NEW YORK — The new Elie Tahari store at 510 Fifth Avenue here is not a conventional retail space. Passersby may glimpse pattern cutters and sewers plying their trades in the oversize windows of the store, or witness a photo shoot inside, with models posing and then disappearing into the conveniently situated fitting rooms to change outfits.
There’s also a circular 30-ton Mosler vault door in one window — now flanked by mannequins wearing Tahari’s cheery summer collection — a vestige of the landmarked Modernist building’s history as the home of Manufacturers Trust Co. bank and, more recently, J.P. Morgan Chase.
Elie Tahari is using the temporary store, which will be open through at least the fall, as an experimental showcase to test design, merchandising and retail concepts. Additionally, it’s a theater that brings the company’s design and production capabilities alive, hence the employees at work in the windows.
The cutters and sewers have only a short elevator ride down from the Tahari design studios on the fourth floor. The company occupies the top three floors of the five-story glass-encased jewel box, including a recessed top floor that houses company chairman Elie Tahari’s office and a wraparound terrace. Retailer Joe Fresh operates a two-level flagship in the building, adjacent to the Tahari store.