Where the Well-Heeled Dress Down


A RECENT article on ArtThreat.net examined the Internet mini-sensation of the graffiti artist Banksy’s animation intro for “The Simpsons.” In the clip, Banksy lampoons the outsourcing of Simpsons animation cels to South Korea by showing the characters being drawn by candlelight in damp underground sweatshops. ArtThreat quoted Naomi Klein’s Twitter feed:
“I’ve seen Banksy’s Simpsons thing. It’s brilliant. Still, can’t help but despair at capitalism’s ability to absorb all critiques.”

Linda Holmes of NPR issued a similar lament:

“Has this bit led to more discussion of outsourcing and sweatshops, or more discussion of ‘The Simpsons’ and Banksy?”

Over the last 15 years, Brooklyn has gone from being a punch line on par with Siberia to being a place that Manhattanites will occasionally deign to travel to for dinner parties (with sufficient arm-twisting). The ritzier neighborhoods — Cobble Hill, Brooklyn Heights — have long been ready for infiltration by upscale retail establishments. Barneys New York sensed that Brooklyn was a natural fit for the “edgy sensibility” of the Barneys Co-Op chain, and now one exists on Atlantic Avenue, looking architectural and spacious and somewhat … inevitable.

The affable staff — primarily wispy, 20-something hipster boys with conked neo-rockabilly hair, jeggings, buffalo-plaid shirts and dainty little sneakers in silver or leopard print — tends to look like a skateboard team composed of the cast of “Glee.”

In approximating the Brooklyn vibe, Barneys has gone for items irresistible to the well-heeled young yoga-mom. The look, in a nutshell, is Isabel Marant-inspired, unisexy, faded urban wear: thick oversize sweaters; leggings in wool, denim or leather; and damaged-yet-durable plaids by all the toothsome brands that are unavoidable in trendier retail establishments — Opening Ceremony, Alexander Wang, Rag & Bone and various confusable three-letter outfits (A.P.C., A.L.C., NSF).


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