New York part 3 - Playtime.
The Playtime trade fair, established in France and Tokyo, debuted its New York version in Soho this year, and it was a thing of beauty!
During our first three days in the city, the temperatures were unseasonably cool and dry for the typically hot and muggy Manhattan island summer, and all of New York seemed to be out in the streets and green spaces, celebrating the unexpected good fortune.
Inside 82 Mercer, the Playtime space was a lovely oasis from the crowds, a handcrafted fairytale world looking out over the back streets of Soho through arched windows.
For Q, it was a goldmine of balloons, colorful pins, illustrated cards, balls and trinkets, since she was doted on by one and all from the moment we stepped out of the stainless steel elevator. Many thanks to the gracious Playtime staff for your kindness and generosity.
Decorated with surreal "Chinese portraits" of fairytales by French artist Tinou Le Jolie Senoville, the space was a marvel for a two-year-old girl to explore. Here, a mermaid's world.
Playtime's exhibitors, both European and American, were a beautifully-curated collection, each booth a little gem. Q was particularly enchanted by the whimsical leather shoes at Easy Peasy and the bright, colorful creations at Clemence G, where she collected a chestful of lovely pins.
For myself, I was mad about the flying storks and magical hand-stitched bird cages of Tamar Mogendorff, and the wooden "radios" and other marvelous objects at areaware. I was also glad to meet the people behind Atsuyo et Akiko, of whose upscale printed tees I'm a fan (we later stopped by ABC Carpet and Home to see some of their wares in the kids' department...yum!)
Jess Brown's wonderful and ubiquitous creations were used to great affect in the decor.
I think Q thought it was all a magical world created just for her, and no one saw fit to disabuse her of the notion!
Of course we spent a lot of time checking out next summer's collection at Le Vestiaire de Jeanne, which is as exquisite as are all of Charlotte's collections, and Q finally had the chance to meet the creator of all her wonderful dresses ("Xie xie," she said to Charlotte, since for some reason she finds it easier to say "thank you" in Chinese these days).
Making much of one of the many coveted balloons she received from the crew at Easy Peasy, who were bent on indulging her balloon addiction.
Guerilla street art in the 'hood.
Just down the street...Pearl Paint, mecca of my graduate school days. I resisted, but only because I had no extra room in my suitcase!
We discovered so many lovely new designs during our time at Playtime, including a brand new line from Brooklyn, Little Lief, whose simple cotton gauze and muslin rompers and raglan tops we adored, and the funky, rainforest-inspired collection at A for Apple. And can I mention how much we love the "small draw" postcards from the always-innovative Small Magazine, illustrated by Helen Acraman and Kristyna Litten?
I'll close with a page from VDJ's spring/summer '11 lookbook, because like everything she does, it's just so beautiful.
Bravo Playtime! This is what a trade fair should look like. Elegant, tasteful, creative and inspiring. It was a privilege to attend.