Category Archives: New York

FOURTH FLOOR WALK UP HAS MOVED!

Please visit us @ www.fourthfloorwalkup.com and enjoy!

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Patrician or Poseur: How about neither?

I read an interesting article last week in my company’s newsletter.  Forbes.com published a Business Wire press release about how consumers are looking at luxury and designer brands in a different light these days.  The concept that  Sporting “Loud” Designer Logos Can Communicate Unintended Messages may be new to some when they decide to make that purchase on their new luxury handbag. 

The logo on your designer handbag or sports car may say far more about your social status and social aspirations than the brand name itself, according to a new study from the USC Marshall School of Business, which finds that luxury brands charge more for “quieter” items with subtle logo placement and discreet appeal. 

“Signaling Status with Luxury Goods: The Role of Brand Prominence”, a study published in the July issue of the Journal of Marketing and co-authored by USC Marshall School of Business doctoral student Young Jee Han and Joseph Nunes, associate professor of marketing at USC Marshall; with Xavier Dreze, associate professor of marketing at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, points to consumers who may not realize that shrieking designer logos actually reflect a lower price point than more subtle counterparts. Were our mothers right? Is less actually more?  

According to Nunes, “A significant segment of the population does not want to be branded, preferring to be understated and is willing to pay a premium to have ‘quiet’ goods without a brand mark.” 

Get this, the study identified four luxury-good consumer species, according to their preference for “loud” goods with prominently placed brand logos versus “quiet” goods, perhaps the little black dress equivalent of subtle status:
 

For the study, authors examined three categories of luxury goods — designer handbags, high-end vehicles and men’s shoes — with field experiments to survey consumers in a selection of Southern California shopping malls chosen for their demographics. These surveys were employed alongside an analysis of market data (including counterfeit goods) to reach the authors’ conclusions on status signaling. 

As I find these results to be pretty interesting, I’d like to use the example of handbags as well, by presenting these categories through women we may all know.  The categories are as follows: 

 

  • Patricians: “Wealthy consumers low in need for status” who “pay a premium for quiet goods, products that only their fellow patricians can recognize”


Great example of a Patrician: French First Lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy 

 

  • Parvenus: “Wealthy consumers high in need for status who use loud luxury goods to signal to the less affluent that they are not one of them”

Kim Kardashian, need I say more? 

 

  • Poseurs, who lack the financial means to buy luxury goods, yet are highly motivated to buy counterfeit items to “emulate those who they recognize to be wealthy” (i.e., parvenus)

I have to say, I hate it when I see people on the street wearing fakes! In my opinion it’s so trashy.  This article is dead on because, when you see a person walking down the street with jeans from Conway, a shirt from Rainbow and a pair of Old Navy flip flops with a G-oach-i (that’s coach and gucci put together) bag. You know for sure that they’re bag is fake. Even if it was a good knock-off, the rest of the outfit speaks for itself.  If you can’t afford the bag, then you can’t afford it.  Save up, decide if its really worth the money, or find another brand that suits your income and rock that, but please don’t try to pretend! Or you’ll just be classified as a POSEUR. Photo pulled from MailOnline.com 

 

  • Proletarians, those with no drive for consumption

Now a photo of a Proletarian with a handbag was really hard to find, especially since handbags are a materialistic items in the first place. So I grabbed this one of Reese Witherspoon with the Whole Foods Feed Bag, where the profits from each bag are supposed to feed one impoverished child for a whole year.  I find it ironic though, how Whole Foods managed to turn something so useful and eco-friendly, like a reusable grocery bag into an object that is highly emotional necessity.  What I’m referring to is the “I’m not a Plastic Bag” designed by Anya Hindmarch. The bags were sold out in 29 mins (!) in Columbus Circle the day that they were released and later were selling for hundreds of dollars on Ebay. The worst part is that there were even knock offs of those bags! 

FINDINGS from the article. 

The study’s key findings include: 

— Luxury brands charge more for “quieter” items with subtle logo placement and size that appeal to patricians. The authors find that a price disparity of several hundred dollars can be based solely on how prominently marketers display the brand on a purse. 

— Counterfeiters predominantly copy the lower-priced, louder luxury goods, which appeal to the non-patrician status-seekers and rarely copy the higher-priced, subtle items. 

