the boutique and secret laboratories
Cashin believed that everyone should have a "boutique" in their
own home with "colors erupting in a barely controlled riot." Never
owning a dresser, she preferred to display the foldable garments
in her wardrobe as a wall-sized work of art consisting of an ever-changing
collage of materials and artifacts. For her hanging garments,
she wanted a glass closet but settled for painting the interior
of each in her favorite shades of pink, orange, or green.
With vehement dislike for the gritty atmosphere of Seventh Avenue,
Cashin always worked out of her private design studios, which
she referred to as her "secret laboratories." These included her
carriage house in upstate New York and apartments in Manhattan.
From 1966 on, she lived "over the store" through the purchase
of two apartments in one of the toniest buildings in Manhattan,
860 UN Plaza. While she worked in both, one functioned as her
wholesale boutique and studio for experimenting with design ideas,
playing with materials and painting.
Her sun-filled apartments, with views of the global community
below, reflected her interests in the modern "jostling of cultures"
and provided the backdrop that her artistic nature required. So
closely were her designs connected to her lifestyle and private
environment that she used her interiors as settings for promotional
and editorial photo shoots in which models reenacted her day-to-day