TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT: GHOST’S READY TO PARTY AT N.Y. STORE

Byline: Janet Ozzard

NEW YORK — “I’m not nervous,” said Tanya Sarne, surveying the frantic pre-opening activities Wednesday morning in her new Ghost shop here. “I’m just impatient.”
Sarne, the designer and owner of the London-based apparel and home line, wants all the last-minute wrinkles smoothed out before tonight’s opening party. The store at 28 Bond Street between Lafayette and the Bowery looks complete: The concrete floors are gleaming, the racks are filled with colorful spring merchandise and the sales associates are pumping gallons of Windex onto the floor-to-ceiling glass entrance. However, Sarne is not entirely satisfied with the presentation. The opaque mannequins are still naked; the new Ghost fragrance, a crucial ingredient of the party’s goody bags, is stuck in customs, and the floor-to-ceiling antique Venetian mirrors, found in the Paris flea markets, are tilted at a disturbing angle.
“This is my last store for a while,” said Sarne, sipping an iced cappuccino. “Paris was the worst place to open a store — the bureaucracy! But New York has really been a learning experience, too. Dealing with all these permits and violations — it’s about all I can take.”
Sarne is happy to be here, bureaucracy or no. Like most designers, she feels her point of view is best expressed in a space devoted solely to Ghost. Plus, while Barneys New York and Henri Bendel carry the line, Sarne said that there hasn’t been an in-depth Ghost assortment in the city since Charivari, one of her longtime champions, closed its doors for good in late 1998.
The Bond Street location is the seventh Ghost store — there are four in London, one in Paris and one in Los Angeles. And despite her momentary annoyance with the retail process, Sarne hopes to open stores in Tokyo, Amsterdam and Sydney over the next year. Currently, the bulk of her $30 million business is in wholesale, with about 100 accounts in the U.S.
“New York is so professional,” Sarne said. “I preferred to practice retailing elsewhere first, and then come here.” And how did she come to choose the NoHo location?
“An English person on Bond Street!” she exclaimed. Since her hometown of London has its own famous Bond Street — known for upscale shopping — Sarne said: “Well, of course I had to have my shop here. I live down the street and my favorite restaurant, Il Buco, is across the way.” It doesn’t hurt her traffic prospects that fashion neighbors include Daryl K. and Katayone Adeli.
The store was designed by Ted Walters, who has done all the Ghost stores. The NoHo unit is a long, rectangular space with four large dressing rooms in the back. Each dressing room has a vintage Venetian mirror vanity and a small upholstered chair.
Sarne started Ghost about 17 years ago. It became known for feminine, soft silhouettes done in a particular crinkly rayon she developed with the German manufacturer Enka. Ghost dyes all of its fabrics in intense hues, and all the clothes are machine washable. The line developed a following, particularly among models and fashion editors, and its fashion shows became a hot ticket in London and New York, where Sarne did her seasonal runway shows from 1993 to 1996.
Ghost pieces average about $300 but can go as high as $800 for a coat. The new shop will also carry the fragrance, as well as Ghost Men, Kids and Home collections.
“Ghost has something different to offer the modern woman who isn’t skinny, who is like me,” said Sarne. “It’s feminine, it’s wearable. You can throw it in the washer and the dryer and you can stuff loads of it into a suitcase. Women don’t have hours to spend washing and ironing anymore. Time is too precious. I firmly believe Ghost has an outfit for every woman.”