Saturday, March 18, 2006

A Report From Emmett's Opening

Here's a report from BPR reader Jessie who had the opportunity to attend the opening of Emmett's boutique last night.

So today after school I went downtown to Emmett's EMc2 boutique's grand opening party. It is located in a really prime retail area in New York City, Nolita, next to many hip boutiques and bars. When I arrived, there were only about 15 people browsing the store.

To my surprise, the store was all women's apparel. I really thought that after Project Runway, Emmett would stick with designing menswear, but apparently not. The store was very tastefully designed and structured, very modern, brightly lit and clean, with a color theme of white, silver, orange and aqua. The clothes hung on racks placed against the wall. Bags and belts were placed on high shelves and cubbies. There were glass cases and stands of jewelry as well. The jewelry is very ornate and "boho-chic", mostly chunky gold hardware embellished with vibrant, chunky gemstones. There were also many variations on chunky beaded necklaces.

As for the actual clothing, the theme was immediately apparent to me: tropical/bohemian/Palm Beach-esque resort wear, perfectly in time for spring just around the corner. There were bright Pucci-inspired print formal jackets, tropical print halter dresses, simple and elegant linen sundresses in black, red and white, white eyelet detailed A-line sundresses, crisp white slacks and Bermuda shorts, whimsically casual, slinky jersey modal tops encrusted with copper and bronze metal and gemstone trim in white, cream, and brown. The belts were large and ornate, statement pieces. They were also made with chunky metal hardware and turquoise on leather. His bags seemed to be hits with everyone. They were large and versatile, made with a variety of materials ranging from deep burgundy leather satchels to canvas and nude leather bucket bags, in multiple shapes. He also had some intricately bejeweled and beaded clutch purses. My favorite pieces out of the entire store were the flimsy, printed silk puff-sleeved frock dresses. They were youthful, gorgeous, eye catching yet sophisticated, flirty, and simple. The prices of the merchandise ranged from about $100 to $600. The median price range was around $250-$400.

Soon enough, the crowd swelled to about 80? people, with more constantly appearing. The crowd was very eclectic, mostly older adults 30-35 plus years old. It consisted mostly of New York City fashion sophisticates and media/entertainment biz people. This IS New York after all.

I came alone, and felt quite intimidated, nervous and out of place, so I just stood against the wall for a while, nursing my drink. I did not miss an opportunity to congratulate Emmett, however. He looked striking and sharp, dressed in pressed khakis, a crisp pale blue dress shirt, and a slim fitting black blazer. He stood about a foot taller than everyone, naturally. When I finally worked up enough nerve to approach him, I was so nervous! It felt almost surreal. I introduced myself as "the official Blogging Project Runway correspondent", much to Emmett's amusement. I only had enough time to ask him one question, so many people were clamoring to talk to him, so he couldn't talk for long. I expressed my surprise that the boutique solely consisted of women's wear. He explained that he thought that being on Project Runway had enabled him to do something different and expand his horizons on fashion. We discussed this blog for a while, and then the upcoming tour. Then he was whisked away by more guests, and he excused himself in a gracious, if not a slightly hurried manner. At times he stood away from the crowd silently, looking quite like a deer caught in the headlights. I guess he was slightly overwhelmed. It was endearing. His family was there too. I only really saw his mother. She looked great, and was very sweet. She had personally made and distributed Irish soda bread for everyone in honor of Saint Patrick's Day.

Later on MISS DIANA arrived! She came in from Rhode Island to support Emmett's store, which was sweet. I also had a chance to talk to her. She was adorable, was dressed in a very spring-time appropriate outfit. I told her how I was a big fan of hers (totally gushed!) We talked about being students. She told me that Emmett had agreed to sell her jewelry collection in the boutique. Isn't that great of him! She brought out some of her jewelry and displayed it, and explained the concepts. The fuse necklace that she wore while on Project Runway was one of the pieces.

