Big haps over at the downtown Seattle Barneys this week. Last night's remodel party garnered bucks for the Parkinson's Project (oh, and I got to drape myself in Hoorsenbuhs, my current obsession) and this morning's media breakie with creative ambassador-at-large, Simon Doonan, and fashion director, Tomoko Ogura, offered insight into what the New York-based retailer is into for fall in terms of new designers and trends.
Doonan and Ogura held the rapt attention of Seattle's small, but stylish, group of fashion bloggers, writers and editors as they introduced us to the one-of-a-kind work of Greg Lauren (nephew of Ralph), stitched together from vintage army tents, blankets and other upcycled materials; oohed and aahed over the vibrant, tie-dyed, fine knit cashmere sweaters from British Columbia's Raif Adelberg; fawned over Hedi Slimane's influence on leather goods at Saint Laurent; highlighted black and white in graphic prints, stripes and accessories, as well as sneakers, as go-to fall trend ideas; and praised Seattle's inhabitants for our tendencies to combine fashion with function and practicality.
But what really stood out to me was the story they told about Shinola watches. Readers of a certain generation will recall that Shinola was a shoe polish developed in the early part of the last century (and integral to the phrase "you don't know sh** from Shinola," popular during World War II. Well, a few years ago Tom Kartsotis, the founder of Fossil watches, bought the Shinola name and began manufacturing luxury watches and bicycles in Detroit, bringing Swiss watch makers and other craftspeople to the US with the intention to help revive the city and the cache of the phrase "American made". Barney's is the exclusive seller of Shinola watches, and a store spokesperson told us that the watches were so popular that they sold out within two days online and that Seattle is one of the only Barneys in the country to actually have them in stock. Another interesting wrinkle to the Shinola story is that the same private equity firm that now owns Filson (Bedrock Manufacturing Co.) also owns Shinola, which is a nice local connection to a cool new (old) company.