True to its name, International Playground believes in keeping fashion fun, and now it’s got a new sandbox to romp in: the store dedicated to forward-thinking Lower East Side denizens has moved uptown in spirit with a Soho outpost that opened this weekend.
With items like Chromat caged bustiers, ISLYNYC necklaces with chunky letters stating “BLAH BLAH BLAH” and “ZERO FUCKS,” and limited edition in-house team-ups (such as recent boxer shorts complete with a condom pocket and pervy photo by artist Ben Fredrickson), the shop has been an outré staple on Stanton Street since 2009. ItsSoho sibling stands out among neighbors like Louis Vuitton and Alexander Wang.
On Thursday night, owners Virginia Craddock and Johnny Pizzolato feted its opening with a cramped rager of a party that spilled out onto Broome Street, where the deafening music provided by Chances With Wolves could be heard.
The following day (after a very long night), Johnny and Virginia were straightening up the Soho boutique, adjusting every piece of jewelry and hanger for the utmost perfection. Virginia rested on the granite countertop, wearing a casual white dress hemmed halfway at the calf, accessorized with a classic fedora-like straw hat and tied up platform boots. The store was flooded with light, illuminating the tropical leaf patterned showcase of chunky sandals, platform boots and shiny loafers.
With a glamorous, ‘80s LA-vibe, the Soho store and showroom is a spacious upgrade from the other store’s charming yet dimly lit cavern structure. “With this space it feels like a homecoming,” said Johnny, wearing a Daniel Palillo fringed shirt with psychedelic shorts echoing the metallic silver hues of his hair.
The pair started off as friends before becoming business partners. “There’s a relationship there and an almost indebtedness that goes beyond a business relationship,” said Virginia. The store’s name, Johnny says, was inspired by Morrissey and “drunk word association during a long cab ride” while the two were visiting London. The memory of this makes Virginia laugh hysterically.The establishment of relationships is essential to a store catering to upcoming designers the average shopper is unfamiliar with. “We realize we have become a resource, and that feels really nice,” Virginia says humbly, “And that we can help the next generation.”
It’s evident from their taking on prime real estate that catering to a more adventurous consumer is paying off. “There’s a lot of different ways besides classic wholesale retail,” Virginia says. “We’re gonna get outside the box a little bit.”