— Patricians were more apt to accurately rank the value of a luxury handbag. In contrast, non-patricians consistently ranked flamboyant bags as having higher value than the discreet bags that lacked the brand name but were priced higher. 

— Patricians were the least likely of the four groups to buy a flashy item, such as a handbag, while the parvenus and the poseurs were more likely to prefer it. Meanwhile, poseurs expressed a significantly greater intent to purchase a counterfeit bag than parvenus. 

For consumers, the study’s authors note the following irony: “While many parvenus believe they are saying to the world that they are not have-nots, in reality, they may also be signaling to the patricians, the group they want to associate with, that they are not one of them.” 

IMPLICATIONS FOR MARKETERS 

Based on their research, the authors recommend the following to managers in the luxury-good category: 

1. Develop a set of special signatures, or subtle cues, to distinguish the brand. For example, the authors cite Gucci’s use of bamboo on its products that says “Gucci” without employing a logo. Patricians recognize the signal, while non-patricians do not. 

2. Don’t make a brand ubiquitous. A luxury-goods manufacturer should resist the urge to popularize its trademark. If too many people sport the brand’s logo, the mark loses its value. Bottega Veneta is an example at one extreme, the authors say, with the logo appearing only on the inside of its products. 

3. Consider advertising to all consumers, not just the target market. For brands that appeal to everybody, the message must be aspirational not functional. 

4. Reassess the “pyramid” approach to luxury. Appealing to the creme de la creme to also lure less-sophisticated consumers doesn’t always work. 

For a copy of the study, please contact media relations at Marshall School of Business at amyblume@marshall.usc.edu. 

SOURCE: USC Marshall School of Business 

 

Now the question I find myself asking is, what if you’re non of these?  I know I’m not a Patrician, and I’m not running out to buy bags with exceptionally large logos to show off, nor am I buying knock-offs; but I’m definitely not a Proletarian, because I love shopping.  Is there a word for people who have taste and live on a lower budget? I know a lot of those! 

 

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A Tiny Retreat

I absolutely love this little cottage in the woods!!! The New York Times featured it on Thursday in the Home and Garden section. [here] I would love to even have a place as little as this for an escape from the city.

I’ve always dreamed of having a beautifully decorated tree house in the woods.  I remember when I was young my neighbor had a tree house.  It was always our meeting point where he and I would map out the days events of tree climbing, hiking, bike riding and whatever else we could conjure up.  After I became a teenager and Ryan moved away, my tree house became the canopy bed past down from my mother.  The feeling of having an enclosed retreat always seemed to fulfill my nesting needs.  When I first moved to Brooklyn, I bunked with 4 other roommates in a built-up a loft apartment.  The space was about 1,000 sq. ft broken up into 6 different living spaces and my bedroom was 8ft by 8ft.  It was tiny!  But so cozy.  My father built me a lofted bed where underneath I could store my clothes and above I could nestle into my bed.  I guess that’s why living in a 450 sq. ft apartment now feels like the plenty of room.  Seeing the little cottage reminded me of the piece Domino did a few years back.

I searched through my archives for it, and couldn’t find that issue. (I hope I have it somewhere) but luckily other bloggers have written about Linda Aldredge’s woodsy escape (Thanks Spirit Cloth).  This tree house if I can remember correctly, the Aldredge’s built themselves.  The eco-friendly house also runs on its own, as they added solar panels on the roof.  Doesn’t this place seem like a wonderful getaway!

Tree houses have really been on my mind lately, I think it’s because I am reading the novel Loving Frank by Nancy Horan.  It’s a fictionalized story about Mamah Borthwick’s love affair with Frank Loyd Wright.  Although I heard stories about how he was stubborn and in some cases a bit of a tyrant about his designs, this book brings a lighter note to his personality.  His love of nature and organic architecture really wasn’t such an abstract concept,  I think everyone wants to live in a home that brings in the outside in.  Even in Manhattan, having a place with natural light is a high priority. I’m so thankful of how where I live, we can hear the birds in the morning.  Sometimes, we’ll even have the occasional mourning dove visitor on our fire escape.

NYT photo credits: Trevor Tondro – Tree house: if anyone knows the photographer, please tell me. I can’t find the name on the blogs that posted the pictures.

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Chairs

I frickin love chairs. I love all styles and sizes and colors and yada yada yada. When we were in Paris we went to Le Museé des Arts Decoratifs and there was a wall of chairs. I died. A little.

