Discover more from Magasin
041: New York's most enigmatic concept store
Plus an exclusive Jacquemus capsule, Jean Paul Gaultier's "Museum" collection, and indie brands on sale at Nordstrom.
There’s nothing to make you feel the artificiality of money like buying something you haven’t budgeted for, and the world not flinching. Nice weather is truly the least effortful, yet most convincing argument for making impulse purchase after impulse purchase, full-pricing it up all over town. Who else here was suddenly disarmed by even their most dependable wardrobe items and met with the urge to buy impractical, personality-defining (according to my cart-processing inner monologue) statement pieces en masse?
This is a no-substance, all-vibes intro. Hopefully some more helpful content below, but no promises. Also, I try not to ask too much, but if you’re liking this newsletter, maybe share it with a friend? Thank you.
If Mansur Gavriel was going to launch a sneaker, it makes sense that I would be in partnership with Veja. Just a few short weeks after the athletic shoe brand’s Marni collab, Veja stepped in to co-design a four-SKU monochrome lineup of gumsole sneakers in fellow French brand Mansur Gavriel’s signature joyful shades. The full-bleed pigmentation reaches satisfyingly all the way from the tongue to the laces to the edge of the sole, and the coordinated sock styling is a very copyable idea.
Net-A-Porter is a natural US flagship for all things Jacquemus, the Venn diagram of their brand-conscious, street-styling loyalists making an almost perfect circle. An exclusive capsule features Jacquemus’ signature libidinous cuts, quality linens, and thirst-quenching shades, with a (much-needed) Net editor’s eye winning over only the most wantable and wearable silhouettes from the spring ‘22 collection. Exclusive styles start at $95.
Meanwhile, in step with its own fan affinities, SSENSE adds 13 exclusive Jean Paul Gaultier “Museum” styles in time for spring, including printed mesh long sleeves, Venus-graphic tulle skirts, and lounge pants reminiscent of the brand’s highly sought-after Soleil styles of the late ‘90s—but priced well under, with most pieces in the $300s. I just bought this wraparound scarf top knowing I live through summer wearing mostly small bits of fabric anyway.
Boy Smells debuts three new Kush fine fragrances—Cowboy, Italian, and Cashmere—no doubt (m)aligned with the upcoming 4/20 holiday that brands more than individuals still recognize (or maybe I just don’t do weed). I haven’t smelt these, but as a fan of Heretique’s Dirty Grass, I support the premise of canna-perfume. Plus, the bottles alone are enough reason to consider Kush for your fragrance wardrobe.
Generations-apart Brits Priya Ahluwalia and Sir Paul Smith have found a not-unlikely yet still delightful partnership through Ahluwalia &PaulSmith (a new collaborative series being launched by the latter), wherein suiting meets graphic sweats meets bold, full-bleed printed button-downs and shorts, awash with charming UKisms.
Eytys, edgy apparel sister brand to indulgent textile co Tekla, has expanded its category offerings into jewelry—precious yet demanding spiked collars, bracelets, and studs.
There’s also: A new brand carried on SSENSE, The Garment, is a great alternative (or addition) to all The Frankie Shop and Tove in your seasonless wardrobe; Olaplex hive, your god launched a new step—No. 9 Bond Protector Nourishing Hair Serum; if you missed last week’s Ganni sale, new desirables from the brand are arriving in the form of a New Balance collab—and here’s an early access link; EmRata, meanwhile is collaborating with Superga, an obvious end game to her natural penchant for the canvas sneakers; and Cos’ Spring/Summer ‘22 collection lands.
What’s on sale
I know it kind of feels like Nordstrom is always on sale, which it is, but I have to finally admit that the sale it’s “officially” running right now, the Spring Sale, has added a decent chunk of new styles to clearance more than could be found in that landing page before the event went live. A few quick finds before I send you off to comb your favorite sections: the Amy Crookes thigh-high boots from my forever wishlist, an under $50 Isa Boulder bra/top/bikini for button-down shirt styling through summer, and a Coperni camera bag that resets the cultural cow print fatigue.
