New York: Through a Fashion Eye

Image of New York: Through a Fashion Eye
Release Date: 
October 31, 2016
Hardie Grant
Reviewed by: 

Having never been a tourist in New York City this might be a book that is a bit difficult to assess but here goes.

Firstly, yes, there are all the so called fashion sights or “usual suspects” such as Bergdorf Goodman, Barneys, Saks, Tiffany, Cartier, Vuitton, Ralph Lauren, and the like, but the text that accompanies all these so called sights is a tad subjective and more than a bit misleading depending on the reader’s New York City shopping background and knowledge.

For instance, according to Hess all the clothes in the Ralph Lauren ladies’ shop “bear the iconic Polo logo.” Wrong! Then when offering the brief history of stores such as Henri Bendel the author offers the original location as a point of interest but never the iconic 57th street location—and why would anyone omit that when the same information has been included when it comes to other NYC institutions?

It is head shaking that when referring to the late Oscar de la Renta and his eponymous shop that he was a favorite designer of Jacqueline Kennedy. Huh?

While we are on Madison Avenue the subject is Michael Kors, whose flagship store is located on said street but is omitted in the text and only the SoHo location is mentioned. The book is rife with these sorts of omissions and misconceptions.

If you are going to write a book that is helpful to the prospective NYC fashion shopper then you must do it thoroughly. The fact that each entry has a rather generic illustration, save for a logo or shopping bag, is merely an excuse for they serve absolutely no purpose with the accompanying text. The point is simply, either publish a book of illustrations or publish a shopping guide to New York City.

Can someone explain how the “Met Gala” found its way into a fashion sightseeing guide to New York City? The book is just full of incorrect information about stores, historical points, and brands let alone sweeping, almost fawning, statements that are 100% subjective and personal—not to mention the glaring omissions.

The bottom line is that there is little to no gravitas in this book, and in comparison to let’s say Ines de la Fressange’s guides to Paris shopping (Parisian Chic or Parisian Chic Style Secrets), New York Through a Fashion Eye is like a comic book next to a Pulitzer Prize piece of literature.

By the way did you know according to Hess that Times Square is “the heart of New York, connecting Midtown to the Upper East Side and West Side?”Huh?