This morning, Forever 21’s biggest store in the country opened in New York City’s Times Square. We checked out the store last night at the opening party, where (we’ll be honest) we expected total mayhem. The Virgins were on deck to perform. Ten-dollar jeans were everywhere. And it’s located the in the middle of one of the busiest intersections in the world. It sounded like it was going to be chaos!
But when we stepped inside the cavernous, over 90,000-square-foot, spanking-new Times Square flagship store, we found four floors of total calm. Clothes were organized perfectly by color and size. The white floors gleamed. Chandeliers sparkled from the soaring ceilings. And … there was free stuff everywhere, from nail polish to sequined T-shirts by Twelve by Twelve, Forever 21’s “more upscale” line (as if that’s even possible). It was like Christmas in June with cheese cubes and a Virgins concert.
We quickly made our way backstage to a curtained-off section of the store to catch up with the Virgins. While chowing down on a pack of Lunchables (really), lead singer Donald Cumming combed through nearby clothing racks to find a suitable outfit to wear for the performance. “If I wear it, maybe they’ll give it to me for free!” he mused, pulling a white lace long-sleeved top over his black T-shirt. He surveyed his ensemble and, unsatisfied, dropped his pants and put on …
… a ruffled pink miniskirt.
Before Donald changed in front of us.
From left: Nick Ackerman, Wade Oates,
and Donald Cumming of The Virgins
Photo: Jamie McCarthy/Getty
Sadly, Donald’s impromptu fashion show came to an abrupt end when he was informed by a publicist that he wasn’t allowed to wear the outfit he’d selected. He briefly considered doing it anyway, because he’s a rock star and he can wear a tutu if he wants to, but guitarist Wade Oates stepped in. “Don’t do it. You’ll really get that girl fired, and that would suck,” he reasoned. “That literally is her only job, to make sure that we don’t do sh– like that.” Donald nodded and took off the skirt, and that’s when he made the big reveal: Black and pink spandex bike shorts that doubled as his boxer briefs — why, hello there, nice legs — which he kept on for the performance.
Wade was less particular about his ensemble, which consisted of jeans, a tattered Batman shirt, and a black leather vest. “I’m the biggest idiot when it comes to fashion things,” he told us. “I never take advantage of the fact that there are nicer clothes all around us than the ones I own. If I look at pictures of myself from ten years ago, they’re the same outfits, only a lot fewer holes.” Upgrade?
And before our time with them ended and they took the stage, we asked them if they would ever want to be 21 … forever. (You know, ’cause of the store.) “I was just talking to my friend who just turned 21, and he was talking about how he feels like it’s all over,” Wade said. “Like, once you’re past 21, it’s all downhill. When you’re 14, you really want to hit 21. And when you’re 28, you really wish you were 21 again. I’m 24, and I’m like, f—! I really wish I was 21.” We’re pretty sure he’s not the only one.