NEW YORK — In order to squeeze into a new space, TDF, the not-for-profit organization for the performing arts that runs the TKTS booths in Manhattan, is selling 20,000 of its excess costumes in a fire sale, of sorts, to the general public. But for Greg Poplyk, the director of the TDF Costume Collection, detaching himself from outfits donated by opera companies such as the Met, Broadway and Off-Broadway productions and soap opera wardrobe departments that have received tax deductions for their contributions hasn’t been easy. (The good stuff, roughly 60,000 pieces including a whole set of costumes for “Fiddler on the Roof,” which TDF rents out all over the country for a small fee, is moving to the new space downstairs.)
“Here’s your ‘King and I,’ here’s your ‘Brigadoon,’” Poplyk says as he peruses the dusty racks on the 17th floor of 601 West 26th Street. “I love this Tiki-inspired jacket. You just look at this and think, ‘Maybe we can squeeze in one more piece downstairs.’”
This story first appeared in the October 25, 2004 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.
The aisles feature a host of nun costumes from, no doubt, a local production of “Nunsense” or “The Sound of Music;” a Pucci-esque one-piece pantsuit that Poplyk describes as “very Minnie Pearl;” some fruit and vegetable outfits from an Off-Broadway Howard Crabtree musical, and several pieces of heavy armor from a Public Theater production of “Troilus and Cressida” that wouldn’t be perfect just for Halloween, but also for any up-and-coming rock band in need of a theme.
“One of the difficult things is taking them to a dry cleaner,” Poplyk says, quite seriously, about the armor. To clean the pieces, “you can spray them with vodka. That’s an old wardrobe trick.”
Aside from the novelty items, there are thousands of furs, dresses and shoes that would be great for your everyday cocktail party. It’s just a matter of getting to the building on time and having patience and an open mind. The sale runs Tuesday through Thursday, 10a.m.-4:30 p.m. Purchase a shopping bag ($20 on Tuesday, $10 on Wednesday) and start filling up.
— Marshall Heyman