Fifth Avenue flagship. Luxe, calme et voluptė - or comfort, light and peace?

Having spent some time preparing self, visited the recently redone Fifth Avenue flagship of J.Crew. Very, very pretty store. Very light, very quiet, almost a reverent atmosphere. We just had the floors refinished at the Little House Off the Expressway, and I wish I'd seen these first. Raising my glance, I observe the stairs. I love the glove installation. When I lost a mitten or glove as a very small child (often), our housekeeper would say it would come back to me in Heaven. I used to think of Heaven as kind of an airborne version of our nursery school Lost and Found, only better smelling and with nicer music.
So that staircase, with the flying gloves, is like my toddler's vision of Heaven. Just stood there gaping. If the mannequins had been wearing feathers I would have been seriously worried.

Malls and shopping centers have personalities, and so do the areas of Manhattan which have become or are becoming mall-ified. The part of lower Fifth Avenue where the Flagship is located has become and continues to become a destination for women who like to shop and want it "one-stop" - but no department stores, no big-box stores. So within a short, safe, unchallenging stroll, there's J.Crew, Anthro, Daffy's (you have to work a little harder here for your finds and check them carefully) - and you can go there directly, or if the weather's decent, you can get off the bus around 23rd Street and walk down 5th Avenue, because the streetscape is always changing, and make your own finds as you approach 16th Street.

So, back to the place of pilgrimage. I didn't go upstairs, just went round and round the ground floor. Did not notice any merch that wasn't also at Soho or Madison Avenue. Very fully stocked, beautifully organized, needs Bach playing in the background. The major, major difference is the Space between the Stations. This is the secret: there's no sale merchandise. Everything that's out is the current stuff. No sale racks. So no crowds going through racks and shelves, no desperate SAs getting stuff out of changing rooms, no checkout lines. No lines at all. Here I point out that there are many flagship stores on Madison Avenue, where the business model is to attract a few tourists, intimidate gawkers, maintain an international presence, and not turn over the merch. In some of the stores that I pass almost daily, I've never seen a customer; the staff looks like weary but gallant automatons. I understand that they will do private trunk shows at your home or hotel suite if they know you or if your embassy/consulate sets it up. I don't think this is what J.Crew intended - but there lingers the spectre of that umbrella?

Anyway, more and more of my paisley skirt, nothing that struck me as another great addition to wear with it, looked at the short white jacket as a possibility, decided Not, but didn't want to leave. Stood still. Sighed. Left. Will return when I am more worthy.


  1. Southern Belle Ph.D.April 15, 2011 at 9:38 AM

    Thank you for the wonderful review of the JC flagship store and the area in which it is located. Hope to visit one day. We, too, are looking at flooring and now I am curious about their flooring.

  2. Funny what you say about flagships are not meant to generate sales. I feel that way whenever I walk into Tiffany's to "visit" my bracelet & necklace ;) If I were one of those lucky ladies who got a Mickey Card, I'd probably go in JC and buy up a storm, what with the quiet atmosphere and SA's standing by. My kinda shopping experience.

  3. A well written picture. Love the parts about mittens. Thanks for sharing :)

  4. I love this post! Then again, I love your writing style, wit and humor. Thanks for sharing, and thanks for starting/making this blog!

  5. Glad you're all enjoying yourselves here!

    BTW the flagship floors are natural red oak, stris slightly wider than usual, wouldn't call them planks, satin finish (almost but not quite matte), v, light brown stain, cool tones, no yellows or oranges.

  6. Southern Belle Ph.D.April 17, 2011 at 9:00 AM

    WFF, Thanks for the info on the JC flagship flooring. I was recently consulting a builder regarding a French Country style home and he mentioned red oak to me. I am not sure it was for flooring however; it may have been for columns. BTW, if we decide to do this FC home for the future, it will have a kitchen!


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