Saturday, 8 January 2011

Desperate for Vintage

Is it awful that when I wake up in the morning, the initial reason for getting dressed is so that we can get to breakfast quicker? This morning we went to Blooms Delicatessant, which has a really great atmosphere and is full of hot Latino waiters! Plus I sneakily caught side of a bowl full of sweets by the till - there's an incentive for handing over money if ever there was one!

As soon as we were seated to the familiar booth-set up, we were instantly offered coffee. Sadly I was far too English and declined the offer in favour of a cup of tea, but still, the thought was there.
Despite having a huge choice of deliciousness on the menu, I still decided to go for the usual. French toast, maple syrup and bacon.

Lucy typically ordered another round of poached eggs, before announcing to us all that there was a 'limit' on how many eggs you're supposed to have in a week (apparently it's six) and seeing as she had already hit this limit, we debated the possibility of her turning into an egg, now that she was all egged out.

With the bill needing to be paid, we headed to the counter with an excess amount, because we wanted the $6 change to pay for the subway. The women took our money, thanked us, and then went about her business. NB: No-one seems to give change in America. Why is this? They already add a service charge, and tax, and still expect to keep whatever's left over. Not happy.

So leaving the diner slightly poorer than we expected, we headed over to Grand Central Terminal. To call it 'grand' would be an understatement. The beautiful interior reminded me of something from the 20s, similar to the station in the Coco Chanel advert.

Oh! I forgot to mention as well - if ever you're 'in the area' check out a place called Park Avenue Tavern. It's only a minute or so walk from Grand Central, and although I never got to go, the amount of times I looked in the window on passing was sickening. It looks amazing and quotes itself as a 'new bar and restaurant concept'.

If I had been lucky enough to eat there, I think I would have had the Mushroom and Fontina French Bread for $13 as a starter. Mmmm! To choose an imaginary dish for yourself, or to book me a meal there, check out the website.

Back to reality, we got off the subway at somewhere we think was called Layfatte, although I'm still not entirely sure. Whatever the area was called, we were in China Town, and it was the most intimidating experience of my entire life. Having walked up the subway steps, the three of us were bombarded by people offering us deals on Tiffany and Louis Vuitton bags, heckling us to come over and see and try. The same strip of happenings seemed to go on for blocks and blocks, and feeling a little like our bags were going to get lost in the huge sea of madness, we ducked back down into the subway, and got off a stop later.

After emerging from the underground for the second time in the space of ten minutes, we magically ended up at Bloomingdales. Heaven! After the slightly less friendly atmosphere from previous department stores, I was slightly skeptical; oh how wrong I was!

Everyone was super friendly and the decor of the makeup section was similar to that of the inside of a warehouse which I'd noticed to be a theme amongst many of the stores we'd visited in New York so far. I also loved the window display (something which seemed to be rare to find due to the change of seasons).

Having made my way to the accessories section, I found these beautiful pair of studded Michael Kors hand warmers, and had it not been coming into the Spring season (wishful thinking) I definitely would have bought them!

As we made our way around the jewelry section, I found a brand of jewelry called Lucky Brand which looked pretty interesting and also reasonably priced. I saw a gorgeous ring for under$50, but sadly forgot to take a picture of it - so this is what it looks like! It really is beautiful, and it must be something special, as I'm usually not a fan of silver jewelry, but I would happily wear this on my hand every day!

The three of us also found some cute little Marc by Marc Jacobs bracelets, which we were going to buy as friendship bands as they came in three different colours, rec, gold and silver - though the larger version came in black, much to Lucy's satisfaction.

As we made our way through the handbag section, I remember noticing a specific designer Rebecca Minkoff and thinking how cute the bags were. Sadly the shoes seemed much more appealing by this point, and so it was only a moment of lust, but I think it most definitely love at first sight.
Quilted M.A.B w/ Strap

Rebecca first launched her apparel line in 2001, before releasing her range of handbags in 2005, and her famous 'Morning After Bag' was born. "In 2009, she was honored as a New York Moves Power Women for her entrepreneurial success in the fashion industry."

Having spotted the shoes and already have made a beeline for them, it seemed only natural to rip off my already knackered black studded boots and throw on the first pair of heels I laid my eyes on, which just so happened to be in the sale.