I just feel like I.AM.GIA’s low prices have more to do with its market strategy (penetration) that it’s garment quality. Personally, I see no difference between the brand’s boned corsets, exposed-thong pants, and rhinestoned tanks versus what, say, Miaou is doing, just at a fraction of the cost. (Not a dig! I love Miaou.) And the number of styles produced puts it much closer to the six-season schedule most bigger brands have left if the dust in favor of daily new deliveries, so fast fashion naysayers can leave Gia’s name out of their mouths. All of this to say: There’s a sale going on rn—take 30% off the Anahia collection with ANAHIA30—and a bunch of fun, flirty Y2K styles for clubbing and summer and not wearing coats or bras are even cheaper than usual, putting them well below the $100 mark.
Over 100 leather Loeffler Randall shoes and bags, including styles even more experimental than you might expect from the brand, are are being liquidated from the site in a rare, once-yearly flash sale. Its classic ballet flats and pillowy suede pouches are among the best deals and most versatile workhorses to pick up while they’re up to 60% off.
There’s also: Camper’s Mid-Season Sale includes SS’22 styles and reaches up to 40% off; Mango clearance went up to 50% off with newly added styles; New Balance is having a one-day sale (today!) for 40% off select apparel with 24HOURS; take an extra 30% off sale styles at Luisaviaroma; and intimates brand Mary Young is having a weeklong sitewide birthday sale with HAPPYBDAY.
Maiden Name has a thing obsession
Alix Freireich and David Lê on apparel, objects, and the people that power them.
New York-based apparel and homewares brand Maiden Name harnesses its duality as a source of magnetic energy. Its clothes are understated without being minimalist, feminine in an unobvious way. Objects, meanwhile, challenge while they attract—a crushed metal vase that suggests lethal weight but is made to hold flowers. The brand released its Spring ‘22 collection earlier this month, with a new and inventive batch of soft and hard goods finding its way to the site, plus an extended collection of exclusive styles available at SSENSE. Founders Alix Freireich and David Lê can explain it best, and they’ve done just that below. In conversation with me, and with each other.
A: David and I have been friends since college, we went to Vassar together. I've been sewing since I was like 12, and I started off by altering vintage clothes and then started making very strange things for myself when I was younger. I always knew I wanted to make clothing for living, so after Vassar I went to Parsons, and then I worked at a bunch of places. I actually started off at Kmart, and my last big job was for Ralph Lauren; I left in about 20—God—18? David, well, you were at a bit of a crossroads, too, and since we’re very good friends, we ended up partnering. It was a little bit of an accident, but it was a happy accident. To speak a little bit to the other people that we work with: Jesse used to be at Opening Ceremony as a buyer for 10 years or more, and now is doing something on his own. He’s also a friend from college, so all of us met at Vassar. I also work on the line with my friend Susan, who I met at Ralph Lauren, so it’s a really nice group of us.
D: We’ve always had a shared sensibility. When you’re younger, before everybody's life path has been determined, everything is a little bit more fluid. I think we’re returning to some of that fluidity now. But in the intervening years, when Al went and got very formal training in fashion, I went to grad school and got my doctorate in philosophy of religion at Brown. I was doing art-adjacent stuff when I finished, and I was living in Berlin trying to figure out what I wanted to do next. Al and I felt like there was an opportunity to make something special.
“When you’re younger, before everybody's life path has been determined, everything is a little bit more fluid. I think we’re returning to some of that fluidity now.”
A: We both grew up in New York and remember a time when there were a lot of really cool concept stores here, and we both felt really passionate about bringing something like that back. Especially at a time when it feels like most shopping is online.
