The far less enigmatic Chloë Sevigny also has a line at Opening Ceremony, which relies heavily on Liberty of London flower prints and has an appealing naughty schoolgirl quality only partially sunk by the prices—a printed blouse composed of two different prints and featuring a peplum is a depressing $450. Then again, a canvas bag with Sevigny's name printed in a variety of Crayola colors is only $30, and with every indication that plastic supermarket bags will be banned any time now (happy Earth Day!), this might be a judicious purchase. (Fake versions of Anya Hindmarch's popular "I Am Not a Plastic Bag" canvas totes are available a half a block away on Canal Street.)
My last stop is the Gap, where the latest crop of white shirts designed by finalists in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund contest has just arrived. Last year's efforts included shirts by Rodarte, which probably seemed like a good idea but which frankly failed to dazzle in person. (Guess the Rodarte sisters are just better at designing $10,000 Degas ballerina gowns than $50 button-downs.) This year, threeASFOUR are among the winners, and since these are old friends of mine, I decide to phone them up and find out what it was like for a trio of bohemians, who for years lived together in a silver spray-painted loft and supposedly all slept in the same bed, to work with the Gap.
"It was a dream come true," threeASFOUR's Angela Donhauser, who is originally from Tajikistan, tells me. "It was an honor, like we had finally arrived in America." (The other two members of the group are from Lebanon and Israel.) The Gap imposed only two rules: It had to be white, and it had to be cotton—well, really three rules, since it was supposed to be a shirt.
"We gave them maybe 10 sketches, and they picked two," Angela says. As it turned out, neither garment is, strictly speaking, a shirt: There's a camisole with Jack Spratt shoulder straps—one fat and one thin—and a simple smock dress that I wish was bigger, but Angela thinks even a pregnant girl could wear. Though both garments have the team's trademark curvilinear seams, Angela lets me in on a secret: Contrary to threeASFOUR's usual designs, the Gap insisted that the clothes have side seams.
"We had to close our eyes, " she sighs. "The factory in China couldn't comprehend a garment with no side seams. It was a little compromise—but the clothes are still very us."