NEW YORK — After a two-month closure, the Phat Farm boutique in Manhattan’s SoHo district is open for business, making more space for Phat Farm’s sister brand, Baby Phat.
The idea of the renovation was to give each brand a distinct representation by breaking the store into two completely separate parts — one for Baby Phat, which has its own entrance from Wooster Street, and one for Phat Farm.
Walking into the entrance on Prince Street, it’s clear that this is the world of Russell Simmons, Phat Farm’s founder and chief executive officer. The rickety, old wooden floor has been replaced with a shiny new stone-and-marble foundation designed in an argyle formation — Phat Farm’s signature. The clothes are separated into segments: traditional polo shirts, jeans and sweats; sneakers and bags, and the new suit addition. The clothes hang from cherry fixtures and leather shelves for a masculine look that resembles the ambience of Simmons’ offices on Seventh Avenue.
Stepping toward the back of the store, the lighting becomes brighter and whiter as the Baby Phat cat symbol is seen on a sign leaning against the wall. This is Baby Phat creative director and Simmons’ wife Kimora Lee’s area, accented with a zebra printed rug, cheetah print chaise, crystal chandeliers and three large-screen TVs showing the spring Baby Phat runway show. Clothes hang on silver fixtures and a gold-framed mirror takes up the entire back wall. The jewelry cases stand on wooden and gold-accented tables designed by Kimora and made in Italy.
“I wanted this to be luxurious, but still fun. I wanted the store to have elements that I have in my own home,” Kimora said. “I really wanted it to have the same feeling as my house does — like you are stepping into my dressing room.”
Accompanied by her three-year-old daughter, Ming Lee, Kimora ran through the store — looking through the racks, taking off the silver Baby Phat bomber she was wearing when she walked in and putting on a blue rabbit fur jacket, instead. “Oh, this is cute….I must be a genius,” she declared, looking in the mirror.
Following in mom’s footsteps, Ming Lee ran to the Baby Phat Girlz area to pick out a blue logo top and Baby Phat jeans to wear while at the store.“What Russell and Kimora wanted was to completely change the shopping experience,” said Bradley Zizmor, principal of A&I Design Corp., the company hired to redesign the store. “They wanted the boutiques to be separate to show each one of their tastes, but still connected as one retailer.”
Zizmor said the two were completely involved in the redesign of the store — Kimora made sure the chandeliers hanging in the boutique were of real crystal. He said he also worked closely with the designers who worked on the couple’s homes to achieve the same feeling in the store.
“She wanted this to be a comfortable place for her customers to spend time,” he said.
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