Madison Avenue has many store vacancies but for Lafayette 148, it’s fertile ground for business. “We always knew our customers lived up here,” said Deirdre Quinn, chief executive officer and cofounder of Lafayette 148. “Six weeks into it, they’re letting us know how happy they are we’re here.”
Quinn and scores of friends, customers and business associates packed the two-level, 4,400-square-foot town house on Madison Avenue and 75th Street Wednesday night to celebrate Lafayette’s steady track record and emerging retail presence. Next up is a store opening Nov. 11 in the Americana Manhasset open-air luxury center on Long Island. And to expand the assortment, Lafayette 148 will launch its first footwear collection for fall selling. According to Wayne Kulkin of StreetTrend, partner with Lafayette 148 on the footwear, the debut collection will have 80 styles encompassing “everything from sneakers to evening shoes and everything in between.”
“This is a home not a store,” said Barbara Gast, Lafayette 148’s chief creative officer who designed the shop. Noting its espresso bar, collection of Italian vases and books and photography, Gast said, “We are competing with the Internet. The idea here is to stay for a while and relax. It’s not a quick in and out.” Currently on the walls, photography of famous New York women by Patrick McMullan, to benefit Bring Change to Mind, a nonprofit founded by Glenn Close to end the stigma around mental illness.
Also at the party, Liz Fraser, president of Lafayette 148; Vincent Ottomanelli, Lafayette’s new chief financial officer, and Kathy Hochul, lieutenant governor of New York State. “What’s special about Lafayette 148 is Deirdre Quinn,” Hochul said. “She’s tenacious. She knows how make women look and feel good, and she’s created good-paying jobs in Brooklyn,” where last year Lafayette 148 relocated in the Brooklyn Navy Yard.
Possibly the brand’s most loyal customer, Jaimie Marshall, executive vice president of Kirk Palmer Associates, said years ago when she negotiated her job at KPA where she’s executive vice president, she requested two days off that wouldn’t count as vacation days, so she could shop the Lafayette 148 sample sales. “It’s actually true,” confirmed Kirk Palmer, KPA’s ceo.