In this week’s episode of “Selling New York,” CORE broker Omar Jermaine is tasked with finding the perfect pied-à-terre for fashion designer and musician, Andy Hilfiger (yes, Tommy’s brother!). Andy and his wife, Kim, live in Westchester, New York and are looking for a New York City abode that suits their lifestyle with their two boys. A newbie broker looking to make a name for himself in the biz, Omar is challenged with finding the right choice for clients who don’t have a clear idea of what they’re looking for.
With little direction to go off of, Omar begins by showing Andy and Kim a modern brownstone in the Upper West Side with classic details. Andy loves the home’s basement “man cave” and Kim adores the original details, but the couple felt the property was too large for a pied-à-terre property. Moving on, with the new direction that the Hilfiger’s preferred to be downtown in a loft, Omar redirects the search to a bright Chelsea loft with an open floor plan. Andy and Kim felt that this property was more like what they were looking for, but were fixated on an adjacent property’s outdoor rooftop garden. Andy and Kim let Omar know that outdoor space was paramount to their needs so Omar went back to the drawing board.
With new details on the Hilfiger’s perfect property, Omar finds a Flatiron home with a massive outdoor terrace and sweeping city skyline views. This property also has a separate studio space perfect for Andy’s “man cave”. After showing the Hilfiger’s three very different listings, Omar goes to see Andy’s band play with hopes of good news. After listening to sound check, Andy requests that they delay their search until New York Fashion Week ends. Keep on reading for some exclusive behind-the-scenes information on what didn’t make it into last night’s episode of “Selling New York” and what happened after the cameras stopped rolling!
1) A Chance Encounter. Andy and Omar first met in the early 90’s through friends. Already established in the fashion industry, Andy saw something in Omar and hired him as a model for Pepe Jeans. At the time, Omar had a shaved head and the photo that was used was a close up of him mid-scream, even though he was dressed head-to-toe in the brand. He mentions, “It was all about the attitude of the brand”. This shot was used as a print ad, in the Pepe Jeans trade show booth and in their corporate office.
2) Roots in Fashion. Andy Hilfiger is not the only one in this episode with a fashion background. Before entering real estate, Omar was involved in the fashion industry. For the past 15 years, (and as a side business now) Omar specialized in custom bespoke clothing and accessories for men and women. Everything Omar wore in the episode were clothes he actually designed. Omar describes his aesthetic as “neo-classic with an edge.” This background has benefited Omar’s real estate business; he has strong fashion contacts who have helped build his rolodex of clients in real estate.
3) Fashion with Rock n’ Roll Swagger. The fashion collection Omar previews at Andy’s studio was Andy’s debut line for Andrew Charles. In addition to his fashion roots, Andy has always had a connection to rock n’ roll – he actually used to have a metal band that toured with and opened for larger mainstream bands in the 80’s. To blend fashion and rock n’ roll made sense. Andrew Charles’ men’s collection was inspired by Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler and the women’s collection was inspired by the bohemian styles of the 1970’s. Steven Tyler and his daughter, Chelsea, even appear in the ad campaign.
4) A Needle in a (Limited) Haystack. In addition to the challenge of working with clients who didn’t know exactly what they wanted, at the time of the shoot, there wasn’t a lot of inventory available in the price range the Hilfigers were looking for. Omar’s advice from veteran agent, Tom Postilio, was to figure out who the decision-maker in the relationship really is. Omar mentioned that Andy and Kim really worked as a team, which you don’t see often in relationships. In the end, Omar believes, that it’s the woman who really needs to be happy in her home. A lot of searching was involved and in NYC real estate, nothing is perfect and you always have to make a compromise. A downtown space with a man cave was very hard to find and Omar mentioned that it was really a challenge to find something that satisfied the needs of the family and satisfied the needs of the man.
5) Never a Dull Moment. On set, during sound checks, Omar kept the crew laughing by singing “really bad lounge/cabaret versions of classic hip hop songs.” Anytime the camera was on him, it drew a lot of attention – he was even mistaken for both Andre 3000 and Denzel Washington by interested people walking by!