Monday, July 14, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Preview: C. Wonder to open this weekend at King of Prussia

After a soft Black Friday opening, C. Wonder celebrated its arrival at King of Prussia Mall Friday morning.

Preview: C. Wonder to open this weekend at King of Prussia

After a soft Black Friday opening, C. Wonder celebrated its arrival at King of Prussia Mall Friday morning. 

The clothing is classy and fun.  Not only does the brand offer a bevy of trendy classics - think adorable shrunken blazers with contrasting elbow patches, silken printed blouses, skinny jeans and monogrammed belts, it sells fun trinkets making C.Wonder worthy of cute, emerging lifestyle brand status. There are wine stoppers, china, toys for the pets and sunglasses, too. It's all so very lovely.

... and familiar.

So very familiar.

That's because any fashionista knows deep in her soul she's seen these pieces before.

The blazers remind me of one I tried to to score at JCrew.  The belts are so Hermes. The clutches are reminiscent of Judith Leiber's miniaudieres.  The rain proof totes are so Longchamp and the flats might as well be branded with the circular T. (Instead there are interlocking backward C's at the foot of the shoe. It's very Chanel meets Tory Burch.)

C. Wonder might as well be the boudoir for the modern-day-lady who lunches.

How is this so?

The mall specialty store is the retail brainchild of Chris Burch. Burch is the ex-husband of Main Line-bred designer, Tory Burch. You know that million dollar designer label, that took flats to the next level. Tory hails from the Main Line, too. The couple has three children together, but now they are divorced and embroiled in a nasty lawsuit  - each are claiming rights to the casual rich girl aesthetic, whether you  calls it South Hamptonian, Beverly Hills or, snicker, Housewives.

Chris Burch launched C. Wonder this year and has enjoyed explosive growth. The concept can't help but be a slam dunk, as anyone who wants to look like a Main Line debutante can now afford darned good facsimiles. The  pricepoint is from $50 to $300.  Burch opened 11 stores this year including the new King of Prussia location.

The "c" in C. Wonder stands for customer. There are no cash registers and that should mean no lines.  Sales associates come to the customer, iPhone in hand ready to ring up sales. (We aren't sure if the store takes cash.)

Burch got the idea to open the store while shopping in Costco. He wanted to give customers who craved style a one stop place to shop for casual luxury items. 

Even with all of the Tory Burch hoopla, C. Wonder will win because Tory Burch and labels like her's are really just affordable by the 1 percent. The rest of us - that would be the other 99 percent (and the 1 percenters who like a good deal) -  can now knock off till our heart's content, just in time for Christmas.

For more on this story see next week's Inquirer.

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