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CULTIVATING CREATIVITY: When Kristin Franzese, head of retail at the Plaza, was given the go-ahead to reinvent the 1,400-square-foot Plaza Boutique, she knew what she didn’t want: a typical tourist-oriented boutique with the hotel’s logo slapped on everything from aprons to ashtrays. She decided to give 400 square feet of the shop over to emerging designers, turning to Frederick Anderson, president of the Douglas Hannant Collection, with a shop next door, for advice. “Emerging” seems to be a relative word in the case of the Plaza. Nicole Hanley and Matthew Mellon of Hanley Mellon aren’t exactly newbies. Hanley was a stylist at Ralph Lauren, and Mellon owns the Degrees of Freedom label and created Jimmy Choo with his ex-wife, Tamara Mellon. Another featured designer, Christian Cota, in January received a Rising Star Award from Fashion Group International and was a CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund finalist this year. Perhaps more obscure is Kristin Klonoski, who designs Astrophel + Stella and began her career at Tibi and Emanuel Ungaro. William Calvert did stints at Balenciaga, Balmain and Rochas. Then there’s Alexandra Lind Rose, who teamed up with Alfred Fiandaca to introduce her new collection. Everything is priced under $1,000. Franzese admitted that the boutique will still sell logo merchandise — sheets, towels and bathrobes with the Plaza crest — and its private label programs will continue for Italian cashmere for women and men’s golf shirts with Under Armour.