Haughty Couture

For the man who has everything, Tom Ford's new store offers umbrellas dipped in gold

Infantile and sticky as their aesthetic may be, it comes as rather a relief after Ford's mausoleum. Instead of an interior that relies heavily on ebony and marble, the walls here are—no surprise—pink, and everything is out in the open, which means you can immediately finger the price tags. If Tom's store is intended to remind you of a decadent hotel suite, the Juicy Couture shop is like a game of Candyland, with crystal-ball finials decorating the curving staircase. (Tom has a staircase too, with a sign in front that reads "By appointment only" and makes you wonder, with a shudder, what that appointment might entail.)

Slogans on the Juicy walls, rendered in kindergarten colors, include "Smells Like Couture" and "Juicy Kisses." This juicy business, faintly repulsive to begin with, is repeated ad nauseam on everything from underpants ("Girls Gone Juicy") to tote bags ("Juicy Girls Club") and even a bed for dogs ("For Juicy Dogs Who Like Stuff Love G&P"). Still, it's hard to be mad at a place that has cotton summer dresses, albeit in pink, for $168, which on this stretch of Madison Avenue is the equivalent of $16.80.

But it makes you wonder: In 2007, are these competing sexual fantasies our only alternatives? Tom Ford wants us to go back to a time when depravity wore a smoking jacket and velvet evening slippers; Juicy Couture thinks we should dress like giant six-year-olds, and sport a wristwatch that reads "Live for Sugar."

But an overdose of saccharine can make you just as sick as an art-deco evening scarf choking off your windpipe.

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