Today's Thursday Styles delivers Critical Shopper Jon Caramanica bemoaning the rampant democratization of fashion thanks to the knowledge proliferating effects of the information superhighway. As luxury goods become ever less accessible by price, they are becoming more well known to internet fans in inverse proportion. Best kept secrets are not secrets for very long at all thanks to Twitter, Tumblr, Instagram and any number of other social media platforms. At the same time, Our Shopper is a premier perpetrator of this trend himself by alerting us all to Williamsburg's Idol, an exclusive, luxury men's fashion store which is supposedly looking to stay off the beaten path by opening in one of the city's most talked about neighborhoods (Paradoxes abound in this week's Critical Shopper).
Now, what Idol is doing on this block, in this neighborhood, remains a mystery unsolved. It belongs in the troposphere, in a dystopian sci-fi screenplay, or at the very least in the West Village.
It’s not here because of a belief in the ascendant wealth of Williamsburg, or even a belief that the marketplace demands it. It exists more because of a desire to have a place not everyone knows about. The type of place that can take on items that make little to no sense, just because a few people understand.
It sounds sort of like a somewhat less Goth-y version of Atelier, the by-appointment, exclusive-to-a-fault men's boutique whose quest for innocuousness took it from Crosby Street in SoHo to Hudson Street to 11th Avenue to, eventually, oblivion according to Yelp! which currently lists it as reportedly closed. Apparently, Atelier's next step to exclusive inaccessibility could only have been on a barge in the middle of the Hudson River, but we digress. Idol may seem slightly out of place in Williamsburg at the moment, but it's hard to imagine any store opening there as a way to keep a low profile, especially knowing the fate of Atelier with which it shares several vendors. Furthermore, a write-up in the Times only a few weeks after opening is hardly the M.O. of a store trying to lurk in the shadows. Besides, that neighborhood is expanding in so many directions so quickly that it's not hard to imagine serious customers coming around to Idol before long, so enjoy its enjoy its "exclusivity" while you can.