D: Alix has had mass market fashion experience, and then I have, like, no commercial experience. None. So I do think it’s kind of funny that we decided to go into business together, but we are not a merchandising team that then decided to come up with a product. Product has always been the thing we’re most invested in. Alix was doing this because she loves clothes. For me on the object side, I’ve always been interested in material culture, and this is about finding material culture, promoting it, recontextualizing it, playing with, playing with what it is. What we have is this kind of shared passion for things.
A: Even things from the past, too. Vintage is definitely a huge inspiration for the line. I love an aesthetic that came before, and then trying to make it more modern. I've always been obsessed with the 1940s and the ‘70s, and then even the ‘90’s take on both those decades, and when the ‘70s did ‘40s. I think some of the things that I like specifically from those decades is the attention to one’s waist. David always makes fun of me because he says that our line is a modesty line. The silhouettes that I gravitate towards don't always show a ton of skin, but I think they're sexy for what they highlight. So we definitely like a midi length. And I will say, it's a line that does flatter a petite.
I think those silhouettes speak to me because I'm very short. As a kid, the reason I started experimenting with making clothes was because I didn't feel super confident, I was really tiny at the time, so I started to just make things for myself. This is actually something that all of us have a real attention to: the clothes that we feel really confident in, and the silhouettes that most people are flattered by.
“What we’re optimizing for is the most beautiful X, so if that came from a different century, that’s what we want, but it’s not about having some kind of fantasy or recreating the past.”
D: On the objects side, we have sold a bunch of stuff that is also just old. When we launched we did something with Tihngs, which is Eric Oglander’s Instagram, he’s a dealer. When we had the Bode pillows, those were all vintage. Lately it’s been newer stuff, except we have this vintage jewelry component. I always keep vintage as a component, and I always try to maintain this dynamic tension between the new and the old. Alix and I love old things, but we're not nostalgic. What we’re optimizing for is the most beautiful X, so if that came from a different century, that’s what we want, but it’s not about having some kind of fantasy or recreating the past.
What I’m doing has lots of dialogue between me and Alix, and Objects has dialogue with lots of other people. When it started off, it was all friends—it was a bunch of friends from New York, then it was a bunch of friends from Berlin. Then I found Tim Tevin, who makes these crushed metal vases. His studio mate is Paul Coenen. I’ve never met them before, but they’re in New York so I’m going to be meeting them for the first time, and they’re traveling with this big band of Dutch designers. I’m looking at all of their work, and I’m like, “Okay, I want all of this.” So, it just grows organically. Basically, when you’re friends with each other and you admire each other’s work, it just feeds in from there.
A: When we started the brand, one of the things that we talked a lot about was all of our friends were doing these interesting side hustles. And we were like, “Wouldn’t it be cool if we had a space that featured all of that?” The initial group of people who we were with were all friends of friends or friends from childhood.
D: Even the parts of the company that are not just product, like graphic design or web. Everyone who’s touched the brand in some way is a friend.
“When you think of a maiden name, it sort of implies a native name that got reduced to something else. So I think this idea of maintaining one’s history and inheritance throughout in some ways applies to the way that we design or source.”
A: When I decided to start something of my own, David, who I trust with these things, and everything pretty much, helped me come up with a name. We were brainstorming, and it came up that a lot of people will use their grandmother’s maiden name, and we were joking about how all my Netflix passwords are a version of a maiden name in my family with a number. So we thought, what about just Maiden Name? Then, of course, it means all of these other things that are important to us. A bit about independence, about maintaining something from the past. When you think of a maiden name, it sort of implies a native name that got reduced to something else. So I think this idea of maintaining one’s history and inheritance throughout in some ways applies to the way that we design or source.
D: We focus a lot on the production history of a thing. Usually when a commodity enters the marketplace, its production history has been erased, and we’ve always fought against that. We don’t want to do that, like, all of the hands that have touched something are now a part of it, too. We always want the story of the thing to be as important as the thing itself. We didn’t explicitly mean for it to be this feminist thing, but Alix and Susan design the line, all of the clothes are manufactured at women-owned factories, we really only work with women, it’s remarkable.
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