So Long, Bloomingdale’s: A Man of Style Strikes Out on His Own

New York Times
Feb. 3, 2016
By

 

The gentleman in the vintage Japanese noragi work shirt and unstructured pinstriped suit, the one likely to be ringed with Mongolian prayer beads, is attracting attention, again.

Walk beside him on the way out of one of the many fashion shows he attends and you can expect to be blinded by camera flashes. Though he is somewhat bashful about it, he is a hero to many of those who follow men’s wear. There is even a Pinterest board in his honor: “Gods of Menswear 4: Josh Peskowitz.”

Those looking to make themselves in their god’s image will soon have a place to do so. Mr. Peskowitz, 36, who has spent the last several years as the men’s fashion director of Bloomingdale’s, is striking out on his own.

In March, he and two partners — Christophe Desmaison and Simon Golby, of the fashion showroom CD Network — will open their own men’s store, Magasin, in Culver City, Calif. So Mr. Peskowitz took in the men’s wear shows in Europe in January and in New York this week with a new goal: to stock his shop without deference to anyone’s opinion but his own.

“I’m putting myself on the line,” he said. “This is me.”

Magasin will be part of Platform, a new hub of shops, restaurants and offices a stone’s throw from Beverly Hills. (“We’re kind of allergic to the word ‘mall,’” said Joseph Miller, one of its developers.) Though Mr. Peskowitz is a native New Yorker — born in Brooklyn, though raised in part in Washington, D.C. — and a regular on “Most Stylish New Yorkers” lists, the opportunity was too good to resist.

When it opens, Magasin (French for “store,” and a near-cognate with “magazine,” a confusion Mr. Peskowitz said he enjoyed) will carry mostly small-bore Japanese and Italian labels: Ts(s), Engineered Garments and Camoshita from Japan and Massimo Alba and Salvatore Piccolo from Italy, along with shoes by O’Keeffe and Feit. More to the point, all the brands will be styled and stocked together, rather than cordoned off by individual label.

Mr. Peskowitz’s style is all about an unlikely but considered mix — “things that are tailored and things that are more vintage-looking, things that are hippie-dippie-looking and things that are more elegant,” he said — bred of magpie experience.

Before Bloomingdale’s, Mr. Peskowitz tried his hand at e-commerce with Gilt Groupe; before that, as a fashion editor at magazines as unalike as The Fader, Vibe and Esquire. (Disclosure: Mr. Peskowitz and I worked together at Men.Style.com, a website owned by Condé Nast that has since been shuttered.)

“There’s a reason he’s so popular among street-style photographers,” said Will Welch, the newly named editor of GQ Style, who has known Mr. Peskowitz since they began their careers at The Fader more than a decade ago. “He really tries new ideas, both in the various jobs he’s had and on his actual person, the way he gets dressed.”

Mr. Peskowitz offered his own distillation of his new idea: “It’s clothes for grown-up weirdos,” he said of the vision for the store. “Or grown-up clothes for weirdos?”

Weirdo style tends to proliferate in the pages of magazines, where stylists (like Mr. Peskowitz was) can focus on creating a look or a mood in a photograph, free from commercial constraints or the constrictions of reality.

Translating those visions into actual sales is the job of retailers, and one reason the most esoteric pieces seen on fashion-week runways and magazine photo shoots often don’t find their way to store shelves. Grown-up ones do.

Mr. Peskowitz has been on both sides of this divide. He believes that men still need to wear tailored jackets (even in perma-casual Los Angeles) but also that they are brave enough to venture beyond the black-and-navy palette that stores often stock.

“There’s room to expand the horizons,” he said. “I’m not talking about going ‘Joseph and the Technicolor Dreamcoat,’ although we did buy a couple of those.”