Sunday, March 13, 2011

Comme des boutiques...

..." And then, since it’s a business, we have to be able to get back the initial investment, whether it’s ours or whether it’s the partner’s, in as short a time as possible. So I don’t like to use expensive materials. I take care to make costs reasonable. It’s very similar to the way I make clothes. I give myself limits, not only financial limits but I also limit my method of expression, and from within those limits I try to come up with something new and interesting.”
- Rei Kawakubo, Comme des Garcons

Re-thinking, re-designing, evolving and re-working...coming up on a year since we transformed the retail shop of Blackmail into Blackmail Boutique & Atelier. Since then, we have re-fashioned our workspace several times: making sure we have the room and temperament to calmly create and then, display my designs. Retail is difficult - no one goes into it to become rich, although many neophytes carry in that illusion which quickly evaporates. Buy low, sell high, turn over quickly and skim off a bit of the profit into savings while every other penny goes back into the business. And as much as I would like to paint the front of my shop in matte black, put up a doorbell and cloister myself inside, there is a NEW retail mindset beckoning that can be combined with a consciousness of collecting the non-disposable item...focusing on timeless as opposed to ephemeral.

The question is how to create the environment? I toy daily with that challenge and Evan helps me immensely to focus on what he sees as the obvious: display carefully and thoughtfully, less is more, a gallery/museum where clients can gaze and question.

So, we're starting now. Yesterday, the platforms were delivered. It's just the beginning of the "vitrines" - our displays that will speak. Yesterday, we put clothing on the dress forms and positioned them near the door. Yesterday, customers came in and touched them; literally, climbed onto the stages and pawed them. It seemed odd to me - not that my designs are so precious, but that people were that bold. I am trying to decide how to handle this, accept it. If they did it yesterday, it's sure to continue when the risers are painted and the displays are set. Should I appreciate this? Should I be offended? Is it raw? Is it real? Is it true?

It's just the beginning...


  1. ..and what a stunning "beginning" this is..appreciate the pawing? Offended by the touching? Raw, real or true...I think that little velvet ropes would do the trick...because crawling on to the stages is ODD, BOLD, ridiculous and unforgivable!

    Such a lovely post...excited for you and I vote for the Black Matte facade!


  2. People are funny and do crazy things, perhaps place some sample material on display for them to touch and maybe they won't climb over to touch.
    Yes, you should be flattered, but control the crowds ;)
    Cherie Mathews

  3. Don't paint the glass black. Ask Steve Wiman why! Snazzy as usual, Gail. Yours, Debe