A beautiful pair of S-Falken's which had been reduced to $149.99 - still not really within my price limit, but it was fun to pretend all the same. I tried them on and although they looked amazing and made my legs look super long, they were also uncomfortably tight. I checked the size again and saw the big number 8 glaring bag at me as if it was on purposely saying BIG FOOT. Let's just keep that one on the low and hope that American sizes are smaller than ones in the UK....

A trend that I'd noticed whilst being in New York, was the puffa jacket - although I'm not sure they're still called that these days, but they were when I was younger. Whether it's due to the severely cold weather in the city or the fact that American's find them stylist, they seem to be on every body and in every shop you look.
Even Marc Jacobs has released his own version (above); and there was also a huge range of them in Uniqlo.

Marc by Marc Jacobs in Bloomingdales

As the day past our retail experience widened, seeing a woman doing yoga in the window of a store called Lululemon Athletics, the most hideously pink interior of jewelry store So Good and also the interesting library ladder structure on the back wall of Acne.

My mission of the trip was to visit The Hundreds store on Grand Street which I'd blogged about before we left.
It was exactly how I imagined it, except with a darker lighting setup and the whole place smelled like incense. There seemed to be no-one manning the huge Apple Mac at what I guess was the 'till' area of the store, and yet moments later there seemed to be a whole crowd of similarly dressed men in flat caps and jeans all hanging around in a group, laughing and talking amongst themselves.

From here we found ourselves walking past a cute interior store called Michele Varian which I would highly recommend taking a look at alongside Rachel Ashwell for shabby chic.

Our stomachs at this point could take the exercise of shopping no more, and so we ended up in a place called Bari. Although we were sat by the door (not to our enjoyment) the atmosphere was relaxed and the prices were reasonable, if not a little on the pricey side.

When we'd finished our meal (mushroom w/ spinach soup and chips) it came to our shock that we didnt actually have the right amount of cash to pay for our meal. And so the three of us were sat, literally emptying out our purses to count pennies, with the disapproving looks of pretty stylish people. Having embarrassed ourselves enough, we asked the waiter to split the payment between our cards, after which we made a swift exit.

Prada. A must-have experience to say the least.
There is so much to say about it, and although a picture says a thousand words, they were so hot on non-photography in there that I didnt even dare try. So I'll try and attempt to create for you the right mental picture:
You enter the store and immediately you notice a huge, round, glass lift on your left. In front of you is a staircase which seems to go on forever and ever and is bigger than you can plausibly imagine. Cascading down the stairs are a huge array of mannequins in life-sized gold frames. Models in the frames combine Spring dresses with Winter fur hats. There is also a hanging up screen with the S/S 11 catwalk show playing. On the lower level is a futuristic box style layout, similar to Cyberdog in London (except lighter and less weird), and it almost feels like a walk in wardrobe with a runway combining all the compartments. There are TV's in coffee-table styled islands between the clothing rails and a lethargic background music is playing; music with both a beat and futuristic feel. At the back of this is a huge seating area with hard jelly-style cushions on the seats. We noticed that a customer being served doesnt go to the 'till', the shop assistant sorts everything out and brings everything back to her - very personal service. The Prada LookBook, is hidden in a booth similar to a magazine or an office. The shoe section is arranged out of luggage trunks, giving it a very vintage feel, but this clashes with the contemporary mirrored ceiling.
Up the other side of the stairs is the mens section, where everything is arranged in hanging mesh cages with stripped back columns throughout the floor, very similar to a 'warehouse' feel.
Going up the lift to the top floor is like a ride, with a seat going all the way around.
The only negative thing about the whole experience was the fact that the security guard followed us around like a wasp follows an ice-cream, and like a human would to a wasp, we were getting very annoyed with his persistence.

Having left exhausted from the experience, we opted for something a little more mainstream, and so popped into Aldo, where I found the most hilarious yet amazing pair of sunglasses:

As we walked down West Broadway, I started to notice that wearing these had suddenly drawn a lot of attention to myself. Thinking it was just the 'British Style' which most people had commented on before, a boy who was walking past shouted at me: "Hey Kesha!". Apparently people thought I was the singer, Kesha. This was only then highlighted by the group of people who loudly gasped 5 metres away from me, only to sigh and say; "Dammit, it's not Kesha" as they reached a close proximity of my face.
It is fair to say that I mightily enjoyed my five minutes of (fake) fame and it also provided the three of us with fits of giggles for the next few blocks.

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