Monday, August 26, 2013

In the Market Report by Marilyn Kirschner

Get "Fresh" With Me!

 Joe Mimran

"T" The New York Times Style Magazine's fall issue, which debuted this weekend, boasted the cover lines, "Modern Girls" and placed "The Contradictory" and supremely modern Rooney Mara on the cover. Certainly, modern is a word constantly bantered around in fashion and it's used and abused. It is highly subjective, elusive, hard to define; it's one of those things that you "you know it when you see it". It can mean different things to different people. To me, modernity is based on looking effortlessly and naturally chic, looking comfortable in your skin, and 'owning' your look. In my opinion, nothing is more modern than the time saving aspect of affecting a "uniform" of sorts: knowing what looks best on you and staying with it, just tweaking and perfecting it.

Python jacket

One of the best places to find the basic building blocks of one's uniform, is the "cheap chic" emporium, Joe Fresh, http://www.joefresh.com/, whose motto is "Fresh style. Fresh price". The fashion brand and retail chain created by designer Joe Mimran for Canadian food distributor Loblaw Companies Limited, is promoted as "a stylish and affordable apparel and accessories that includes adult and children's wear, shoes, handbags, jewellery, beauty products and bath items". The line is available at over 300 Canadian supermarkets and superstores, in addition to standalone locations. Joe Fresh has also entered the American market with permanent and pop-up stores in New York City, and an international flagship store located on Fifth Avenue. Most recently, the brand has also opened some 680 stores within J.C. Penney outlets throughout the United States. (FYI, Joe, who has contributed to Canadian fashion and design for more than 25 years, founded Club Monaco, later launched Caban, and contributed to his wife’s clothing line, Pink Tartan).

Tweed jacket with frayed trim Fall 2013

I must admit that I count myself as a fan, and I almost never walk away from a Joe Fresh store without buying something. While admittedly, one must always exercise caution, as well as one's informed, well trained eye when shopping at a store that specializes in budget prices for the masses, this is one place where, (owing to Joe's finely honed aesthetic, great eye, and obvious high taste level), you can often find some really great pieces at hard-to-believe prices. Some are often distinctive enough to catch the eye of well seasoned fashion pros who are more immersed in the high luxury world than in the mass market. Such is the case with several items I have purchased at Joe Fresh over the course the year. They have been in heavy rotation, and have become my favorite things; I would love them even if they didn't have such unbelievably low price tags attached.

Contrast stripe Jean $39

This is a sampling: the pointy toed kitten heeled loafers from spring 2012 in white piped with black, black piped with white, and all white, originally $79, I got them on sale for $15; the crisp black cotton skinny jeans from spring 2013 with zippered ankles and contrasting white tuxedo stripe (they were originally $39 and then were marked down to $9- yup...you heard that right); my optic white minimalist cropped puffer jacket from fall 2012, $89 (it was featured on vogue.com); the Limited Edition textured 4 pocketed faux python cardigan jacket from spring 2013 in black and ivory, piped in ivory, $89; the over sized white leather Cambridge satchel, $99 (it was from spring 2013, and is still available at their Flatiron location); and most recently, a pair of simple, flat black rubber knee high boots with a matte textured surface that makes them look less like rubber and more like velvet, $39.

Quilted nylon jacket in ivory piped in black

But my favorite, purchased one year ago, is their 4 pocketed ivory quilted nylon cardigan jacket piped in black, $89. It is modeled after for Coco Chanel's iconic piece, but is better, since it's practical, waterproof, warm, and extremely lightweight. It got me through last winter and almost every time I wear it, I'm asked about it. I just noticed that they have wisely put it back in stock, as part of their fall 2013 collection, which was inspired by "cool French girls in early 90s Paris".

White leatherette biker jacket with striped turtleneck Fall 2013

The formal runway show, presented during Toronto Fashion Week this past March, was a study in black & white, and featured leatherette motorcycle jackets, slim cigarette pants, chunky cropped sweaters, thin stripes, frayed edged tweeds, shiny black suits, cape coats, variations on pea coats, pleated skirts and jackets. While much of it was admittedly quite youthful looking and "achingly cool" – someone observed "you almost expected the models to light up Gitanes on the runway". There were, as always, pieces for the more mature Joe Fresh customer, including full skirts, turtlenecks, and accessories such as their delectable smoking slippers and demure kitten heels.


- Marilyn Kirschner
 







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