More eye candy. . . from Dior’s Couture showroom

Flea market finds in Paris


Chairs posted on Apartment Therapy from the post: Old-World STyle: Prints, Patterns & Accessories

and this one from the post: Chair with Bold Prints and Bold Colors

This one from my mom’s house

these which I’d love to get tattooed on my side . . . yes, I said that.

Lastly, I came across this post on the New York Social Diary about Kayel De Angelis. Who’s family for generations has owned a high-end custom curtain and furniture firm in New York.  “Over the years, the firm has earned a loyal following of respected decorators including the likes of Albert Hadley, Mark Hampton and Peter Marin.”- NYSD

Can you imagine having free range of all this furniture. I would love to just visit someday. It’s actually beautiful being able to look at all those pieces covered in white fabric, left to be appreciated for their lines and structure.  The last image is a pair of finished fauteuils for Albert Hadley. Yum!  Photographs by Jeffery Hirsh

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A Sport of Kings . . . . and princes and fashion models.

A few weekends ago my boyfriend and I went to the Veuve Cliquot Polo Classic on Governor’s Island, in NYC.  Even though it was unbearably hot and I was a part of the 8,000 +  visitors who didn’t get the free champagne, I had a great time.  A horse girl at heart, I will take advantage of any opportunity to be in the presence of horses; even if that means standing in the baking sun with a less than happy boyfriend for a few hours.  Luckily I was able to park the said boyfriend in the shade with his book and took to the side lines to catch the game as well as a few great pictures!

Everyone was dressed to impress with sun dresses and hats (some over-the-top). Others were head-to-toe in seersucker suits and ‘Veuve’ yellow.

The biggest draw of the event was getting the chance to see Prince Harry and Nacho Figueras (Ralph Lauren model) ride.  As many have heard, Prince Harry fell off his mount, I was fortunate in getting a some pictures of the tumble.
After this event I felt compelled to pull together an outdoor dining space that would be inspired by my experience.  Although I don’t have a yard of my own, I think these finds would make for a great casual outdoor dining area.  The main color story of black, white and yellow pull the space together, while the small accents of the seersucker prints, sun hat textures, and equestrian motifs add character to the space.  Maybe someday I can actually create a space using these elements, but for now I’ll just have to use my imagination.
Info on Collage Images: From Clockwise, Photograph taken from the Time Out NY “Own This City” blog.  Veuve Cliquot bucket, Umbrella – Target.  Garden screens & planters – Ballard Designs.  Straw Hat – Urban Outfitters.  Sisal Rug – Pottery Barn.  Dining Set – Pottery Barn.  Dinnerware – Bloomingdales. Fabrics – Calico Corners. Pillow – Williams-Sonoma Home.
Above photographs and collages by Lauren Gries, all rights reserved.

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Great Finds: French Ticking

Who doesn’t like a great unexpected find?  Yesterday I went to Anthropologie to return a few things and stumbled upon a lovely quilt.  It was on sale from $348 to $169. Now $169 is still a little high for my price range but I have looked for a quilt for a while that has the french ticking like fabric.


Although the recorded history of ticking fabric is slim, I found a little about the specifics of ticking. Vintage ticking was used to hold the feathers of old mattresses and pillows. It was important to individuals who slept on feather mattresses and pillows that the feathers did not poke them through the fabric.  It was also important to keep as many feathers in the mattresses and pillows as possible. The very tight woven vintage ticking provided both qualities.  True vintage ticking was woven with natural cotton colored thread and thread died with indigo blue dye. Original ticking was sold only with indigo blue stripes. As time progressed, different colors and patterns were developed and sold. Ticking was also made with washed-out red, blue and green stripes.  You can find a little more information about ticking fabric [here].

Previously when I was searching for bedding options I found fabric by the yard at Ballard Designs and that Restoration Hardware carries a line of bedding that has similar kinds of fabrics, but its $$$$.  If I didn’t have a million other projects going on I would toy with the idea of making my own quilts.  The Anthro quilt however, provided me with instant gratification! What I like best about the quilt is that it is reversible, with one side being a little bolder and darker than the other.  I put the quilt on my bed last night and decided that the less busy side works best for summer, because it has an airy feel to it.

