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The NY Times Does J. Crew’s New Men’s Store, Thom Browne Does More, & Ike Strikes The Princess!

Hello-Hello and Happy-Happy! We are most happy to be back in the land of functioning  technology. The Princess learned to live without the internet or telephones following 7″ of rain here at Preppy Princess InterGalactic Headquarters, compliments of Hurricane Ike’s remnants.

With things a bit out of whack for two days (an eternity when one feels out of touch with the rest of the world,) we enjoyed the benefits of catching up on paperwork whilst alternately shrieking and whining gently nudging the Vice-President of Technology (aka The Princess Consort) for updates. However, we have absolutely nothing to complain about when looking at those truly suffering as a result of the hurricane; out little outage does not even merit mentioning.

A quick note on chocolate for all of our readers who love to bake…

… more ‘premium’ baking chocolate is on the way from our good friends at Ghiradelli. Having reached the conclusion there isn’t enough high-end baking chocolate out there in groceryland, soon there will be more 10 oz. bags of the addiction-creating-ingredient on the shelves at your local market. (Unless it is already on the shelf, depending upon the part of the country where one resides.)

TP has already advised Cook of the news, although we aren’t entirely sure she will be overly excited, as we fear she procures her chocolate from a secret source known to only a few, a connection initially created by the Queen Mother years ago. To promote the new line Ghiradelli had a number of pastry chefs create new chocolate-filled delights; if one is inclined to experiment, here are the recipes. Whatever chocolate one elects to use for baking, we just couldn’t leave the topic without sharing these divine chocolate shoes from Gayle’s Chocolates, simply too pretty to eat, but divine when you do! Yum.

Chocolate Gift Shoes from Gayle's Chocolates
Chocolate Gift Shoes from Gayle’s

Regular readers may recall our early September post about the NY Times Critical Shopper’s column on their visit to designer Thom Browne’s store. The paper must be on a preppy style binge, as today’s Critical Shopper column is about J. Crew’s TriBeCa Men’s shop.

Donna Alberico for The New York Times
Donna Alberico for The New York Times

Most readers will remember the fanfare surrounding the store’s opening in mid-August, including our column on the topic. The menswear only store is located on (and in) the former Liquor Store bar, a noted TriBeCa landmark.

One of our favorite writers at the Times, Reporter Mike Albo pens a more than positive review of the “stylized lifestyle boutique for men” in his signature style.

“It’s a little embarrassing to think I once had a prep prejudice. These days the preppy look is to a guy’s wardrobe what corn syrup is to beverages. There is no way to avoid its presence. Everyone wants a good blue blazer, madras shorts and tweed tie. Unless you dress in moose pelts or your name happens to be Criss Angel, you can’t help but look slightly collegiate all the time.”

“You can’t blame J. Crew for cashing in on the megatrend. In collaboration with the Jack Spade founder, Andy Spade, J. Crew took over this neighborhood watering hole, which is on the ground floor of a landmark building dating back to 1825, and created a men’s boutique that still looks like an old-fashioned liquor establishment, except in place of bargoers and pint glasses, there is merchandise dangling on shelves and racks, as well as on top of the bulky, well-worn wood bar.”

Surprisingly, the sale of men’s clothing is actually on the rise as the opposite proves true for Women’s apparel and accessories. Some credit the trend to nattily-dressed characters in television shows, like the always-dapper Don Draper from Mad Men on AMC. (We couldn’t help ourselves on that one;  alliteration reigned triumphant in the construction of that sentence. )

Back to the review, one would not expect *all* of Mr. Albo’s comments to be positive, and they aren’t:

“Still, some items were so outrageously preppy, I felt my original odium for the style rising in my throat like bad grain-alcohol punch. A series of knit ties in bright colors, $49.50, brought to mind a tragically alcoholic dorm mate from college on his way to a football game, and a quilted patchwork tote, for $850, was something his equally blotto girlfriend would use to carry around her pumps and kegger go-cup.”

“A small glass case at the front of the store displayed vintage watchbands, belt buckles, aviators and pencils that have been chewed by the celebrated TriBeCan writer Max Blagg on sale for $25 each. Yes, that’s right —chewed pencils for $25.”

Indeed. To be fair, the pencils sale is noted in the column as a promotional gimmick; even so, it’s a bit edgy for TP. Pencils or not, we can’t wait to visit the store next time we are in the city.Whatever you do, don’t forget the Free Shipping on all sales over $100, ending tomorrow at midnight. The promotional code is SEPTEMBER.

On to the news that designer Thom Browne (seen above at the close of his runway show at last week’s NY Fashion Week) will be doing even more creating, in this case for upscale French firm Moncler.  Trade publication DNR reports today that Mr. Browne will be designing a Moncler Men’s collection for  the next three years. According to DNR:

“This brand strategy resembles that of Browne’s collaboration with Brooks Brothers, called Black Fleece. That union is lauded partly because Browne’s aesthetic is highly influenced by mid-century Brooks Brothers.”

TP has made no secret of her disdain for much of Mr. Browne’s initial Black Fleece Collections, more so on the Menswear side than with the Women’s collections. This year’s line shows far more wearable looks as noted in the photos below.

The Princess believes Moncler’s clientele may find Mr. Browne’s outrageous looks just grand and TP’s perception of them déclassé.

A few more quick reminders before we dash off for a little volunteer duty:

Kurt Iswarienko/Bravo
Kurt Iswarienko/Bravo

Enjoy! We’ll be back once we catch up on the frightening amount of email we missed in the last few days.


Filed under preppy