After making it’s debut half a year ago, J. Press’ York Street collection finally hit stores this past month. Coinciding with the launch of the line, and as a continuation of J. Press’ efforts to win over a younger audience, the brand decided to open up a York Street flagship, the first such store of it’s kind, in New York’s West Village. Situated on Bleecker Street, which is rapidly becoming one of the most important blocks for shopping in the entire city, the York Street flagship has been unofficially open for roughly a month now, but it wasn’t until this past Tuesday night that the team over at J. Press and Ariel and Shimon Ovadia of Ovadia & Sons, (the duo behind the collection), properly flung open the doors to christen the new space.
I had actually stopped by to the store twice during this “soft opening” period, so I already had a chance to check out the wares, which I was quite impressed by, but considering that I fall comfortably into York Street’s target demographic, both stylistically and age-wise, this really came as no surprise. So on Tuesday night, the clothes took a backseat for me (with so many people crammed into the store it was tough to see anything on the racks anyways), as I set my sight’s on the stores interior. Designed by Scott Hill, who aside from owning his own interior design shop in the East Village, had previously worked with Ralph Lauren and Gant, the York Street store itself has got to be one of the most meticulous and beautiful stores I’ve ever set foot in. From back issues of Playboy and Sports Illustrated, to faded Princeton pennants, to yellowing acceptance letters from Ivy League schools, I’d have to say that the store’s collection of random, yet fitting, ephemera almost rivals the clothes themselves.
Of course, it’s the pieces that are directly tied to J. Press’ history that I found most fascinating. Bulldogs (the J. Press mascot of sorts) are scattered throughout the store, the largest of which was a massive gold-painted bulldog statue perched in the center of the store. As you enter into the store’s suiting section, you pass through a “hidden” door disguised as a bookcase, with a framed drawing from the legendary Vanity Fair caricaturist Spy, hanging directly in the center. Photos of the old J. Press team wallpaper the store’s brick walls, but it’s the above “J. Press Honor Roll” from the original York Street store in New Haven, Connecticut that I was most taken by. Bearing the names of the stores many associates (including Bernard Gant, who would go on to become that Gant) I thought of the piece as a nice homage to J. Press’ past displayed proudly in the home of their future.