NEW YORK — Let’s face it, Ann Taylor has never been an emporium for the perennially hip. I haven’t shopped there with any sort of zeal since my college formals and, sadly, that was about a decade ago. Occasionally over the years...
NEW YORK — Let’s face it, Ann Taylor has never been an emporium for the perennially hip. I haven’t shopped there with any sort of zeal since my college formals and, sadly, that was about a decade ago. Occasionally over the years I’ve wandered in with my mother to help her find things, but rarely anything for me.
However, after seeing the company’s new ad campaign for fall, shot by Annie Leibovitz and, to celebrate its 50th anniversary, featuring 50 models of all ages like Twiggy, Patti Hansen, Angela Lindvall and Frankie Rayder in clothes that were pretty and even hip, my interest was piqued. There was one piece in particular, a green vintage-looking printed shirtdress modeled by Karen Elson that looked very Fifties, but right on trend. But it didn’t stop there. The models also sported great tweed jackets, satin blouses and little black cocktail dresses that were, well, if not reminiscent of Holly Golightly, then at least some TV movie version of her.
So after New York Fashion Week — during which I’d spent several days not only staring at models flaunting spring looks but editors and buyers sporting their own takes on fall’s fashions (round-toe pumps, full skirts, sequined capelets) — I was ready for something as conventional as Ann Taylor.
The store on Madison Avenue at 59th Street was a treat. It was expansive — three floors and a mezzanine — and at lunchtime it wasn’t particularly busy. The mannequin and table displays featured the green-printed dress and an array of trousers and knit tops. After pouncing on the rack of dresses and rifling through them to find my size, I regained my composure. After that, though, instead of some sort of epiphany, it just felt like any Ann Taylor store. I could have been in Raleigh or Dallas, shopping with my mother or even for my mother.
However, looking around and sifting through the racks more carefully, some cute and stylish pieces emerged. In a rather manic fashion, I toured the first floor, gathering up a rose tweed jacket, a dove gray silk charmeuse blouse with silk covered buttons and delicate puffed sleeves, a pale lime chiffon trimmed satin shirt, a black bouclé pencil skirt, a cashmere V-neck and a long-sleeved knit top that tied at the neck. After piling up an impressive armload of goods, a saleswoman by the name of Conchita asked very graciously if she could start a dressing room for me. Her manner was so lovely she could have been offering afternoon tea as she led the way to a spotless and spacious fitting room.
A Stella McCartney sketch of a custom dress made from protein-based silk in partnership with biotech lab Bolt Threads. The dress will be displayed at The Museum of Modern Art's upcoming design exhibition, "Items: Is Fashion Modern?"