Detroit in a nutshell can be found here, mixing artistic creativity with unmatched industrial know-how, reinvigorating tried and true designs from the past with a futuristic bent, and proudly reclaiming heritage complete with scars and imperfections because they add character. It’s time that we found our place in the fashion stratosphere again.
The Peacock Room’s eclectic collection of jewelry, vintage clothing, and accessories makes it easy to get carried away. Meandering on a circuit through the boutique changes themes at every turn, one corner ruled by frothy romantic lace skirts and ribbon jackets. The next rack just as easily carries striped stockings as a leather clutch studded with brass knuckles. The owner relishes Michigan designs and eye-catching pieces that speak to the soul of the city rather than repeating what chain shops stock. With room to grow and inventive styling, the Peacock Room brings a needed addition to the fashion market in the city.
Dramatically high patched plaster ceilings soar over the former dining room of the Park Sheldon, washed in gilt and cream, a tilted vision of shabby opulence being resurrected thanks to the tireless labours of Detroit businessmen and women. Rachel has started small rather than build Rome in a day, putting together a contrast of old and new styles I can imagine 1920s society rebels admiring. Lush, vibrant colours are captivating to the eye. Industrial-influenced accessories are served up alongside pretty gems. Add in some well-chosen pro Detroit products like snarky t-shirts with the city’s trademark attitude.
Tables are laden with a treasure trove of cashmere b.ella socks and Swarovski crystals sparkling in concoctions produced by some of Southeast Michigan’s finest artists. The doors of the vintage armoire are propped open to display shelves of thick cuff bracelets and delicate metal splinters suspended on a spider web of fine chain and ribbon. Signature peacock feathers swish above skeletal arrangements and heavy brass dripping rings, silk ties, and sugar skull pocket watches that bring Alexander McQueen immediately to mind. Tastes are romantic and edgy, the selection broad – designer label, indie darlings, local fixtures, new finds – and the prices moderate, well worth it for a centerpiece or statement for an outfit. In New York or Chicago, price tags would easily be double or triple the price.
Visitors to the Peacock Room are greeted by a silk smoking jacket that sets the tone for half the store. Men’s accessories are unabashed about elegance and old time, masculine touches. Antique-labeled shaving creams, powders, and body washes recall dapper suits and top hats. The collection of fedoras and cuff links are a feast of oddities and personalized finishes. I am in love with the Mercury dimes and ration token designs as a history buff. What lawyer couldn’t use an enameled pair of scales of justice? Where would a foodie without his crossed knife and fork cufflinks while he dines at Roast?
The place sings with an urban vibe, and an assorted crowd of university students, young professionals from downtown, and sophisticated women with a taste for cosmopolitan rather than kitsch or knock-off. Women’s clothes include new designs on a central rack and other racks devoted to catchy vintage pieces, including dresses, suit jackets and trousers, and shirts. Labels seen during my last visit include Zara, Ralph Lauren, and Bebe, and do not stick to a single size range or style descriptor. Be warned stock changes frequently so clutch hold of your pearls and take a treasured item up to the register, or risk losing it.
Special orders for stocked items are a snap, and Rachel keeps in touch frequently through e-mail or phone to notify you of status. The store’s Facebook page is also an excellent resource for recent acquisitions, a sampling of her latest finds, and special events in Midtown.