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Much has been made of the new Ivanka Trump store opening in Trump Tower this afternoon, as it’s the brand’s second-ever brick-and-mortar space (the fine jewelry boutique has since closed) as well as an attempt to reach customers directly after a handful of stockists dropped the label from their inventories earlier this year.
After Nordstrom decided to stop carrying the Ivanka Trump collection in February — which the department store said was due to low sales, not Ivanka Trump’s relation to the controversial president — Donald Trump tweeted that his daughter was treated “so unfairly,” and accused Nordstrom of caving to the pressures of the “Grab Your Wallet” boycott that called on shoppers to stop buying all Trump family brands. At the time the tweet had been posted, Ivanka Trump had already stepped away from her eponymous label, and Abigail Klem had succeeded her as CEO.
So the new Ivanka Trump store inside Trump Tower isn’t a store at all, just a display wall. Literally just a wall with bags. The whole space is like 6 ft deep pic.twitter.com/XDDXuOl1TE
— Sam Reed (@HereReedThis) December 14, 2017
Then, in August, a millennial pink wall covered in cherry blossom florals reading “Ivanka Trump Opening Fall 2017” was erected just inside Trump Tower. We imagined a brightly lit space decked in faux marble and brass finishes and staffed with human pencil skirts that would usher customers toward the Ivanka Trump brand’s latest selection of stiletto heels, shift dresses and stiff handbags.
Hearing that the store was set to open on Thursday, I headed over to Trump Tower, eager to see just what lay behind that pink wall. I arrived a few minutes past 1:30 p.m., dutifully sending my crossbody bag through the TSA-style scanner and attempting to make small talk with any one of the multitude of security guards while fumbling with my coat and my phone and my pockets stuffed with gloves, all to be checked by men and women in bullet-proof vests. (Just the kind of environment you want when shopping.)
Once I cleared the station, I glanced toward where the signage had previously been located. There, just to the left of the massive Christmas tree, was a small powder pink dent in the wall, stacked floor-to-ceiling with glass shelving. On the left of the dinky space there was a single checkout desk, on the right a tall brass mirror, as if Trump Tower needed more reflective surfaces.
The space was not yet open, but an employee told me (over the chorus of Trump Tower’s Christmas carols) that the only merchandise for sale would be handbags, accessories and candles — the same goods that the company began selling direct-to-consumer online this summer. Essentially, souvenirs for Trump-supporting tourists whose style is more prim-and-proper than MAGA-chic.
Scanning left, right, up and down — I searched for a secret door, perhaps somewhere to keep inventory, or even a security alarm. Naively, I kept expecting one of the merchandisers to press a special lever and reveal that the wall was actually a cheap facade that would give way to the Ivanka Trump wonderland I had been expecting.
The space, about 6 feet deep and maybe 20 feet wide, was more nook than “boutique,” as the woman stocking the shelves outside explained it to me; like a mall kiosk that stops short by 180 degrees.
Though, sure, the small space might pass for a viable living quarters for a 20-something in Manhattan’s East Village, it was disappointing to find that after all that, the hyped Ivanka Trump store was just another tiny piece of New York real estate.
725 5th Ave, New York, NY 10022; IvankaTrump.com
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