It seems only fitting that Nancy Pearlstein's classically hip clothing store has opened its second location (alas, the Chevy Chase location closed at the end of April, 2005) in the Cady's Alley design district, a complex of renovated loft and warehouse buildings that includes high-end home design firms such as Baker Furniture and Waterworks.
The choice of the space reflects Pearlstein's approach to fashion and retail, the marriage of the old and the new. The entrance to the 6,500-square-foot bi-level space is along an alleyway through a bank of French doors. Designed by John Stedila of New York's Stedila Design, the clean architectural space is defined by such natural materials as stone and bamboo. Clothing areas are defined by accents of color. An antique black sink anchors the flower station at the front of the store; the open beauty bar area is defined by a shift in pattern in the floor. A dramatic glass-enclosed central stairway creates a transparent connection between the two floors.
This second store marks a bold move by Pearlstein to expand her market into menswear and accessories. "It's a good time for quality menswear," says Pearlstein, a 28-year retail fashion veteran. "Younger men are paying attention to their appearance; they have a fresh, positive attitude about looking good and taking care of themselves." The men's section introduces modern men's lines such as Commes Des Garcons, Paul Smith, Nicole Farhi, Incotex and Biella Collezioni; while the women's section expands offerings of Dries Van Noten, Martin Margiela, Marni, Alberta Ferretti and Narcisco Rodriguez, all designers that you're not likely to find elsewhere in the area.
An expansive shoe department for women and men features Miu-Miu, Sigerson Morrison, Pirelli and John Lobb, as well as new talent. Skincare products and colognes from the Art of Shaving and Santa Maria Novella are offered in the beauty bar.
"This is an understated location," says Pearlstein. "You have to discover it, it's a destination." And with the first clothing boutique to open in a complex almost exclusively occupied by home design businesses, you can bet this destination will be drawing in the crowds.
-- Janet Bennett (June 2005)