For months, rumors swirled around the onetime Rafaella restaurant space on Bleecker Street. I’d heard Gucci was going in, one friend was sure it was Calvin Klein, and another allegedly heard from someone “very high up” at Louis Vuitton that the company had nabbed the spot.
We were all wrong. All I can say is, Ralph Lauren knows how to keep a secret. Almost overnight, the craft paper came off the windows, and presto—a Lauren men’s store emerged (381 Bleecker Street; 646-638-0684), right across from his hit women’s boutique.
The merchandising mix is the same: well-edited vintage pieces (messenger-style leather bags, cowboy boots, and belts) alongside choices from all Ralph labels, including RLX. There are brightly colored canvas sneakers ($79) and cashmere rugby shirts for the preppy set, exquisite suits and shoes for power brokers, fringed suede jackets ($1,500) and snap-front shirts for urban cowboys—and, in a cruel twist, a better shoe selection than the women’s store.
Boyfriends and husbands have no more excuses to weasel out of a Bleecker Street shopping stroll—and for that alone, we should be grateful.