Downtown boutique Baby & Co. opened its doors to after-(store)-hours revelers of sophistication and taste to partake in Scotch, charcuterie and the launch of a few new products. Baby and Company has operated since the late ’70s as an epicenter of high quality fashion with a focus on up-and-coming designers and a desire to never settle for the status quo. This is, after all, a store that brought avant-garde powerhouses such as Kenzo and Yohji Yamamoto to American shores in the ’80s when the rest of the world was content with taking cues from Paris.
The ever gracious owner, Jill Donnelly, walked me through a well curated selection of approachable menswear. This is not (for men at least) a store for fashion as art, but rather fashion as function. This is the store for the fashion shy men of Seattle to dip their toes in. Focus is on fit, construction and wearability and not the boundary and genre pushing world of runway shows that can leave the “geek not chic” men of Seattle bemused. Every men’s piece in the store could fit into the average man’s wardrobe and elevate his style without being ostentatious. Brands such as Jean Shop—whose luxurious selvedge denim and heritage construction and style with a modern fit—and Avant Toi—whose thin and soft t-shirts with delicate and well worn looking dyes—prove that basics can be anything but.
The standout piece from the spring/summer collection for me was a charcoal gray v-neck sweater from German designer Hannes Roether that is roughly textured on the outside, but supremely comfortable on the inside. The focus of the party, however, was not on the clothing (although a generous 15 percent discount was being offered) Attention was directed to the latest additions to the store’s accessory selection. While tasting my way through Scotland, I perused leather tech-focused accessories, and eyeglasses made from vinyl records. These are a nice addition to the store, and though men are a hard sale when it comes to accessories, a tech-focused accessory is a good candidate for breaking down that barrier.
Horn Leather offers uncomplicated and expertly crafted leather products to carry Apple devices. I can’t be the only one who eschews Apple products, and I would love to see some of these for other devices. High-quality leathers are available in a variety of shades, and, as with all high-quality leather products, they will only get better and more personal with age as the unique wearing of it embellishes the clean and simple design. That design will also allow for the carriers and pouches to be used in new ways in the future, as they will certainly outlive the devices for which they are intended.
The other new-to-the-store designer on showcase was San Diego based SpexWax. SpexWax uses unplayable vinyl records to create glasses frames. Fashion has always been heavily influenced by rock-and-roll, so it is only natural to use rock-and-roll relics to create fashion. While these may be a bit “out there” for everyday wear, they certainly add a spark of intrigue and rebellion to any outfit. The frames would especially pair well with the subdued outfits that one could create from Baby & Co’s stock to create an outfit of subtle intrigue that is topped off with an in-your-face explosion of personality.
I would be remiss to discuss the evening without any mention of the food or drink. Five carefully curated bottles of Scotch were poured by the gracious and knowledgeable Jessica Tousignant, and Dot’s Charcuterie and Bistrot filled our stomachs with locally made and exquisitely delicious cured meats. Baby & Co. can throw a party as well as they can curate a collection of clothing and accessories.
Baby and Co. is at 1936 1st Ave in Downtown Seattle.