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06criticspan-articleLarge-A This week's Thursday Styles tasks veteran Times fashion writer Ruth La Ferla with the Critical Shopper column, and she responds with a perplexing take on ABC Carpet & Home. In what appears to be an effort to contend with Shopper-In-Chief Cintra Wilson's fanciful observations, and even Jon Caramanca's ever more pointed surveys, La Ferla has put herself in the shoes of Rolling Stones spawn, Jade Jagger and once and future retailer India Hicks. This creates the odd situation of a highly known quantity, ABC, filtered through the personages of the rather more obscure, Jagger and Hicks, whose very specific homes and tastes we really can't fully picture (or might not actually care that much about). This might have been more effective if she hadn't chosen such a well known subject. In visiting ABC, La Ferla has taken on one of the city's most well known retailers, a well established store so monolithic and beloved in the minds of many city shoppers, that a review seems almost beside the point. Rather than exploring the enormous retailer's hidden corners, she focuses on the most familiar terrain, its main floor, which in all fairness, can be seen as a self contained store. It seems surprising, however, that she didn't bother to even step downstairs to the new Conran Shop, or even give in to the temptations of ABC's Bed and Bath floor, another outstanding section of the store. We felt as if we were reading a restaurant review based solely on the appetizers.

La Ferla is, of course, a seasoned writer, and her shopping adventure is skilfully chronicled, but we finished reading it still waiting to discover something we didn't already know about ABC.

Critical Shopper | ABC Carpet & Home: A Souk for Trust-Fund Hobbits By Ruth La Ferla (NYTimes)
ABC Carpet & Home 888 Broadway at 19th Street, Flatiron District


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