They built it, and oh, did the people come. It started last Thursday and hasn’t let up since — I wasn’t alone waltzing through the new Barneys Co-Op the other morning, only minutes after it had opened. Making my way through the clean, white, light space, filled with rack upon rack of pieces from today’s strongest and most important contemporary designers, dripping temptingly from their hangers, as if waving to me: “Touch us, Carrie, please, try us on … Take us home …”
Ahem. Sorry. I haven’t quite shaken the fashion haze that has surrounded and followed me, Pigpen-like, since my first visit. And in all honestly, the fashion is fantastic. The lines are smart and current (from 3.1 Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang, Vena Cava and A.P.C. to Diane von Furstenberg, Vince and Marc by Marc Jacobs), and the well-edited selection of pieces from each of them makes sense for Philadelphia shoppers. The denim, handbags, shoe and jewelry selections are expansive, and the men’s store — the men’s store! — spans an entire second floor, and ranges from basics like tees and button-downs to quirky sneaks and trendy hats. The store is open, laid out nicely and well organized — lines are written in black on the white walls above the racks, and funny little silhouettes and comic-like drawings decorate the open space. This, my friends, is a big deal.
And, as my colleague Ashley Primis noted in the April issue of Philly Mag, it’s a big deal way beyond providing us with another option for finding that dress. Barneys arrival continues Philadelphia’s emergence as a strong, important retail destination. It means other such retailers, the kind that can really make a difference in Center City’s economy (in good times and in bad) are going to sit up and pay attention. And while there’s no way they could have known this back when the decision was made to set up shop on Rittenhouse Square, this might just be the life raft that Walnut Street needs right now. Because let me tell you, my shop-happy reader, this store is so good, you just might forget about the credit crunch and offer up your own little stimulus package for a rainy day.
10 Rittenhouse Square; 215-563-5333. Monday-Saturday, 10 a.m.-8 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m.-6 p.m.