Welcome to Chain Store Age’s Retail RoadTrip, a semi-regular update on cool new stores around the country. For this first outing, here’s a look at six stores creating buzz in the Big Apple.
1. Alexander McQueen
The British fashion brand has opened a new flagship on the Upper East Side that combines fresh-off-the-runway looks with ready-to-wear pieces, accessories and menswear. The 3,500-sq.-ft. space boasts a lavish and rich design that is both strange and utterly romantic, with an attention to detail that mirrors McQueen’s signature stylings. Marble and ornate moldings, black marble floors, black lacquer and brass hanging racks are combined with a soft color palette of dove gray, blush, lilac, gold and white. The concept was conceived by Sarah Burton, in collaboration with architecture and interiors design agency, David Collins Studio. (747 Madison Ave.)
Wolverine’s first permanent store is designed to reflect the heritage and commitment to craftsmanship that marks the 130-year-old footwear brand. The store, in the hip Nolita area, features wooden beams (part of the company’s original tannery and dating back to the late 1800s) and a wall of vintage shoe lasts. Other design elements, including a 1,000-pound-plus concrete sign from one of the company's original factory buildings, also help bring Wolverine's long history to life.
In addition to Wolverine’s men's and women's collections, the store showcases items from other like-minded heritage brands including Filson, Tellason denim, Samantha Pleet, Left Field NYC, Imogene + Willie and Tanner Goods, along with an unique selection of vintage items from Bklyn Dry Goods. (254 Elizabeth St.)
3. Rent the Runway
The popular designer-dresses and accessories rental website has entered into its first brick-and-mortar partnership, opening a 1,400-sq.-ft. showroom in the Henri Bendel flagship on Fifth Avenue Manhattan. The company is looking to open similar outposts across the country.
Rent the Runway is appropriately feminine and glamorous, with an upbeat pink and purple color palette and an inviting vibe. Outside the fitting rooms is a plush lounge area where customers can peruse purses, necklaces and other baubles — and even have a glass of Champagne.
While walk-ins are welcome, customers can also choose styles online and book an appointment beforehand — with the dresses ready for try on before they arrive. Dresses can be booked for upcoming occasions, or taken home on the spot. Associates (called “Go-To-Girls”) provide one-on-one fashion advice, and upload each tried on dress to the customer’s “virtual closet.”
Dresses can be rented for four or eight days; returned either to the store or mailed back via a provided pre-paid mailing envelope. (712 Fifth Avenue, second floor, Henri Bendel)
4. Sleep Studio
Online slumber brand Sleep Studio has bedded down in SoHo, opening a 3,700-sq.ft. specialty store devoted to rest, but not just any rest, a restorative and rejuvenating one. The space, outfitted with rich walnut shelving and fanciful pendant lamps, has a soothing, dreamy ambience.
Sleep Studio sells a wide range of slumber-related products, from apothecary items and calming teas to sleepwear and bed linens to customized mattresses and bed frames. But the biggest attraction is a proprietary sleep system, developed with German manufacturer Froli, that can be added to an existing bed or special ordered with one of the store’s featured beds. The system features a surface of plastic springs that resemble little pods, which can be adjusted to provide just the right degree of support. (73 Wooster Street)
Shinola, the made-in-Detroit brand that makes watches, leather goods and bicycles, has landed in New York City, ventures out of the Motor City, opening a flagship in Tribeca. Anchored by a spiral staircase and topped with a vaulted skylight, the space features Shinola’s ever-expanding branded goods line-up along with selected merchandise from like-minded (meaning a commitment to American-made goods) brands.
The store design, by Rockwell Group, references America’s manufacturing legacy. Simple materials such as bronze, brass and oak create an industrial feel, while custom-made furniture complements the meticulous, handcrafted quality of Shinola’s products.
The space is also home to The Smile Newsstand café, which puts a contemporary twist on the classic New York lobby newsstand. (177 Franklin Street)
6. Patagonia Bowery
The longtime environmental champion has opened its first surf outpost on the East Coast in the gallery annex space of the former CBGB OMFUG, the legendary music venue of the punk era. Surfboards and wetsuits are the main attraction, with surf-expert staff on hand for assistance. But there is also plenty of non-surf apparel, including the brand’s iconic fleece jackets for sale, along with an assortment of lifestyle goods.
With a goal of showcasing and preserving the history of the building, the design of the store was intended to be as minimal in change as possible. Many existing floor beams, damaged through years of neglect and water damage, were removed and relocated as a suspended ceiling floating above the fitting rooms and cashwrap. And references abound to the space’s former tenant. (313 Bowery / Photo by Jeff Johnson)