Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Alessandro's Retail Adventure in New York

The other day my friend Alessandro (whom you have seen in several shots from Milan and Florence) emailed to let me know he was in New York for a shopping/inspiration trip. He was looking for shops and brands that specialize in American classic style.

He had been to all the well-known shops like Odin, Melet Mercantile, Bergdorf Goodman, etc. However, he had missed some of the smaller, cool shops that are making New York one of the best menswear destinations in the world right now.

I offered to take him on the unofficial "Sartorialist-tour-of-cool-small-shops-specializing-in-classic-American-style-and-atmosphere" and made a few appointments. This was very spur-of-the-moment and is in no way a comprehensive selection, but with only two hours to show a super-chic visitor a few shops these are the places I made the priority.

I know Alessandro has a weakness for shoes so the first stop was Barker Black. Derrick just keeps evolving his American/English-inspired shoes, furnishing each with a sinister twist.

198b Elizabeth Street

Next, we went around the block to Freemans Sporting Club. I think this was the shop that really wowed Alessandro. He loved the design of the space. I think he is very impressed at the American ability to take an unremarkable space and rebuild it with character; in this case, to look like an old dry goods shop that seemed to have occupied the space for over 100 years. Keith McNally does the same trick with Pastis, Balthazar, etc.
8 Rivington Street

I was going to take him to Leffot but he had already visited the day before, What he mentioned, though, was how funny it was to see Aldens done through the eyes of Americans. Right now Alden is one of the hottest brands in Italy and Japan but they are always bought with the unique perspective of buyers in each country. As I have mentioned before, Aldens here are way to clunky for my taste but I've seen them in Seoul, Milan, Florence and Japan and stores always seem to pick the perfect two or three styles that reflect the local taste.

(The one exception in the US is how J. Crew is buying Aldens right now. They're offering a very good selection.)
10 Christopher Street

So, instead of heading west we took Bowery uptown to the orginal Kiehl's on Third Ave. Very cool. Alessandro loved the Indian motorcycles that share the space with creams and lotions.
109 3rd Ave

Just down the block on 13th street is the new-ish vintage shop Stock Vintage. Another great location for product and layout.
143 East 13th Street

Our last stop (again, we only had a very short time period) was Saturdays Surf. Alessandro got a kick out of the idea of city surfing.
31 Crosby Street

I wanted to take them to see Kirk at Miller's Oath but instead.....
510 Greenwich Street

...I took Alessandro for a real American meal....fajitas and margaritas at Rocking Horse!!!
182 Eighth Ave
He left for the airport very happy.

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