Observations From the Opening of Joe Fresh Flagship, Hosted by Public Art Fund

The landmarked building at 510 Fifth Ave. (Courtesy Nicholas Strini/PropertyShark)

At the opening of the flagship store of Canadian retailer Joe Fresh on Fifth Avenue, hosted by Public Art Fund, I saw: five angular men making strong screwdrivers; dozens of women in orange dresses that went down just above the knees and puffed out at the bottom carrying trays with orange macarons and shrimp and bite-sized filet mignon; four cameramen with four slim female anchors holding microphones (ET Canada, ETalk, etc.); innumerable publicists; a man wearing a cape and ascot; two people having a conversation that went, “But how is she doing it legally?” “She’s not.”; a woman well into her 70s that everyone in the room wished was wearing a bra; an iconic sculpture by Harry Bertoia, made specifically for the building back in the 1950s when it was a bank, made of “800 separate forms placed in five different vertical planes” that has dimensions of 16-feet by 70-feet by two-feet; two security guards glaring with wire ear pieces, two assistants rigorously Windexing a glass podium, and seven inanimate mannequins, all situated directly in front of the iconic sculpture by Harry Bertoia; screens built into the walls playing a video by Ellen von Unwerth of, according to wall text, “an impromptu pool party,” a three-channel video by Deborah Turbeville that “lends a peak inside a provocative Mexican bathhouse,” a Steven Sebring film that “highlights the modernist architecture of 510 Fifth Ave.,” and a video by Sue de Beer over by the pastel pants and sweaters that gives a “backstage glimpse at a rock ‘n’ roll romance,” all “inspired by Joe Fresh”;  a stack of $29 dress shirts; Steve Roth, the bald and stout chairman of the Vornado Realty Trust who, speaking to the crowd, did not know how to pronounce the founder of Joe Fresh’s last name (“Mimran”), but then assured the audience they were “good friends”; the mayor of New York, who called Joe Fresh “the biggest Canadian import to these shores since Justin Bieber,” then left. After he was gone, everyone started shopping.