My New York love affair continues...

Blog » My New York love affair continues...

Posted on 28 January 2020
My New York love affair continues...

My love for New York seeded in 2002 when I ventured on a 4 month University exchange to the Fashion Institute of Technology in Manhattan.

Since then I’ve found many excuses to re-visit, always returning back to Blighty fuelled with inspiration and ideas…

Last week I organised a week long trip for 86 students with the hope I’d pass on my excitement of the city… here are the highlights:

 

Last year I visited the Bode studio, this year we went to their new store. It’s as charming as you’d imagine. The product isn’t my personal style but it’s beyond beautiful to look at, i’d happily have half of it hanging on my wall like a piece of art - it’s not often you say this about menswear.

The Row on Carlos Place is my new favourite store in London, I’ve not previously visited the NYC store - it didn’t disappoint.

What this brand does so well is make an obscenely intimidating space incredibly welcoming & homely. I genuinely think this is down to picking the best staff in the city who immediately make anyone feel like they’re apart of their wonderful world, which is untameable to most.

The most beautiful clothes, surrounded by the amazing edit of art, in the most serene space = curated cool on another level. 

I’ve had Printed Matter pinned on my maps for a while now. Self-titled as “the world’s leading non-profit organisation dedicated to the dissemination, understanding & appreciation of artists’ books & related publications”. Wanky - Yes, but also a rabbit hole of visual wonderment. 

It is totally worth a visit, but don’t be rushed and have a big budget to buy!

 

A few years ago I missed the opportunity to visit Paris' coolest concept store Collette one last time before it shut up shop. Like Opening Ceremony & Barney’s in NYC it played a massive part in my life long love affair with retail theatre in it’s offering of items you didn’t know you needed until they were presented to you in a way which made you feel like the most exclusive insider on the planet. (My first Colette purchase was a self-titled double-sided CD - such a thing existed, one side was gold, the other was silver).

Back in 2002 when I studied at FIT Opening Ceremony and Barneys were the only places I went to get my fashion fix.

The brands they stocked, their exclusive buys, the staff, the music, the crowds, the window, the mood, the hype - collectively created a buzz no online retailer will ever be able to recreate…

Without sounding cliché it was like a pilgrimage. I can remember so clearly seeing Nicolas Ghesquirere’s hand pulled carpet coats worn by Natasa Vojnovic and Carmen Kass on the A/W 2002 runway presented on tables in Barney’s like they were accent artefacts… 

Visiting Barney’s before it closed and seeing it in its sad state of undress was heart breaking.

Racing around Opening Ceremony like I did 18 years ago felt familiar but the excitement of seeing brands for the first time like I’d have done when I was a student didn’t happen. ‘In store-exclusives’ don’t exist like they once did, direct to consumer retail and online multi brands like Net-a-Porter have halted the hype that boutiques like Opening Ceremony once harnessed…. sad but true.

 

 

After visiting the Keith Haring exhibition at the Tate in Liverpool last year and learning so much more about his work as a campaigner for LGBT rights and his prolific presence during the Aids epidemic in New York I was keen to see his famous murals in the toilets of the LGBT Community Centre.

I’m now embarrassed to admit this was my only intention of visiting the centre, I totally underestimated the breadth of services and support groups offered in such an elegant environment for the LGBT community in New York.

When you arrive at the centre there is a list of all the events and meetings being hosted that day, between 10am & 10pm they were 29 open access activities you could have attended, from Green Party governmental meet ups, Immigration support groups, to Gays Against Guns… Next year when I’m back I’ll do some prior research to what’s on during my visit and make time to attend at least one event - nothing to loose, a lot to learn.

The immediate surprise of this space was how unbelievably beautiful the building is. My preconceived expectation was that it would resemble a crippled NHS outreach centre, instead you’re greeted by a sculptural reception space surrounded by the most amazing collection of art, from David LaChapelle, Richard Taddei & Gran Fury…

There is also a book shop stocked piled with biographies, self-help, non-fiction, fiction, art, history & cultural titles which you could easily loose hours digesting. The massive collection of zines reminded of the amazing work our students go on to do in their second year, this would be a great place to introduce them to the power and impact such a small publication can have on a personal or important subject.

(Can you tell I was completely won over!)

 

The New York skyline from any perspective at any time of day is captivating… The centre piece of the new Hudson Yard’s development is a $200million sculpture designed by Thomas Hardwick. Made up of 154 interconnected staircases is resembles an actual Escher illusion. We visited at night which meant it wasn’t as busy (better for photos), plus the bronze and concrete materials looked incredible illuminated from below.

 

Finally, after years of loyalty to Soul Cycle I jumped ship and joined the Peloton party.

I went to an early morning 80’s class hosted by Ally Love which I’ve since retaken back in the UK, a surreal experience in its self.

The brand is build around an online community of subscribers simultaneously cycling around the world - I’m one of them from my bedroom in Bow.

I can totally understand how this brand has boomed in such a small amount of time. 

Tackling your physical fitness and mental wellbeing at home is now so easy… My days in London are long, and an additional journey to an over crowded gym at the end of the day will never be an inspiring or easy decision to make.  

My fellow Peloton peers in the class with me reminded me of myself: normal. 

Peloton is an incredibly involving community which happens prominently privately: a strange contradiction. Yet, this set up allows everyone to be involved, no matter what your size, strength, ability or self-confidence.

I think it’s genius, and anyone intrigued should give it a go asI’m sure they’ll be converted just like me.

 

 

Over & out NYC - I love you. 

See you next year.