After hosting pop-ups in Paris and around New York, Johnny Pizzolato and Virginia Craddock have brought their International Playground to the Lower East Side – permanently. The shop carries a mix of quirky, directional brands for men and women and offers the ultimate fashion rush: a sense of discovery. “We formed this store for people who want to wear interesting, inspired clothes with a story behind each piece, ” Pizzolato said. Not watered down concepts from Urban, but real deal microbrands with an insider feel.
Right now that includes a group of Scandinavian and New York-based designers making exuberant, thoughtful work. For the ladies, there’s Vibe Johansson (silk and jersey draping with a fluid feminine form), Chromat (supercool architectural fashion using reconstructed garments), H. Fredriksson (combining flowy artistic sensibility with sustainable fabric technologies), Study NY (sweet dresses and jumpers made from organic and reclaimed materials) and Wackerhaus (saucy tailored separates in silks, sequins and specialty fabrics) – and that’s just a few! Add Mary Meyer, Cut It Out!, Ravishing Mad, and Liz Collins to the list and you know this Playground has got major womenswear game goin’ on.
Seeing that not all dudes are into oversize unisex separates, I.P. balances edgy men’s styles from Mary Meyer and Daniel Palillo (bold prints, billowing silhouettes, goth-meets-hip-hop vibe) with the likes of Carlos Campos, a dapper menswear collection with smart subtle details (side-seam gussets, curved collars). You’ll also find men’s accessories by Ernest Alexander, nailpolish from KO, oils by Lurk, and an evolving selection of Pizzolato and Craddock’s favorite new picks across the board. It’s a creative hotbed here – from the multi-media collabs they’ve already initiated (including a launch party with Canada’s The Block magazine and developing scents with F.I.T.’s perfume marketing class) to the live-plant wall that is the store’s centerpiece.