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Today's Critical Shopper is nominally about the Noho flagship of United Nude, the arty shoe label run by architect Rem Koolhaas's nephew, who is named Rem D. Koolhaas. But it's really a swan song for Cintra Wilson, who uses it to say goodbye to the column she's run for so long. If this sounds vaguely familiar, it's because Wilson has disappeared from the style section before. Last May, after several weeks without a Wilson dispatch, we checked with Times insiders and were told that the paper had decided that only staffers should write the column, which meant freelancers like Wilson were out. To the joy of her fans, she returned shortly thereafter, but now her departure sounds more permanent. Wilson writes:
It may sometimes seem that my critical approach to retail fashion has been to go in like Laurence Olivier in "Marathon Man" with a tray of power tools intent on performing involuntary dental surgery on designers while dementedly screaming, "Is it safe?!"
But I have been looking for generosity of vision. I ask clothes questions, like: Who are you for? What do you say about the person who wears you? Are you functional? Have you discovered an empowering, liberating new silhouette—like Christian Dior and Yves Saint Laurent so nobly did in their days—that calls forth strengths never before realized in the feminine character? Or are you bombing women back to the Goldwater era? Does this line help my life or hinder it? In short: Is it safe!?Her conclusion: United Nude is safe. In fact, it's "pretty thin gruel." The lighting makes it hard to see the colorful shoes; the salespeople are attractive but indifferent; and the "vegetan" leather line looks like—well, head to the column for the description, which is classic Cintra Wilson. We're going to miss her.
· A Safe Walk in the Dark [NYT]
· Confirmed: Cintra Wilson Says Goodbye to Critical Shopper [Racked NY]