Male models with vapid expressions. Triple air kisses. Excessively small dogs nestled in excessively pricey handbags inside excessively expensive restaurants. Backstabbing women. Paris.
Those are the stereotypical images of the fashion world.
Along with reality TV, the fashion world can get a bad rap for promoting the worst trends in our culture — the celebration of all that is fleeting, flaky and superficial.
There is also the other stereotype of the fashion scene, which paints it as hopelessly eccentric and out of touch with the common people (whoever that is).
When I heard that one of the main venues for this month’s Fashion Week was going to be inside the James A. Farley Post Office on West 33rd Street across from Penn Station, I thought it must be something batty like that, straight out of “Zoolander 2.” Would models carrying mail sacks parade down the catwalk? Could polyester blue-and-white postal uniforms be the chic new thing?
But to read this issue of Luxury Listings NYC is to give lie to those stereotypes. Inside this issue, we visit the homes of both Nicole Miller, the fashion world stalwart who’s been at the helm of her successful fashion label for three decades, as well as event planner Jennifer Blumin, founder of the Skylight Group and the woman who is largely responsible for moving Fashion Week out of the tents at Lincoln Center and into its new venues.
Moving a big part of Fashion Week to the Farley Post Office — a historic structure with historic spaces that have been shut for decades — suddenly makes sense when you hear Blumin’s story. She is reopening the former Grand Suite of New York’s Postmaster General, which was originally built for entertaining, as one of Fashion Week’s two main hubs (the other will be in Soho). Grounding Fashion Week in New York City history is the opposite of superficial and fleeting — hallmarks of today’s selfie society — and part of Blumin’s mission to unearth and restore neglected historic buildings for high-end events.
“Fashion Week had been in the tents, which are inherently ephemeral,” says the 38-year-old. “You need to be tethered to something real.”
In our profile, we go inside the Tribeca loft of this urban Indiana Jones, a home she shares with her two kids as well as her partner, architect James Ramsey, who is leading the push to develop the Lowline, which would transform an abandoned trolley station on the Lower East Side into New York’s first underground park.
Fittingly, Blumin’s 2,000-square-foot home is filled with all manner of exotic artifacts, like Mesoamerican ceramics, arrowheads from Ramsey’s family’s farm in Tennessee, vintage guitars, a 16th-century wooden horse from India, and scrimshaw, which are etchings on whale teeth made by sailors during whaling’s heyday.
Only a couple of blocks away in Tribeca, we also step into the home of Nicole Miller, which you can see in a story starting on page 12. The veteran designer, whose dresses have been seen on celebs from Angelina Jolie to Beyoncé, and who “always sells pretty,” is turning her attention to the “hardcore vibe of the street.” Her new line will debut during Fashion Week, grounded in New York in a similar way as the event’s new venues.
“We were inspired by things like manhole covers, metal grates and cobblestone streets,” says Miller, who still retained some of her signature style. “[But] we wanted ‘street’ to be pretty, so we put flowers on everything. It’s like if you saw flowers on a manhole cover.”
Her own style is on full display in her apartment, which seems like it has more art than walls, with a bevy of stark paintings by lesser-known artists and full of funky plants and tableware throughout.
Elsewhere in the issue, if you are tired of the urbane fashion world and are looking for something a bit more pastoral, check out our ranking of Westchester’s priciest homes for sale. It’s worth remembering that wherever you live in the city, even if you pay $100 million, you are never going to get this much green space and outdoor amenities. Not to mention that you’re likely to be paying less for your kids’ schooling.
For some sticker-shock inducing numbers on private education, check out our ranking of the priciest schools in the city. Tuition at the most expensive school is north of $45,000 a year. But maybe it’s worth it to produce the next budding fashion designer with an interest in history and not just in their own selfie shots.
Enjoy the issue.