The next level of fake places

The three-dimensional evocation of stylish urban places on behalf of crass commercialism that began with lifestyle centers is now migrating beyond the private streets with fake parking meters; it’s now seeped into the stores themselves. Witness the names of the two latest, “more sophisticated” concepts from Gap and Abercrombie & Fitch:

�We created an address with the name �Forth & Towne�, because we wanted it to evoke a sense of place — to signify a special and unique shopping destination. �Forth� references our fourth brand, and �Towne� conveys a sense of community that we want to create for our customers when they shop with us.� –Gary Muto President, Forth & Towne, the new division of Gap aimed at boomer women

“The [Ruehl No. 925] exterior resembles a Greenwich Village town house. Why? Well, Abercrombie & Fitch Chairman and CEO Michael S. Jeffries created a background story for the new concept worthy of a Victorian novel. In fact, it is the embellished tale of a real immigrant German family, the Ruehls, who settled in New York City in the late 19th century and founded a leather goods business at their No. 925 Greenwich Street town house in Manhattan.”