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Saying Goodbye to Bird

  • January 14, 2021

“That was the point of Bird,” she said. She sold some of the earliest jeans made by RagBone. She sold Phillip Lim’s designs before he founded his own label. (Bird was never a place one shopped while on a budget — or, generally speaking, while above a size 10.)

The vast majority of her designers were women, though. Recent top sellers included Ulla Johnson, Isabel Marant and, topping the list, Rachel Comey, whose Bird-boosted popularity in the borough has always made people think of her as a Brooklyn designer, though she didn’t live there.

For Ms. Comey, Bird was a top client, too. So were Totokaelo and Opening Ceremony, both of which also closed in 2020. She is hopeful that stores like these will make a pandemic comeback once the pandemic has eased; shoppers, inundated with options and an abundance of access, need some authoritative, persuasive winnowing. Which is what Ms. Mankins, whom Ms. Comey described as having “infectious enthusiasm,” did best.

“That’s what is so valuable about multi-brand stores, especially the owner-operated ones,” Ms. Comey said. “They have a passion for design, but also communicating that to a community. And she had such a strong community.”

Ms. Mankins, too, believes shoppers will someday rely again on boutiques like hers.

“I do think curation may come full circle, to where it’s more important than ever, but I just don’t know when that’s going to be,” she said. “That hasn’t happened yet in a way that indicates to me that I should hang in there.”

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