I left a bit later than 7. Kara Janx and Daniel Vosovic were not present while I was at the boutique. I am presuming that they decided not to come because they did not want to take the spotlight off of Emmett? Who knows, maybe they showed up after I left.

All in all, it was a very gratifying, exciting, and fulfilling experience.

Thanks so much, Jessie, for sharing this fun experience with us! And, Jessie, you weren't alone. You brought all of us with you.


nycsl said...

Kara came later with her fiance. She was really nice and very pretty. Daniel didn't come, nor did Tim. People left around 9-9:30.

Tbone said...

Great reporting, Jessie! Sure sounds to me that you held your own in that crowd.

Tim is in LA this morning for Season 3 auditions, so I don't think he was even in town last night to attend, unfortunately.

Jan the Dan Fan said...

Jesse--thank you for such a descriptive report. I would not have been so brave to go on my own.

Marsha said...

Outstanding!! I guess nice guys do not always finish gracious of him to be selling Diana's jewelry -- I wish them both tremendous success, & thanks for offering this report! :D

C Merry said...

That was a fabulous report thanks so much. I wish I could have gone but could not have gotten there until after 8 so thanks for the cool reporting! Emmett was very sweet on the show I wish him all the luck in the world! Can't wait to visit the shop sometime

InsultComicDog said...

"mostly older adults 30-35 plus years old"


j11358 said...

Scarlett, you did a great job of juxtaposing the pictures with the words. Thanks!

And thanks so much everyone for your kind words!

j11358 said...

oh and in response to insultcomicdog:

well, I AM only 16, so people of that age group honestly are older, in relation to me at least. I mean no harm.

George said...

Great reporting! Thanks for bringing us the news.
Sounds like it was a fun experience, and I hope you see other fashion openings in the future as well!

Em said...

HA! The man to Emmett's left in BOTH of those pictures is totally my cousin! I'll have to email him!

karen said...

Great report Jessie. Great pictures. I would totally wear his clothes.

Lol about the older adults at 30-35 (says a 30 something female). I totally get what you mean though.

I wish Emmett all the luck with his store and Diana with her jewelry sales in his shop.

KCF said...

My girls and I and hubby were there, too. We also chatted with Diana, who was sweet and very natural, and looked very pretty. Unfortunately, we left before Kara came. It was a lovely evening for Emmett and the store and clothes looked terrific!

ScubaOtter said...

So, what size range does his clothing run, out of curiosity? I'm just wondering what type of market he's shooting for.

And yeah, "ouch" on the age comment, but coming from a 16 year old it is all relative.

ScubaOtter said...

Sounds to me like Emmett is targeting the "Tommy Bahama" clientele. A smart move, in a demographic with sufficient disposable income.

It sounds very "Emmett." Clean, classic, tasteful, casual with a little bit of "snap" or "pizzaz" like you'd find at brunch at the Princeville Hotel. Kudos.

Jo said...

My fiancĂ© and I stopped by Friday night and met Emmett's family. His mom, sister and brother (CPA/IRS agent) were all there, along with assorted aunts and Connecticut neighbors. They are so nice and genuine; it’s easy to see he is the antithesis of what the producers would want in a reality character. Way too mature and possesses too much class to last long in that environment.

We chatted briefly with Diana - I think she is a lil freaked about her minor celebrity hood. Missed Kara, but we left early to do our wedding registration (PB is around the corner).

BTW - great catering with inventive hors d`oeuvres (served by gorgeous gay boys) and fun tropical drinks.

We had stopped in earlier this month for a long chat with Mr. McCarthy. He is a most gracious gentleman, impeccably dressed, with a very easy open and engaging conversational style that puts you at ease. It’s irritating how all the PR interview outtakes depict him as slow talking or slightly spaced out. Smart as whip, extremely quick mind, and has a smooth articulate manner.

We talked about his biz plan - suffice to say he has a very clear understanding of what he needs to succeed. The Nolita area he is in has a ton of boutiques on that block, so he will get a lot of foot traffic. Neighboring Soho is a zoo on weekends, but there should be enough spillover to make it viable.

