JCR: You are aware that such a unique lineup of brands is unprecedented in a New York store, why now for New Yorkers to get into Andrew MacKenzie and the other designers?
KB: New York is always ready for new things. I think now is the right time for something like this because the store I’m opening is different from all the other stores in New York. The architecture and the ambiance are very different. And my idea is to sell clothes as if they were jewelry; in fact the clothes are held and sold from jewelry-like cases.
JCR: So the difference lies in the presentation of these brands?
JCR: The store’s interior is also described as a jewel box, explain.
KB: To go around and express yourself you have to feel comfortable in what you’re wearing. Not just in a t-shirt but with something that can really represent you and for women jewelry is everything — something that you add on. But you don’t have to add too much if you have the right clothes on which explains the idea of stepping into a jewel box to shop.
JCR: How has all the current activity in the Meatpacking district influenced your decision to open the store?
KB: Since this is a store with a new idea and the Meatpacking district is the new area in New York, it makes sense.
JCR: The area definitely has buzz but what does your market research say about the business?
KB: I think the customer I’m looking for, the people who want a new adventure, are shopping there and now my store will be there, too.
JCR: Can you give a sketch of the expected clientele?
KB: Men and women between 20 and 55 who like clothes very much and want to be unique.
JCR: You’ve said that people on the streets should not all look alike. B8 Couture will assist by limiting the quantities of a given item for sale, is that so?
KB: Yes. The store will only carry one item per size so it’ll be rare to see another person wearing the same thing.
JCR: Explain the name B8 Couture, sometimes the use of the word couture makes me wince.
KB: B is for Bellil, my last name. And 8 is the number of members in my family including my brothers, sisters, and parents.
JCR: And couture?
KB: In fashion for me couture represents excellence.
JCR: Shoes are also a focus in the store, how big a focus?
KB: A third of the merchandise will comprise of shoes. And they’ll be in the center of the store while the men’s and women’s collections will be on opposite sides.
JCR: You’re a lover of fashion but you’re from a banking background, are you prepared for the dicey fashion world?
KB: Totally ready.
JCR: Even after hearing the horror stories?
JCR: What labels not set to debut in the store would you like to add?
KB: There’s Dsquared who wanted to come but since Jeffrey has it, it was impossible. Let’s see after the store opens. Also Dries Van Noten.
Photos: B8 Couture interior
John Richmond men s/s ’05
John Richmond women s/s ’05
Andrew MacKenzie s/s ’05
Marcel Marongiu women s/s ’05
Marcel Marongiu men s/s ’05