THE ART OF SHOP WINDOWS: NYC
Living in the garret studio of a gardened brownstone, each morning I was up early for a short jog downtime and polar bear lap swimming in the Carmine pool. Then I had four hours to paint, before I walked across Greenwich Village to Lo’s NY. I loved my dream-come-true-designing for this small, family-owned fashion house in Manhattan.
As the shop-managing designer, my job was multi-dimensional. After unlocking and raising the mesh
My day was filled assisting first-time shoppers as well as patrons returning for fittings. I mpizzeria. I closed at eight each evening. On my way home I often met a friend for a late dinner at a Greek dineade drawings and patterns for new garments. I placed new orders and received completed ones. Working with the shop assistants, I became good friends with Pearla from Argentina and Angelica from Bolivia. Given free passes, we went together to openings at MOMA.
Lo’s was a specialty women’s boutique. The racks were filled with unique, one-of-a-kind dresses, skirts and tops. Each was custom designed in the shop. Our original patterns were sent to Great Britain where skilled needle workers, at home in their small cottages, knitted and crocheted then air mail returned the finished pieces.
We catered to brides and members of their wedding parties, professional performers and women wanting a “special something” for a special occasion. Since each garment was made from white and off-white fibers, many a customer chose to first wear her design in the original natural color. A few months, or even years later, she’d likely return to up-date her garment with a new color, dyed in the big vats in our basement.
Our customers came in all sizes. I was most often sought out by the generously curvaceous as well as the très petite. One of my favorite clients was the statuesque, picture-perfect soap opera star who came for one-hour fittings. To great praise and admiration, she paraded up down the shop for three hours. Back and forth she went requesting alteration tweaks and then some more. As I made notes and sketches and held her puppy, her driver kept the air-conditioner going in a sleek, black stretch limo parked at the curb. She always departed more beautiful and very happy. Like several other satisfied clients, she presented me with a huge blooming bouquet from the corner deli. From others I received complimentary performance tickets. Nice perks!
Creating the shop’s art-centric window displays was always a source of great fun and pleasure. A favorite was themed around a Porgy and Bess show tune: “Summertime and the livin’ is easy”. With the plate glass acting as their metro-aquarium, colorfully painted paper fish were suspended as though jumpin’ high over full-to-bursting cotton bolls shipped from Arkansas and glued to potted bushes I borrowed from a neighbor’s courtyard. I liked to watch the passers-by stopping to look and smile and laugh out loud.
What an unexpected thrill to be head-hunted by Barneys New York and invited to join the big league working on the team creating their artful, seasonal show-stopping window tableaus. In spite of the glamorous allure of the offer, I wanted to keep my life small and sane. Saying, “No. Thank you,” I stayed on at Lo’s until I moved to Brooklyn and then back to Arkansas and then to my sweet, new hometown of Carthage where I find charming window art to delight me every day.
Each morning I take Lasyrenn, our year old Aussie, for her training walk around Carthage’s historic downtown square resplendently bedecked with summer blossoms. David, my husband, joins us when his work schedule allows. We begin with Mother Road Coffee cappuccinos enjoyed in ceramic mugs, as we feast on the bistro’s two entry windows filled with marvelous enchantments festooned in patriotic red, white and blue.
Beginning our tour, we window shop as we go, while Lasyrenn responds to our rudimentary French and practices “au pied” (walking at heel) and “asseyez-vous, s’il vous plait” (sit down, please) before each corner crossing. Not too long ago she began to pull on her tether as though she had someplace special to go, and she wanted us to hurry up and get her there fast. We followed her lead and discovered the BigDogBoutique!
Next week return with me to the Carthage square and I’ll show you the charming windows of the BigDogBoutique and our favorite new hang out. I promise to give you a full tour of this newest jewel on Carthage’s square. The BigDogBoutique sets the bar very high for “The Art of the Shop Windows” in Carthage and all across southwest Missouri, too!