NEW YORK — Phillip Salem, who graduated in 2010 from the Fashion Institute of Technology with a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandise management, has a sophisticated sense of style but scant business experience. That didn’t stop him from opening a 1,800-square-foot multilabel specialty store, called Owen, at 809 Washington Street in the heart of the Meatpacking District and in the company of Intermix, Jay Godfrey, Jeffrey and Diane von Furstenberg.
“I want to take risks on New York-based designers who are not shown in New York,” said Salem, who has a penchant for edgy, fashion-forward designers.
Luckily, he has an understanding business partner and investor: his dentist father. “He loves the clothes I buy and truly believes in me,” Salem said. Yet, Salem senior had one request before he bankrolled the project — he wanted Phillip to learn about business. So six months after graduating, Phillip went back to FIT to take a continuing education course, “Writing a Business Plan.” Salem said he wrote a plan and business analysis that calls for opening three more stores in the next five to six years.
“We love Chloé, Marni and Balenciaga, but why not take a chance on a new designer?” Salem said. “With Owen, looks are so simple, but there are surprises.” For example, a $295 Tome white blouse looks like a typical button-down shirt until it’s turned around revealing a sheer silk back. A Jen Kao dress with hand detailing is $1,325, and a Kalen silk blouse with a custom screen print, $375. Owen’s roster also includes Patrik Ervell, Timo Weiland, Rad by Rad Hourani, Henrik Vibskov, Ashley Rowe and Ostwald Helgason. Men’s designers include Joshua McKlinley, Sir New York and Surface to Air.
Salem, who has strong opinions about fashion, also has firm ideas about store design. “Phillip was very clear about what the spirit of the store should be,” said Jeremy Barbour of Tackelbox Architecture, who designed the 3.1 Phillip Lim store and multiple Aesop units. “He loved the character of the industrial floors and the exposed brick wall.” The main feature of the store is an installation of 25,000 brown lunch bags that cover one wall and part of the ceiling, creating a canopy with a honeycomb effect over the women’s clothes. Steel tables with quartz tops display denim and bouquets of paper white hydrangeas imported from Holland. The custom mannequins have no poses, “It’s army style,” Salem said.
Tackelbox designed two circular dressing rooms at the back of the store; they’re simply gray cotton and linen curtains surrounded by steel cages. Nearby is a seating area. “I always have Champagne, water bottles and cappuccino,” said Salem, who directed employees to treat every customer “like Beyoncé.”
Salem is selling toothbrushes, in a nod to his father. Not just any toothbrushes, though: After an extensive search for a product that had a combination of design and quality, he found a brand called Yumaki, a collaboration between a Scandinavian product design company and a Japanese oral care factory.
Taking the final spot on the mens’ portion of New York Fashion Week calendar next month will be none other than @tomford. Though he’s shown his men’s wear in New York in the past, this will mark the first time the designer has shown his men’s collection alone during New York Fashion Week: Men’s. His runway show will debut on February 6 at the Park Avenue Armory. #wwdfashion
London-based couture house @ralphandrusso has certainly been in the spotlight, having its dresses worn by @beyonce, Angelina Jolie, Meghan Markle in her engagement photos and more. For couture, Tamara Ralph focused on ornamentation — think: feathers with chain mail, jet embroidery and clusters of pearls and crystals. See the rest of the collection on WWD.com #wwdfashion #couture (📷: @giovanni_giannoni_photo)
Minnie Mouse celebrated her 90th birthday by getting her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. For her celebratory luncheon, @coach’s creative director @stuartvevers dressed her in a custom made prairie dress, complete with Vever’s take on the polka dot – black sequined versions – under a cropped motorcycle jacket. The designer also put his own mark on Minnie’s classic red shoes, infusing the color with sparkles and adding some Coach crystals. “We chose colors that were very Minnie and also represented quintessential Coach elements,” said Vevers. #wwdfashion #nationalpolkadotday (📷: George Chinsee)
@nickjonas is unveiling his first-ever apparel collection through a partnership with John Varvatos. The limited-edition capsule, which makes its debut in spring, also marks the first time the designer has collaborated with anyone on a line. “The process in working with Nick is amazing. It’s inspiring to be around someone who is not only connected with the trade that they do, but also with what’s happening in the environment around him, and how that connects to what we do with style,” said Varvatos. (RG: @johnvarvatos) #wwdfashion
@margotrobbie steps out onto the red carpet wearing @miumiu. The actress is nominated for “Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role” in “I, Tonya” at the #SagAwards. (📷: Stewart Cook) #wwdfashion
For @massimogiorgetti of @msgm, the Nineties are his favorite decade. “They had a huge impact on my personal growth. What I like of the Nineties is that they are not so precise in terms of style as other decades…there was actually a bit of everything,” he said. As seen on MSGM’s Spring 2018 show: tie-dye and a bit of grunge, two styles that are synonymous with the decade #wwdfashion #wwddecades (📷: @kukukuba)