When Patricia Field shops, she likes to be surprised. "I don't want to go into a store and know what I'm going to see," the 74-year-old costume designer told Racked yesterday afternoon. That's an idea that she's carried into her holiday bazaar that's now open within Dover Street Market. "I'm here to entertain my customers so they never know what to expect. They're going to find something for $10, and they're going to find something for $1,500. I wanted my shop here to represent my [Bowery street retail presence]. I didn't want to just bring my expensive pieces — I wanted to mix in accessible stocking stuffers."
When the glass elevator opens up to Field's shop-in-shop on the fourth floor, you'll experience a mild sensory overload. It's like being a kid in a fashion candy store, where $15 undershirts that have been cut into crop tops sit next to Vogue snapback hats (there's both an English and Japanese version) for $45 and wearable pieces of art by Scooter LaForge, the latter of which are Field's favorites in the shop. "He's an artist, but he's not an artist from Mars," she explained.
"I love to stand on my floor, talk with my customers, and let me give them their love."
Still, that's not enough to make her stay. "The timing is right [to close] Bowery," she continued. "I feel like I've been watching the Bowery change since I bought my first property. I watched what was going on in the early 2000s, and was like, 'I'm going to move my store here because this street is hopping.' Fast forward ten years or whatever, and there's all this really high-status luxury."
Her DSM debut coincides with the announcement that the namesake Bowery boutique she's emulating here will shutter in the spring, marking the end to her 50-year retail run in New York City. "I love to be in my store. What I'm going to miss the most is listening to my customers tell me that they love coming in, and that there is no other store like it," Field lamented. "I love to stand on my floor, talk with my customers, and let me give them their love."
But the street's newfound image — and the soaring costs that typically come along with it — have nothing to do with the store's end. "It's not financial," she reiterated of her decision to close, a phrase that not many independent business owners can say these days. "I'm okay, financially. It's mainly to free myself creatively. And lately, my social life has gone down the drain. I haven't gotten to the gym to swim anymore. I sleep and I work — I have to change that. It's not good for me."
"I'm okay, financially. It's mainly to free myself creatively".
In short, she wants her life back. "My store increasingly sucked up my time more and more. And it's my store so I had to be there, but to the detriment of other things that I wanted to do. I'm wearing myself out...I want to do other things besides be chained to one thing that sucks up all of my time." Her first order of business? A film project she's working on with a good friend that's been put off for years.
She's pushing to close the boutique in April because it's such a big job to liquidate everything, but that's not the last we'll see of the woman who put Carrie Bradshaw in her trademark nameplate necklace in the retail scene: Field is set to open to more collaborations with Dover Street Market, and there's chatter of an art installation at the W Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. She's also definitely interested in doing a standalone pop-up shop.
Her Dover Street Market installation will be up through December 28th.