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July 26 2014

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3 posts tagged "Linda Dresner"

Gregory Parkinson Goes So Old-School It’s Almost New

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As the Great Retail Recession continues, it’s interesting to see the creative ways in which designers are adapting. In the case of Los Angeles-based designer Gregory Parkinson, as his wholesale accounts shrank, he started tapping directly into his cult-level fan base, both locally and across the country. “That’s what you get if you invest the time in going to stores and becoming friends with your customers,” said Parkinson, in New York this week to show and sell his Spring collection. “We’d start dressing individual customers, but once they knew we had merchandise, they’d be like, ‘Oh, there are some moms at my school who want to come down,’ ” he explained. So as not to ruffle his retailers’ feathers, Parkinson sells privately only what he doesn’t sell to the stores. But that includes unique gems like limited-edition runs of ten or 20 dresses crafted from remnant bolts of beautiful fabrics that he buys at a price.

The designer recently renovated and expanded his downtown L.A. studio to receive clients—like Vogue editor Lawren Howell’s lovely coterie of bridesmaids, whose dresses he did this year. It’s a move that he says is bringing him closer to opening his own boutique again. (He had one when he first started in 1994 on Beverly Boulevard.) Until then, you can make an appointment to visit Parkinson’s studio by going to his Web site, or one of his wholesale accounts. He’s stocked at Linda Dresner in Birmingham, Savannah in L.A., and Relish in Washington, D.C. And Barneys New York is one of his biggest stockists. In fact, if you’re dying for his beautiful Spring 2010 collection (here’s a couple looks pictured above), he just sent a delivery to the department store’s new Scottsdale outpost—seasons be damned. How’s that for an old-school revolution?

Photo: Courtesy of Gregory Parkinson

On The Lam

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Fresh off a plane from L.A., where he was the man of the hour at a Tod’s luncheon to benefit Couture Cares last week, Derek Lam co-hosted a ladies’ lunch at Christie’s today. After perusing casefuls of jewels to be auctioned off later this spring, Lydia Fenet, BJ Topol-Blum, Dayssi Olarte de Kanavos, and other uptown types adjourned to a second-floor boardroom to watch an abridged version of Lam’s Fall collection, accessorized with yet more baubles from the upcoming sale. We sat next to the designer’s partner, Jan Hendrik-Schlottmann, who gave us an update on Lam’s new store, which, contrary to the taxi ads you might’ve spotted around town, is not yet open. The delay, he explained, is due to pods—designed by Sanaa, the Japanese firm behind the New Museum, and built in Las Vegas—that are the main architectural feature of the store. Believe it or not, the weather has been too awful to ship them across the country. As if those giant pods aren’t temptation enough to make the trek down to Crosby Street (the store is adjacent to Jil Sander and across the street from the still-under-construction Mondrian Hotel), he also said that they’ve hired the sales staff from Linda Dresner, the fabulous Madison Avenue boutique that closed its doors earlier this year. We’ll be expecting some special one-on-one attention when we use the generous gift card we were delighted to find next to our place card.

Photo: Courtesy of Derek Lam

Waiting For The Other Balmain Sandal To Drop on Boutique Closings

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If you missed the news just before the holidays, Tracey Ross announced that she was closing her trailblazing Los Angeles boutique on New Year’s Eve, after 18 years of selling high-end fashion with her particular SoCal slant to a dedicated, celeb- studded clientele. There’s been a lot of bad news on the fashion front between Thanksgiving and now, so we’ll remind you that in November, retail doyenne Linda Dresner also announced that she would close her famed Park Avenue boutique. It opened in 1983. Though Dresner is keeping her original shop in Birmingham, Michigan, both she and Ross cited department-store desperation in the form of early sales and deep discounts as a major factor in their demise. How can the little guy (or gal, as the case may be) compete with 70 percent off at Neiman Marcus? Apparently, not very well. But these specialty stores don’t merely offer just another cash register to buy a dress. What fans of Dresner, ranging from Jackie O to Carine Roitfeld, loved was her eye—one that enabled her to support designers like Tom Binns and Rick Owens early on. In a recent interview with WWD, Dresner decried the lack of creativity in retailing. There are, of course, great specialty stores still standing in both New York (Opening Ceremony, Jeffrey) and Los Angeles (Opening Ceremony, Satine, Mameg), as well as San Francisco’s Susan and Chicago’s Ikram. And Milan Vukmirovic’s soon-to-open Miami boutique The Webster is the source of much buzz. But it wouldn’t be surprising to hear of yet another closing in the near future. Is the ever-worsening economy spelling the end of the boutique with a finely honed point of view? Tell us what you think.