This week's Critical Shopper Jo Caramanica has made two trips to the new boutique Nepenthes and still seems unsure exactly what to make of it. He has brought a "spy" along with him, although we never actually find out whom she is spying for (KGB? MI-6? Forever 21?).
Espionage issues aside (the idea never quite gels in the review), Caramanica seems a bit flummoxed when facing the avant-garde variations on the old fashioned workwear styles he liked so much at the Army-Navy store.
The pieces can be gorgeous and vexing. Take the Engineered Garments car coat and blazer, in a pair of grayscale patterns, made from thick but pliable wool dobby ($621, $437). On the hanger, they looked like fantastic tapestries. On me, they looked like fantastic tapestries.
Look, not everyone is meant to dress in a way that pushes the boundaries of fashion. In fact, you could argue that some of the people who try to probably shouldn't. While we do rather like Nepenthes ourself, we wouldn't attempt to wear a lot of what's available there either, but we appreciate the store's particular style. Frankly we are just pleased to see the Times give it a little attention, because it's the kind of place we would like to see stick around for a while.
Critical Shopper: Work Wear Rebuilt for Idle Time By Jon Caramanica (NYTimes)
Nepenthes NY 307 West 38th Street between Eighth and Ninth Avenues, Garment District
Hide And Seek: Nepenthes Makes A Stealthy Entry