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Allan

Downtown Detroit to Gain Fancy Clothing Retailer

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Borders opened last Monday as the largest store in downtown Detroit. But that record is about to be broken. I would've thought it would be another 5 years before a store like this opened downtown. This is just further proof that Detroit is begining a urban renaissance!

Detroit to gain fancy clothing retailer

Store will be open for shoppers next Saturday

November 15, 2003

BY JOHN GALLAGHER AND HOLLY HANSON

FREE PRESS STAFF WRITERS

The title of largest store in downtown Detroit will jump next week from the 8,000-square-foot Borders bookstore that opened Monday to a new upscale clothing retailer nearly twice the size.

Julian Scott, opening Friday in the landmark People's State Bank building at 151 W. Fort St., will feature women's and men's fashions and accessories in 15,000 square feet of space.

Employing 20 to 25 workers and offering everything from women's furs to men's custom-made suits and shirts, Julian Scott will bring a dash of elegance to the often dreary downtown.

"We want to be recognized as the first luxury major retail development in downtown Detroit, and hopefully we'll bring some other retailers behind us," Deron Washington, managing director of Julian Scott Inc., said Friday.

The public will get a preview of Julian Scott on Friday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. A by-invitation-only reception follows Friday night, and the store opens for business the following day. The store will be open until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and to 7 p.m. on Sunday.

Not the least of store's charm is its setting. The ornate, high-ceilinged, white-marble structure was designed by famed architect Stanford White in 1900 as a bank building. Much later it became the home of the Silver's office product store, which closed in 1995.

Rodney Lynn, another of several partners in the store, said the decor is meant to set a tone of excitement.

"We want a very artistic look, a feel of luxury but fun. We want you to hang out for a while."

The partnership owns two other stores in downtown Detroit, both much smaller than Julian Scott.

Style, which opened in March 2002, occupies the point of a piece-of-pie-shaped building at Randolph and Congress. It opened with about 1,000 square feet of sophisticated men's and women's accessories, later expanding into its basement level to also carry women's clothing.

In March 2003, the partnership opened Rodeo Drive at 301 W. Fort St., taking over a former travel agency. This store, barely 500 square feet, offers women's accessories with a sophisticated look, including handbags, sunglasses, jewelry, belts and scarves. A smattering of women's clothing is also available.

The two stores intentionally offer a contrast to the flashier, more colorful selection carried in the clothing stores in the Broadway-Randolph district.

And so does Julian Scott, where the building's elegant Beaux Arts design and cool, black-and-white color scheme set off the urbane and stylish merchandise.

The owners have modeled their new store after Henri Bendel and Barneys, the New York fashion retailers that had stores in the Somerset Collection in Troy in the 1990s.

"It's better goods and a lot of top-end designers," Lynn said.

The selection is wide-ranging, encompassing men's and women's wear, accessories, jewelry, housewares, furs and cosmetics, as well as a CD-DVD section, a juice bar and a cigar lounge. It also will offer custom tailoring for men and women, with four tailors on staff.

The lineup includes familiar names such as Armani, Canali, St. John and Gucci, as well as undiscovered brands such as Two Star Dog, a women's knitwear line, and Baabaazuzu, a contemporary women's collection. Local designers Mark England and Cedi Johnson also will be represented.

The men's department, housed in a series of small rooms at one end of the store, has been dubbed Julian Scott Suites for Men. Its leather chairs and fireplace give it the aura of a men's club.

Lynn and Washington have further plans for Julian Scott. The second level will be home to a fur department and cafe, while the basement will house gift wrapping and a concierge.

They also have plans for Style. Next spring, it will become Julian Scott for the Home, offering candles, lamps, furniture and other housewares.

The name Julian Scott was chosen by the partners because it sounded "clean, user-friendly, soft, easy," Washington said.

Linda Bade, president of the civic group Detroit Downtown Inc., said Julian Scott will boost downtown's appeal.

"The closer we get to a pedestrian-friendly environment, as more and more people move into downtown, we will begin to attract in ernest some interesting kinds of retail, and the kinds of things that distinguish an urban center from a shopping center."

Contact JOHN GALLAGHER at 313-222-5173 or [email protected] Contact HOLLY HANSON at 313-223-4525 or [email protected]

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