What may not have come through in the PR show is E has been been a successful designer/design director for 20 years. Did his grunt work in London and Paris, and knows the industry inside out. I have no doubt the retail venture and his line will be a great success.

SciMommy said...

Thanks for the report, Jessie! Oh, if only I was still living in NYC, then I would've gone myself!

BTW, I'm floored by the revelation you're only 16. That report was so beautifully written and so descriptive, I almost felt like I was there. Thanks again!

ScubaOtter said...

Great additions, Jo. Thanks for the additional perspective.

Love, love, love, love, LOVE the fact that he is "smart as whip, extremely quick mind, and has a smooth articulate manner." I think that came through on the show, but it's nice to hear it support IRL.

You're right that he's the antithesis of a reality TV character. He wasn't high drama (except for the pink shirt 'glare'), and so the producers didn't give him a lot of screen time. Apparently, the squeaky wheel gets the grease. Which is precisely why I don't ordinarily watch "reality" TV. It's a shame that a quick wit and keen mind aren't deemed sufficiently "watchable" on their own merits. The success of “Frasier” should have been evidence enough. *sigh*

I wish only the best for Emmett (and colleagues). Cheers and mazel tov to all!

The Scarlett said...

Jessie, I'm glad you like the way I handled your story/photos. I would have never guessed you to be sixteen by the way you wrote!

floretbroccoli said...

Question for those who attended the opening -- is Emmett selling only his own designs? Or is it his own mixed with others', as in Chloe's store?

Abby said...

Those prices make me sad that I will probably not very soon be able to afford an Emmett McCarthy original.

Oh, well. Maybe for my prom.


Jo said...

Emmett is currently selling a mix of his own line and one or two other designers. He indicated his goal is to eventually sell only his line.

Kara Janx lives nearby, and her stuff is in a couple stores around town. I forgot to mention - E told me the first time I met him "Kara's OFW collection blew away the 3 finalists - clear winner if she had actually been competing". Good on her because I know she was crushed when she didn't make it to the finals. I am so impressed she recognized it was still a great opportunity for her, and she's reaping the benefits.

Chloe, btw, is COMPLETELY sold out of her designs, which made up about 30% of the Lot 8 inventory before the craziness hit. I didn't ask if E saw her the day before (she was in NYC for the Elle shoot); although they get along great from what I understand, I was kind of more interested in what E or Diana had in the works. (ASIDE - plus I kind of feel like they get plenty of people gushing over Ms. Dao as it is. They are all so talented, have their own aesthetic, their own point of view, etc.)

E's take on Daniel V's potential: he quoted Tim Gunn, who told E after PR ended that he just finished looking at the list of "student of the year" award winners for the last 30 years. It's given to the designer who is the most polished, sort of the most likely to succeed award. On the entire list, only Marc Jacobs turned out to be a smashing success. We shall see - Daniel has a lot to learn, and it is hard to predict if he will ever become an elite designer.

The best inside info I learned was regarding Jay McCarroll. For all the speculation on why he didn't take the money, the simple fact is this: BAD LEGAL ADVICE. There was a clause that PR/BR could buy 10% of his line (they already own everything created for PR). He wanted to renegotiate and walked away with nothing. Bottom line is he made a bad decision, nothing more or less. No subsequent licensing deal has emerged, the 12-episode "Project Jay" was a 1 shot special, he's broke, and has no biz plan to introduce a line for the Fall 2006 shows.

All of which makes it easier to see why Season 2 produced a winner who not only makes beautiful clothes, but also has a good head on her shoulders. You cannot be successful in fashion if crap on everyone along the way. Remember Jay's advice? "Be nice". Remember the advice from the Director of 7th on 6th? "Be nice".

Obviously it takes more than couth, but having watched Jay self-destruct, I can only hope Santino loses his demons. Nobody likes working with a butthole.