Shopping New York

July 21st, 2011

Nadine Kam photos

All Saints Spitalfields Allegra dress, $650. Too froufrou for my stature, but my b.f. wanted me to try it on. I obliged but it was so heavy I had a hard time taking it off. I wanted to cry.

NEW YORK—After visiting the McQueen show at the Met, I was in the mood for Brit fashion and chanced upon All Saints Spitalfields in SoHo, at 512 Broadway, a new favorite store. What got my attention was the store’s window display, with eye-catching antique sewing machines stacked floor to ceiling for an industrial look, echoed throughout the store.

The London-based company started with menswear and has branched out to womenswear with a Gothic sensibility. There was a lot I liked about the collections which ran the gamut from deconstructed parachute styles to tailored pieces with intricate details and construction. When I later wore a Jezabel skirt out, a person who understands construction had to get her hands on it for a closer look, asking if she could see it because, “It intrigues me.” I’m afraid she would have had to take it home to figure it out, and that wasn’t going to happen.

So much better than Topshop. I also didn’t find anything at Zara and H&M this time around.

In All Saints menswear department, antique sewing machines lined the walls behind a display of belts.

Odd Molly camisole and mini lookbook that comes with each piece.

Meanwhile, at Century 21, I found this really cute and quirky Swedish brand I liked, called Odd Molly, with romantic, vintage, homespun touches from smocking to embroidered button holes and finishes, to cowgirl fringe. I loved how each of their silk slip dresses came with its own lace storage envelope with ribbon ties.

Century 21 can be a great place to find deeply discounted designer fashion, but because so many thousands of people tramp through the store daily, if you do chance upon a great find, chances are it’s in bad shape. It broke my heart to see dozens of M Missoni dresses at about $200, but full of snags, and I thought I had won a sweepstakes when I found a beautiful deep purple Alberta Ferretti silk-chiffon dress. It was my size. It fit. But when I started unraveling a self-tie that had been left in a jumble of knots, I realized it had been partially torn off, leaving a big tear. I don’t know how people can do that to such a beautiful piece. It seems it would have been hard to tear without trying, ya know?

Speaking of Century 21, they recently launched online shopping via The C21 Club, which operates like other member shopping sites. You have to register, and they run a couple of new sales every few days.

The entrance to the store was partially obscured by scaffolding, but luckily, the window display of antique sewing machines caught my eye.

All Saints Jezabel skirt and Nansea dress were two of about eight pieces I tried on. I’m bummed that after buying the skirt, it’s now on sale at half price, but maybe someone else will benefit from the end of summer sale going on at

All Saints lookbook
Phinius dress ($165), Caledonian jacket (495) and Deal boot ($299).

Aztec sequined dress, $460.

Lewes jacket, $295.

It’s unfortunate that the clothing in the All Saints web boutique is presented flat as the Ash Mea dress at left, which makes it hard to see how it drapes on a body.

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