Sunday, September 19, 2010

In Which Beautiful Dresses Are Very, Very, Very, Very Long and Gene Pressman Is Needed

Last week it seemed like a good idea to have a late afternoon snack at Barney's Greengrass in Beverly Hills. A sunny Thursday afternoon after the lunch crew departed, there were only two other tables occupied. A cheerful middle-aged man with his white shirt tucked past the beginning of a tummy bulge into crisp jeans with a quiet girl in her twenties (well, safe guess: everyone at Barney's looks to be in their 20's regardless of their true decade of birth) in designer white and black suede expensive booties, sleek black hair to her waist and a bit petulant. He was quite friendly, stopping by our table holding two large black shopping bags with the girl following. He wished us a good lunch and they left, sunny smile of his.

We paid and wandered floor by floor. The top floor beyond was empty, a ghost floor with well-dressed mannequins holding sunglasses. Somewhere between excited and dreading (what if we couldn't live without something on a floor that has four digit items), we slowed down to touch and look. The evening racks were sparse but there was a curious similarity in one detail. Each of these evening gowns were about the length of the amazingly beautiful Marchesa dress pictured here. I held one up perplexed; this was not a usual long dress with a train but a dress that had I worn it would have had half the skirt length puddling around me, more even than the decadent curtains at Anoushka Hempel's Blakes Hotel in London. Apparently at that moment there were actually no sales people at Barney's either, another peculiarity.

Next were exceedingly ethereal black silk chiffon dresses and each held the residue of white deodorant. We walked ever more slowly, sadly at designer dresses unzipped, tilting precariously off its hangar.  Azzedine Alaia had the section that used to house Giorgio Armani with natural light clarifying exquisite color and detail. The series of knit dresses were hung, the knit top lighter than rather complex skirts that pulled and tugged; the kind of dress that should not ever be hung. My companion, with a true look of horror on her face, removed one dress from its pending disaster, draping it beautifully on a large glass table that had been barren of any display at all. And still no staff appeared. (Note: I have dreamed each night of that dress, I am now obsessed. Possibly that is the most perfect dress ever made and it is increasingly difficult to stifle my desire to own it.)

So really there are two mysteries, at least. The length of these dresses, as you can see, are atypical of the usual female form. There appears to be no one home, no management, not even sales staff at Barney's. Dresses that are in the rather spendy neighborhood of (gasp) $3,200.00 are treated rather more poorly than even markdowns.

It's necessary to admit on a gigantic corporate level that a terrible mistake was made. It's time to return the store to Gene Pressman. Now, please.


  1. That is terrible that the dresses were not being taken care of, sounds like they are not interested in business or taking care of their merchandise.

  2. There is something to be said about a shop that doesn't take proper care of the merchandise. It's of poor taste.

  3. That gown is ABSOLUTELY STUNNING! Ugggh... they hung a knit dress? Shame on them!

  4. What a gorgeous gown - reminiscent of old Hollywood days. someone like Audrey Hepburn should be wearing it... I really enjoyed your stroll through Barney's!
    Thanks so much for your very kind words about my blog (and for following along!). I do love the blogging world - and the great people one *meets*! It will be fun to follow one another's sites!

  5. really interesting story! well, there you can see the difference between the good and the ugly...somehow! looking good from afar..but really a bit off this dress!

  6. I cannot even begin to explain how much I agree with you. Having worked in the fashion industry, helped manage a boutique for years, and was in charge of merchandising, this is sad to see. The de-valuing of the work that has gone into such pieces is evident in the way that they are treated and displayed. I hope that by doing what your companion did, a message was sent to that particular location. I hope, and wish.

    The dress is beautiful :)


  7. It looks like she's so tall haha, great blog!

  8. How many millions a year is Barneys losing? I forget. Guess they can't afford good help. Sad. New York is in better condition, at least. I wandered through yesterday and there were people!

  9. Wow. That gown is gorgeous. And smh at them for being so careless with works of art!

  10. Thanks for stopping by my blog, and for following! I'm following you right back ;)

  11. wonderful dress!
    I like your blog!
    We could be followers each other, what do you think?


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