The  quilt is also styled with an iron bed that is very similar to the bed frame that I purchased recently on a trip to Connecticut.  As past posts [here] have shown, I have a love affair with the Louis XV style bed.  Ballard Designs sells one, but with the cost of shipping and taxes the total would come to around $1100!  Unfortunately my post-grad/not yet full-time employee budget cannot afford that.

The bed I purchased was $345.00!  It has a French Industrial look partnered with the Louis lines and caning, that adds some charm.  My mother calls it tenement style, I like to call it French Utilitarian Chic!  But of course with a price like that, the bed still needs some work.  I really dislike the current color and faux finishing, however with a little paint the hidden charm will come to life.

I’ll have to post before and after images when I am finished with the painting!  In the future I want to go into detail about the store Preservation, where I purchased my bed.  It’s a great find in the quiet corner of Connecticut and definitely worth the trip.

photos:

Anthropologie

Ballard Designs

Lauren Gries

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Must do: Visit Ace Hotel – Drink Stumptown Coffee

Just last month my boyfriend discovered in the Garment District (29th and Broadway) that there is a Stumptown coffee shop!  We were both very excited as we were introduced to the magnificence that is Stumptown coffee on our last vacation to the Seattle and Portland area.  In Seattle there has been a battle between Stumptown and Starbucks and I think everyone agrees that Stumptown takes the cake.  It’s always roasted locally and it’s always delicious. . . not burnt like the other stuff.  The Stumptown in Manhattan is also locally roasted, (of course) in Red Hook Brooklyn.  I guess they have been open for over a year now, but I’m hardly ever in that nook of town so without having previous knowledge of the company I may have never even found it.

The coffee shop is located inside of the grand Ace Hotel and coffee customers are more than welcome to hang out in the hotel’s lobby as there are no seats in the shop.

The other real gem about this find is the architecture and interior design of both the hotel and the coffee shop.  when you turn the corner from Broadway  on to 29th street, you feel as though you’re walking into a completely different neighborhood in another era.  On the north-side of the street is one of the last Second empire, cast iron buildings left mostly in tact in NYC and on the south-side is the beautiful (I think restored), Breslin Apartments building that is the sight of the Hotel.

I have to step back and take a moment to discuss the cast iron building, the landmarked Gilsey House is a former grand hotel (1872-1911), the first to offer telephone service to guests. It was noted for its bar made of silver dollars, and was a favorite of Diamond Jim Brady and Oscar Wilde. Converted to housing in 1979 it’s still a beautiful sight to see.

As I was saying before though, the Ace Hotel is by this amazing poser design couple/duo that is Roman & Williams. They are so inspiring and talented it makes my heart bleed when I look at their work sometimes. I know that sounds really dramatic but, seriously look at that rendering!

The design of the place is so successful, because my first experience was great, not only because of the taste of Stumptown coffee, but also because the building’s atmosphere and environment.  Standing in that coffee shop I felt as though I was transported back to Portland.

The other night while visiting my brother, his partner was showing me inspiration images for the shelving unit that they’re planning on building.  I thought the images looked very familiar and when I began telling them about Stumptown, and the decor I had to show them a picture of a light fixture that I had snapped on my phone. Well lo and behold, the inspiration images were pulled straight out of the Ace Hotel!  To make a long story short, you must try to visit this place when you’re in the city. It’s just so beautiful and inspiring, and tasty.

{The infamous light fixture}

I also found this video about Roman & Williams on their website.  It was shot by “The Scout” for some reason I can’t embed it into my post, but the images and what the designers have to say is wonderful and entirely worth the ten minutes to watch. So please check it out. Here is a quote from The Scout about the video:

‘”It’s a shame to only have dreams at night. You should have a few opportunities during the day.” This wistful quote from Stephen Alesch speaks volumes about the spaces he and Robin Standefer create as architects and designers. Their firm Roman & Williams, is named for their grandparents, paying homage to another era. Together, they draw on the evocative moods, textures, and meaningful objects that linger somewhere between past and present. Their work is infused with memory and allows participants to connect with a more romantic and important time.’

Along with the video, the can catch the studio visit here: The Scout- Roman & Williams Studio Visit

Video Link

Websites:

Roman & Williams

ACE HOTEL

NY times article about Stumptown

Photos via:

The Architects Newspaper – Douglas Lyle Thompson

NY Architecture Images site

Flickr, Man Seeking Coffee, and Hotel Chatter.

favorite sweets

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