Q&A: Women Behind the Business

Dagny & Barstow boutique owners Emily Titelman & Meredith Blank

dagny + barstow!

It’s been one year since indie designer-filled boutique Dagny + Barstow opened its doors. To celebrate, let’s nix the cake and candles and get all up in co-owners Emily Titelman and Meredith Blank’s business. We’ll take the figurative route with a Q&A; you take the literal one. (Seriously, go visit the shop. Buy things. You’ll leave a happier, better dressed person.)

Names: Emily Titelman and Meredith Blank

Neighborhood: East Village/Bowery

Occupation: Co-owners, Dagny + Barstow

Who’s the most stylish New Yorker living or dead, real or fictional?
M: Margot Tenenbaum. She is quirky to the point of being bizarre, yet it somehow looks so sophisticated and classic. Plus, an honorable mention to Cosmo Kramer. He just has such a strong sense of personal style.
E: I adore Iris Apfel. The glasses! The lipstick! The fur! The jewelry! What’s not to love? She inspires me in so many ways and makes me feel great about becoming a fashionable grandma one day.

What was the last movie and/or play you saw?
M: The Imposter. Completely blew my mind.
E: Django Unchained. See it.

Do you have any superstitions?
M: We had a lucky moon rock at the store. One day we realized it was cursed. So we threw that away.

Weirdest thing you’ve seen/experienced living in NYC?
E: The Tompkins Square dog run. I have been taking my dog there every day for almost two years and never cease to be amazed. There are so many wild characters; my group of friends there includes an ex-porn star, a famous fashion photographer, a Chinese translator, and a salsa band guitarist. One time one of my dog park friends came wearing only underwear that said BRONX on the butt, a Mickey Mouse t-shirt with no bra, rainbow knee socks and leopard slippers. She owned it.
M: Growing up, there was a homeless guy named James who hung out near my high school and watched out for all of us. Woody Allen lived in the neighborhood, and he was always torturing Woody, yelling at people to come take his picture, that sort of thing. Right after September 11th, they got Woody to go on the Oscars to introduce “Love Letter to New York in the Movies.” In his monologue, he mentioned a homeless guy on Fifth Avenue asking him to buy him lunch, and I just remember all of us looking at each other and thinking, “Oh my god, he means James! James was just mentioned on the Academy Awards!” Only in New York.

Which fictional character would you most like to hang out with?
E: The Truffula trees from Dr. Seuss’s The Lorax. I know they would bring so much joy to my life. And who doesn’t want to party with Stefon from Saturday Night Live.
M: Charlie from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia because I’d be endlessly entertained. Or Clarice Starling. Mostly because I always wanted to be her.

What is your spirit animal?
E: A toucan.
M: A hedgehog.

What is your greatest fear?
M: The dark. And the Canadian tuxedo.
E: Public toenail clipping.

One trend you predict will be huge in 2013:
M: We have a ton of fruit prints coming for spring.
E: I’ll continue wearing some form of a Canadian tuxedo every day.

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Photo: Courtesy of Dagny + Barstow