe Fresh tangelo and ate teensy macarons made of same. The juiciest slice of orange, though, belonged to the line’s designer, Joe Mimran (pictured, center): a jaunty scarf made just for himself. “It’s very limited edition,” he joked. So were (but seriously) the store-specific Joe Fresh Video Series installations directed by Ellen von Unwerth, Deborah Turbeville (below), and Sue de Beer. “I’m an art collector, and New York is the place to be for art,” said Mimran. “In coming here, we want to support the scene.”
And make a scene, too. Fifth Avenue is a long way from aisle five at the supermarket, where Joe Fresh—owned by Canadian grocery chain Loblaws—was born. Then again, Loblaws is owned by the Weston family, which also owns luxury department stores Selfridges and Holt Renfrew. Talk about a high-low mix. “Of course I wear Joe Fresh,” said Loblaw executive chairman Galen Weston, Jr., who was sporting a $70 cashmere sweater under a considerably more expensive suit. “We’re proud of the brand, and to see it open on Fifth Ave is a dream.” A tangerine dream, indeed.