New York hasn’t seen a retail opening like this in years.
The long-awaited unveiling of Topshop-Topman on Thursday went off with an extended flourish as a queue of about 500 predominantly Pretty Young Things wrapped clear around three city blocks. They screamed, they yelled — some had even skipped school to witness the event. Others had been waiting since 7:45 for the 11 a.m. opening. No doubt the waiting was somewhat alleviated by Topshop staffers distributing cheese biscuits and water to everyone, while neighboring Madewell had set up a coffee stand.
“This is it,” said Topshop owner Sir Philip Green, upon which he and Kate Moss (who seemed the most anxious of all, biting her nails) stepped up to the giant silk screen that concealed them from the crowd awaiting outside. As it lifted, there was a roar and a shower of confetti. Moss seemed to loosen up, mugging for the photographers in her green chiffon gown — and leather Barker jacket for some edge — from the collection she designs for the retailer.
“This is exciting. It’s great,” Green said. Just a little later, he was seen hugging Steven Roth, chairman and chief executive officer of Vornado Realty Trust, which provided the 40,000-square-foot site at 478 Broadway. Asked if he plans to provide a second location for Topshop, Roth replied, “For sure. For sure.” He declined to specify where that might be, but one real possibility is 34th Street, where Vornado owns much property.
“I’ve never been to Topshop, but I’m always shopping it online,” said twentysomething Sophie London, who said she waited an hour and a half to get in, and like many surrounding her, had been intensely curious to see the British-based Topshop’s first U.S. emporium. Her conclusion: “It looks awesome.”
Twenty-five-year-old Erica said she waited since 8 a.m. to get in. “I love fashion. I love Topshop,” she explained.