• Women playing a game of “blind man's buff” drawn in 1803

Date 03.10.2014

When an expert dresses as a retail storyteller . . . “the choices from KIKI NIESTEN”

Amsterdam welcomes Maastricht’s pioneer-retailer Mrs. Kiki Niesten and her new interactive shopping experience. With a focus on the intersection of business and fashion, Niesten’s sharp eye goes beyond runways, fabrics, and media and into the areas required to drive a high-end store. While others would be happy to simply focus on design, Niesten blurs the boundary with business with constant travelling, social dining, directional buying and collecting and recounting anecdotes with her dearest clientele.  During Maastricht’s TEFAF (The European Fine Art Fair) some of these clients, having arrived by private jet no less, pay obligatory visit to KIKI NIESTEN stores.

But where is Maastricht?  If you have never been to the Southeast of The Netherlands, a quick visit to Mrs.Kiki will surely put the name of this ancient Roman settlement on the map. Start by seeing her loyal selection (of which she has carried for more than a decade):Céline, Alaïa, Balenciaga, Jil Sander, Dries van Noten, Marni, Prada and its cute sister Miu Miu, and follow this with the local tips that she is sure to provide.

In collaboration with Dutch designer Alexander van Slobbe, the finest clothing from Mrs.Kiki’s archive of over thirty years has been curated and turned into a “BLIND MAN’S BUFF”; since yesterday on sale in her Amsterdam’s new store. A number of specially selected “hammer pieces” that will go to auction have cleverly had the labels removed, with the only visible information remaining being the profiles of the pieces themselves. All details regarding the designers and the original prices of these “hammer pieces” are secretly contained within a closed gold envelope, and are only disclosed once the bidding is completed. Some of these garments, for example the full circle Prada skirt, or a leather patchwork coat from the first collection by Phoebe for Céline, are sure to attract the buyers’ attention.

Otherwise, there also remain a number of pieces that are for sale in a more traditional manner, and are ready to take home at new or reduced prices. Regardless of the sales format, from the moment these pieces were chosen in a showroom in Paris or Milan, they were intended to live a long life and to retain their aesthetic value and quality.

Although the prospect of buying at auction or at reduced prices may suggest big savings, I offer some simple advice: DON’T BE GREEDY or expect the bargains you would find at second hand or vintage sale; you could go home empty handed . . .

This is a different shopping form, and Mrs.Kiki herself might remember most of the original prices. In the end, you are dealing with a professional businesswoman with innate taste – something The Business of Fashion’s Mr.Imran Amedshould definitely consider for his next directory of the BoF 500 for 2015.