Sadie Stein lets us know that, after selling hand-made, vintage-style clothes in the East Village for 28 years, the D.L. Cerney boutique is leaving 7th Street.
D.L. Cerney site
I talked with co-owner Linda St. John about the closure. She said it's not about rent, it's just about time. She wants to get out of town for awhile and focus on her art and writing, as well as her farming upstate. She hopes to come back to the city, but not to the East Village.
"Back in the 1980s and into the 90s," she said, "this whole neighborhood was just filled with creative people. Now, nobody's left. The way Rudy cleaned up the neighborhood was awesome, but now it's too clean. When did those French bistros end up on Avenue D?"
She said that people don't spend money on hand-made clothes anymore, they want to buy "junk" from the chain boutiques. "It's psychological propaganda. People are told to shop there, so they do. I've seen people come in here wearing these low-waisted, pleated pedal pushers, and they look so dumpy, I mean, in these pleated, slob-making pants. But that's what's in style, so that's what they buy."
Clothes in the 1940s and 50s, she explained, were made to flatter the body. Anyone can look good in the right clothes. "Let me show you a constructed garment," she said, pulling out a lovely dress with a Chinese lantern plant pattern, orange on blue. She showed how the stitching in the sleeves was made to flex, "So you can dance and not worry about tearing a seam." It was the sort of dress you could imagine Kim Novak wearing in Picnic, all innocent Kansas girl, but steaming for Bill Holden underneath.
The shop will be open through November, and they'll be running a big sale until the end. Women's dresses and blouses are 50% off and menswear is 25% off.
If D.L. Cerney does come back one day, it might turn up in Chelsea, where Linda dreams of "2,000 square feet of space, with a white picket fence and bales of hay right up front."