Thursday, April 9, 2009


Grace Building, Sixth Avenue-NYC

April 9, 2009

Words, Images Judith Ecochard

Many women we know…hit the men’s or boys clothing department to buy the classic staples---like blazers and long sleeve Oxford shirts for themselves.
…Giving real meaning to the “The Boyfriend” look.

And we thought of that as we entered the spacious Perry Ellis headquarters the other day…and got an initial glimpse of the fashionably attired mannequins…outfitted in fresh Fall 2009 separates that our boyfriends would actually wear.

And the first thought that flooded our brain cells was ‘how about a women’s line?’

We so wanted some Perry Ellis ladies’ looks…especially for our two top picks:

... a deep black leather-like (really) $80 Motorcycle-Biker jacket that’s has just enough street style cred.

And a thick, cable knit grey sweater that is a refreshing update on the unisex one everyone buys in Ireland.

LUCKY US---we got some time with John Crocco, the talented veteran Creative Director/style guru of Perry Ellis, International, who showed us the affordably priced lineup that pays homage to the brand’s “iconic Perry…of taking the traditional and changing it.”

First stop, the aforementioned grey cable sweater. Crocco pointed out how Perry Ellis took a cable knit and “…blew it up with shoulders down to here (points to about 3 inches above elbows)…” but for Fall, the cable is blown up “and put on a bias with fitted shoulders.”

Crocco’s background in all facets of the retail trade also ensured a nifty “play with prints” that in less experienced hands would not be as well finished.

Case in point the argyle v-neck with a hand finish- the pattern extending up through the ribbed trim. A detail some would miss but IMHO makes the difference between ho-hum and polished perfection.

The Fall collection had other terrific “mixed separates that are accessible…”

Like a black tux blazer that wears hip with jeans,

a sold by itself herring bone tweed waistcoat, (an office/casual look that amps up any button down or Tee), a wash tumbled leather jacket, and a grandpa style, striped long cardigan with a hip, switched up pattern.

Other staff favorites (we always ask) are the English country Norfolk fitted jacket with a narrow lapel… that is made form proprietary fabrics masterfully embedded with a woven metal that keeps the wrinkled fit just so…

A pocketed/zipped soft suede jacket in a deep turquoise blue (for under $200 WOW) and a new Desert Boot Sneaker with a cross-stitch detail.

Frankly, we didn’t see a weak link anywhere. Even the innards of the separates (linings in complimentary rich colors)… are well done.

“You have to give him affordable fashion,” Crocco noted. “It’s already a jump for the guy...we make it inspirational and not alienate anyone.”