BOSTON (CBS) – Something is a buzz in Boston; it’s electric and exciting and has nothing to do with the Red Sox, the Bruins or anything involving pushing and shoving. Let’s first get out of the way three areas where Boston has routinely excelled:
This year, with the Bruins winning the Stanley Cup, all 4 Boston teams have won a world championship within 10 years. Unprecedented. And sure, everyone knows the first genome was spliced at MIT, but did you know Technicolor was invented there, too? If it wasn’t for us Dorothy might have had a very lame rainbow to go over, indeed.
And then there’s music; besides the obvious: Steven Tyler (that unlikely darling of middle Americas airwaves), NKOTB, etc. and Boston’s thriving, won’t-let-up, ‘band scene’ rivals that of any city in the world.
But when it comes to fashion and style, let’s be honest, Boston has never competed in a meaningful way with cosmopolitan cities like LA, NYC, London or Paris. That is, until now.
Louis Boston‘s risky opening in an off-the-beaten-track area of the waterfront indicated their confidence that Bostonians are willing to travel for style. And their cutting-edge store design rivals that of any East London boutique. I applaud them for their courage and believe this kind of independent-minded confidence among retailers is precisely what’s propelling Boston forward.
Then there’s James Perse and Goorin Bros, two examples of west coast brands with a passionate, global, fashionista following who are banking on Boston to get it, too. In fact, Goorin, who opened on Newbury Street in January is expanding to NYC next year, but chose our city first!
I grew up in JP and then spent the better part of 15 years living between NYC (mostly), London, Paris and Florence. Before I left town TGI Friday’s was considered ‘the cool place’ to hang out. Nothing against Friday’s, but after living in various cosmopolitan cities my idea of ‘what’s cool’ changed profoundly. I’m home now and it’s gratifying to see Boston’s idea of ‘what’s cool’ has changed, too.
Drink, Sportello, The Beehive and Vee Vee make my heart race. But there are so many less obvious choices, too in every ethnic variety and in every neighborhood, including unlikely places like Roslindale (Rossie) Square, which has great spots like Delfinos, Sophia’s Grotto and Birch Street Bistro.
Vogue Magazine threw the first annual “Fashion’s Night Out” two years ago, an event that kicked off fashion week and mobilizes participating retailers to hold events and sales around New York City. The following year, cities around the world threw their own FNO, though LA was the only American city to hold FNO officially with Vogue.
This year, Boston is working officially with Vogue to bring FNO here.
The event Producer, Richard Villani, of Villani Productions is a former Vogue and Vanity Fair editor who also happens to be a Brighton native. I asked Richard why he moved back to Boston after achieving such success with the greatest style publisher in the world. “I’d been sensing Boston was changing for a while,” he told me. “The energy was different, but I think when Barneys opened in Copley Place it really clinched it for me and I knew I wanted to come back and be part of Boston competing on a global level with NYC and LA. And here I am!”
Do you feel the change in Boston? How? Let me know your feelings in the comments.