This week is pretty much the Superbowl week of shopping. We’ve already given you your game plan for Black Friday shopping (we’re adding more sales and events to the list every day, so keep checking back!). But for the shoppers who can’t deal with Friday’s crowds, we have sale salvation in Joan Shepp.
If you’re a true vintage obsessive, you know Cameron Silver from Decades, the legendary vintage boutique in LA. If you’re a Bravo obsessive, then you know him from ‘Dukes of Melrose,’ the short-lived reality TV series documenting the glamorous and deliciously over-the-top business of vintage couture. And if you don’t know him at all, well, then even more reason to get down to Joan Shepp tomorrow to meet him and see what real high-end vintage is all about.
Wednesday night Joan Shepp officially opened her new store at 1811 Chestnut Street. The trailblazing Shepp’s flagship store was on Walnut Street for nearly two decades before it was chased from Philadelphia’s Rodeo Drive by rising rents. Joan Shepp then headed for the posh Shops at Liberty Place; although it was very lovely, she yearned for a storefront with the glorious window displays that we’d all grown to love. She’s found that in the beautiful new 9,000-square-foot showroom she now calls home.
Joan and daughter Ellen Shepp attract a fashionable crowd to their store, which carries both men’s and women’s clothing, and houses an array of designer labels including Moschino, Balenciaga, Jil Sander, Rick Owens and Phillip Lim. The crowd at the opening night party was just as eclectic and fabulous. There were live models in the window facing Chestnut Street, and earlier in the night Mike Jerrick, and new co-host Alex Holley from Fox 29 modeled.
Food was provided by all the Starr restaurants, and over a 1,000 macarons were made by Parc restaurant’s pastry chef. Denise Fike created a mural of guests who attended the soiree, as models roamed the store’s three rooms and outdoor space with the latest fall collections.
Local designers, better start getting your portfolios ready. Starting next month (which is in just three days WHERE DID SUMMER GO?), Joan Shepp is kicking off its very first designer residency program. Exciting, right? Let’s dig into the details.
If I leave our office building, turn right and then make an immediate left down an alleyway, I can cut through two parking lots and be at Joan Shepp‘s new location in exactly two minutes. I discovered this yesterday evening when I set out for the store’s private press preview, an exclusive sneak peek at the space before it officially opens to the public this Saturday. After a much-publicized decision to leave its prime Walnut Street spot, and then it’s short-lived tenure at Liberty Place, Joan Shepp announced it was moving into the rundown space at 1811 Chestnut Street—the former site of a mattress store—to plenty of raised eyebrows. They were supposed to open in April. Then, we heard, possibly May. But I can tell you after last night’s walk-through: It was worth the wait.
Today Joan Shepp finally rolled out its new website and it is, in a word, amazing. Gone are the hard-to-discern flat shots of clothes on a white background. Now, pieces by the likes of Jil Sander, Issey Miyake, Elizabeth & James and Comme des Garçons shine on models—the fluid lines of an Issey Miyake cloak caught in motion is a standout. The selection available online is still small—”curated,” in boutique speak—but endlessly shoppable, and inspiring. Perhaps the most hauntingly beautiful piece of the site, though, is the compilation of stark black and white shots of Shepp’s new space, still under construction (it’s slated to open this spring). There’s a picture of Joan herself, silhouetted as she stares out the back window of the building at 1811 Chestnut Street, one of the grand dames of Philadelphia fashion looking into the future—which, now, looks pretty bright.
How to shop a major sale? If you take this video (created by the fashion intelligentsia over at Joan Shepp for their BOP-winning annual basement sale) literally, you grab every single thing off the rack and go. It’s a take-no-prisoners approach to shopping, and while we’d hate to be shopping next to her, we can’t totally knock it. It’s selfish, inconsiderate and—if we’re being completely honest here—something we’ve all been tempted to do at least once in our lives (especially at the Shepp sale, which is always amazing). Before you go to one of the countless end-of-season sales going on right now, here are some non-bitchy ways to score big.
The old adage “out with the old, in with the new” makes sense in the fashion world, but our sister site Shoppist‘s glut of news about store closings and openings makes us realize it’s just as true in retail real estate.
New: Joan Shepp
Longstanding boutique Joan Shepp opted for a pop-up store after her departure from her original Walnut Street location — and it seems the change may have done some good. Her newfound home is just a few blocks away at 1811 Chestnut Street. Once a mattress store, the simple exterior conceals an inner space with some potential, including a supposedly great staircase.