On Sunday I found myself hurriedly marching up Fifth Avenue in order to make a rendez-vous. Sure I stopped a moment to snap the new Polo store under construction, but mostly I was irritably weaving in and out of tourists for 16 blocks.
As I marched the clamor of the city rang in my ears with its usual din (pointless honking is one of my biggest pet peeves about New York), and I passed perhaps a thousand people on the street. The odds, then, of passing a young couple at precisely the moment when the lady asked her beau, “Has J. Press reopened?” and actually registering the words amid the noise are so slim as to be mind-boggling. Then again I’ve been watching a lot of astronomical documentaries lately, so my mind is already pretty boggled.
In fact J. Press has not found a new location, but, I’d just been told a few hours before, is still scouting the dearth of suitable locations in Midtown East. Earlier that day I’d attended a small trade show hosted by Esquire, where Onward Kashiyama was showing the York Street brand. The company’s COO was there and brought me up to speed on company news.
The biggest development is that all of the company’s product lines — J. Press and York Street, the US and Japanese markets — will be brought under one design studio. And no surprise, they’re opting for Tokyo over New York. It’s a Japanese company, after all.
Denizens of Tradsville have previously bantered about J. Press Japan’s offerings, with some saying many of the products look better than US products and why can’t we get them here. We’ll have to wait and see what changes are brought to the brand with Tokyo in charge of design and merchandising.
I’m planning to do a Q&A with the COO to cover all that’s going on with J. Press, so stay tuned. — CHRISTIAN CHENSVOLD
Since this site was launched I’ve had a Google Alert set up for the word “preppy.” Today’s lone result gives great hope for a madras-clad future, as today a deservedly self-congratulatory press release went out on the wires announcing that Country Club Prep is up 600 percent in its second year of business.
Quotes the release:
Fueled by triple digit growth, Country Club Prep is planning further market penetration in its third year. In June, the retailer will open its first brick-and-mortar location in Charlottesville, Va. Further, the brand expects to add 50 new labels to its site by the end of 2014, as well as several new brick and mortar stores.
Yes, they’re an advertiser, but no they didn’t ask me to write this. It’s not like they need publicity. If anything, I should raise their rates.
Congrats guys on showing how preppy can constantly be re-invented, here through the medium of e-commerce. My popped collar salutes you. — CC
I passed by the new Polo flagship today, which is under construction on Fifth Avenue. Perhaps they’ll be some updated sack jackets. No idea on opening date. — CC
Above is the label from one of my favorite sportcoats by Ralph Lauren. It’s one of those updated Ivy models that basically comes with all the heyday details, plus darts thrown in for free.
This particular one, as you can see, is made in Slovakia. Now that doesn’t bother my conscience, but more ardently patriotic consumers will be pleased to hear that Hickey Freeman has signed a contract to begin making Blue Label tailored clothing here in the states. We anxiously await seeing how the shoulders come out. — CC
It’s been Duck Head week here at Ivy Style, and this third post will mark our last until the collection is unveiled.
In our first post we noted that the small Southern brand made it to outposts as far-flung as London. As this photo shows, an ad for Duck Head can be seen above the shoulder of English Ivy patron saint John Simons.
Mr. Simons told us via email:
We did indeed stock Duck Head chinos and shorts all through the ’80s and ’90s. In those days they were an excellent made in USA pile-’em-high, sell-’em-cheap brand of basics. Cost price on the pants was about 15 bucks; I would imagine that’s moved on good and proper since those days. In any event I have very fond memories of this iconic brand.
Speaking of the famous retail store, a documentary about John Simons is soon to be released. Ivy Style is on the story and will be reporting to you soon. — CC