06 November 2008

Cashmere & Magazines

Last year I was buried in a stack of magazines at Gallagher's Bookstore. I'd give you the address and introduce you to the owners but they closed. Forced out by the capitalist, real estate pigs of Manhattan who jack up their rents a hundred fold because Starbucks will not blink at $30,000 a month rent for 1,200 square feet!

Sorry - carried away there.

Anyway, the owners are a lovely couple with two adorable children. A quick aside: I think most children are morons. I mean, they're supposed to be. I understand that. But the Gallagher boy is a pistol. He's about eight and knows more profanity than I do. What a great life - - growing up in a bookstore with an Irish mum and brilliant dad who has sold to every designer (including R.L. himself) in NYC who steals from these old magazines. What magazines? THE magazine. Apparel Arts.

Covered here and here in earlier posts, I have been scouring ebay, Gallagher's and out of the way bookstores in every one horse town I roll thru in hopes of, like finding that Porsche Speedster in a farmer's barn, finding an entire collection of Apparel Arts for, "Oh, there just collecting dust round here (spits) - - I'll let you have 'em for ten bucks a piece." Why, thank you farmer Brown. Have a pouch of Redman on me.

Instead, they're going for north of $400 an issue and that's on Ebay. One of the last times I was in Gallagher's I picked up Volume II of the Gruppo published reprint. Mike looked at me and knowing how cheap I am (my last visit I walked from, "M" The Civilized Man magazines that were $20 a piece) he asked, "You know this a hundred bucks?"

There's two other volumes that go with this and I can't find them anywhere - - at any price. Some wonderful illustrations in this "business" volume with hints to retailers for ad layout, displays, store design, how to sell quality in a depression...interesting stuff.

The suit you see was advertised in the back of the publication and it's a dead ringer for a Ralph Lauren Purple Label, three piece tweed made from 100% cashmere. Two maybe three seasons old. While booksellers in one horse towns know the value of their stock - - it would seem Polo outlets do not. I purchased the cashmere suit ("Ohhh, Georgie. Cashmeeeere...) for $350.00 from the Orlando Polo outlet. It retailed for $4,000.

Normally, I would have Mr Peppino (across from Bloomingdale's) handle the alterations but Bhambi Tailors (across from Barneys) came highly recommened from a salesman (Ira) at Herzfeld. Ira helped me with a tattersall shirt and the perfect tie. The last time I saw Ira he almost threw a rope around me and pulled me into the store (57th between Park and Lex) where he showed me a beautiful tattersall waistcoat. Only $450. Geez, Ira...I didn't pay that for my suit. The tailoring? It too was more than the suit. Almost double. Working sleeve buttons, lined cuff bottoms, lined seat and a vest. Four fittings. Nice people.

And that damned magazine I want is more than the suit. Still, if you looking for old fashion mags try Mike at incink@hotmail.com and they may be able to help. The store is gone but they still have an impressive inventory...as well as children. One last observation. Sans the Polo Outlet, everyone associated with this post: Mike at Gallagher's, Mr Bhambi at Bhambis, Ira at Herzfeld...all are passionate about what they do. They all know their stuff to be sure but they all really love what they do and it shows.


heavy tweed jacket said...

The markup on RL can be fantastic. Sounds like you made a nice find. Mine was was last summer: a quiet ancient madder paisley tie for 5 bucks (orig. $95) in one of those glass bowls by the cash register. Always check the glass bowls; sometimes they contain candy.

tin-tin's phred/dad said...

Road-Kill Cashmere:
Many years ago. A young lady neighbor riding her bike noticed a sweater on the side of the road. She took it home and it was too large. She offered it to me -- dusty, but in good repair. I recognized it as a top quality, classic green cashmere cardigan. It served me well for over 20 years. Cost nothing -- but I did take her to dinner.

Richard M said...

So sad to see Gallagher's go. The old mags-vintage Esquire, AA/GQ, M, and a few others, were an indespensable source of sartorial information.

Apparel Belts said...

I now see exactly whats going with this world. If you say yes, the others say no, its a tough world out there in order to get ahead..
But, as long you stay up, keep your head up right, do your homework like the Mister that wrote this well written piece did.
Sooner or later, you'll have a plan and succeed, so its never too late to begin, start now! Don't procrastinate, get to organizing your life and you too will make it in the business world! :)