PINSTRIPES VS. COLOR BLOCKING
NEW YORK — Sure, talk of Joe, Bobby, Piazza, Clemens and 1956 is dominating conversations in a lot of quarters this week. But on the eve of the first subway series in 44 years, let’s get down to what’s really important: who has the best uniforms.
While the World Series champ might not be decided for seven games, an informal poll of designers and other fashion figures gives the Yankees bragging rights, at least along Seventh Avenue.
It should come as no surprise that Bronx natives Ralph Lauren and Barry Schwartz, chairman of Calvin Klein, are Yankee fans.
Schwartz said his entire childhood was focused around the Yankees.
“Subway series were expected in those days. In the Fifties, the Yankees always won the series; it was only a question of whether you played the Giants or the Dodgers. Either way, you were going to end up on the subway,” he said.
“I’m a die-hard Yankee fan, and I have been since I was five years old,” he said. “They’re a cinch to win.” Asked about their fashion, he said, “I think it’s fine just how it is.”
“Go Yankees!” said Lauren, noting that he’ll be attending the game on Sunday.
James Mischka and his partner, Mark Badgley, are in opposite camps — Badgley is for the Mets while Mischka is supporting the Yanks, because, he said, “I think they are cuter. And I’ve been a Yankee fan for years. I had a Mickey Mantle bat when I was a kid.” As for the uniforms, Yankees again. “It’s more classic,” Mischka said. “The pinstripes and everything, it reminds me of the old Yankees uniforms.”
Carolina Herrera, focusing purely on style, said, “I like the Yankees because they wear pinstripes.”
Tamotsu chimed in, “I like the Yankees, but I think the Mets deserve to win. They deserve their chance.”
Diane Von Furstenberg said Yankees all the way. “They are an old-school favorite. Baseball is the most American sport, and they are the epitome of that. They just scream the national anthem. And their uniform is a classic. The navy and white, you can’t go wrong. It looks crisp.”
Sounding a lone chord for the Mets was Nicole Miller.
“I’ve always had an affinity for the Mets,” she said, “I really think it’s their turn to win. Many years ago, I used to do fashion shows with the Mets’ wives.”
As with any other big event that goes on in the city, many retailers are trying to translate some of the subway series mania into money.
The mayor’s office says the series will cost the city about $250 million in security and sanitation — not to mention extra trains — and a guarantee of a winners’ parade in the Canyon of Heroes. That’s substantially more than the $40 million to $50 million it expects to take in, including revenues from ticket sales, hotel rooms, sales taxes and tokens. That doesn’t include the economic impact local retailers might feel from sales of directly related series merchandise, New York souvenirs and extra general spending by out-of-towners coming in for the fall classic.
The obvious stores — the Yankee and Mets Clubhouse shops, plus sporting goods retailers like Modell’s and Sports Authority — have been predictably jammed over the past couple of days.
Anything with team logos or subway-series references has pretty much sold out, especially T-shirts, team jerseys and caps, according to store managers. But fans shouldn’t fear — reorders were on the way.
For more traditional fashion stores, this isn’t considered a big business opportunity, but the city’s department stores are honoring the series with windows and shops selling T-shirts, sweatshirts, baseballs and logoed goods. Macy’s Herald Square’s 34th Street windows show giant subway maps, highlighting the stops for Yankee and Shea stadiums and show a big blowup of The Daily News’s front-page headline, “All Aboard!”
Two World Series shops are opening, on Macy’s main floor in men’s wear and in the seventh-floor boys’ department, with baseball uniforms, among other merchandise.
“We are not talking big dollars here,” explained Sam Joseph, director of windows at Macy’s Herald Square. “This is our way of honoring the city and the great job done by the Mets and Yankees. We’ve got eight windows committed to this, and 7,000 people pass these windows every hour.”
Michael Fisher, creative director at Bloomingdale’s, agreed that the series is something to honor, rather than to cash in on significantly. Bloomingdale’s plans an ad in The New York Times saluting the teams and has a window on the corner of 59th Street and Third Avenue depicting a Mets fan and a Yankees fan on the subway, with the message, “It’s like no other city. It’s like no other series. It’s like no other store in the world.”
There’s also an outpost shop in men’s wear on the main floor, selling baseballs, T-shirts and other items, and similar shops at the Huntington, White Plains and Roosevelt Field, N.Y., branches.
Casual Corner will kick off a “Subway Series Sale” on Saturday, featuring 25 to 40 percent off selected fall styles.
Even online retailers were in on the action. To commemorate the series, hip-hop fashion e-tailer hookt.com plans to give out commemorative T-shirts at both stadiums. The shirts, which are currently being designed in-house, will read “Hookt on Mets” and “Hookt on Yankees.”
“We’re not taking any chances,” commented Kovasciar Myvett, hookt.com’s marketing director. Hookt.com’s crew plans to have a logo-emblazoned van out in force at the games, where shirts will be distributed and, in Myvett’s words, the crew will “try not to get hassled by the NYPD.”