Karen Walker

The New Zealand designer pops in to the East Village. By Naomi Nevitt
karenwalker_instory1"We had seen Karen's work a few years back in one of the showrooms we work with and always eyed her collection during our men's appointments," says Edward Chai and Paul Birardi, owners of cult East Village shop Den, in regards to their latest pop-up collaboration with New Zealand designer Karen Walker.
For the past eight months, Den has hosted a short list of notably fresh talents—including menswear designer Tim Hamilton, Cheap Monday, and Rag & Bone—in a space that completely transforms with each new occupant's complete collection. Though the shop has mostly reflected Chai and Birardi's menswear roots so far, Den is sure to be on every well-dressed girl's To Do list this winter with the arrival of Walker's spring collection on Friday, February 1. The opening was scheduled to coincide with the designer's fall/winter 2008 presentation at New York Fashion Week, and the space was art directed by Chai and Birardi in collaboration with famed interior designer, Katie Lockhart. "It's like a mini Karen Walker emporium," the designer says of her new temporary NYC outpost.
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With a full view of Walker's spring line—which was inspired by the Marx Brothers' film A Day at the Races—Den will offer the complete narrative of Walker's handiwork, from her denim military sash dresses and academia-inspired short-shorts to a vibrant array of floral tea dresses. There will be plenty of the designer's signature Technicolor sunglasses on view, as well. And while true-blue KW devotees are already planning repeat visits, no one seems as excited as Walker herself. "For a designer that doesn't have his/her own retail store in New York, it really is the dream environment."
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Den hosting Karen Walker, 330 East 11th Street (between First and Second avenues); 212-475-0079.
The New Zealand designer pops in to the East Village.
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