It’s no secret that we at Fashionista heart Rag & Bone and while we were more than a little disappointed by Café Colonial’s closing, we don’t blame Rag & Bone (we blame Keith McNally). And we can’t really be mad about one of our favorite brands opening up shop two blocks away from our office.
The store opens to the public this Friday, but we got a sneak peak yesterday afternoon. It feels a lot like the other Rag & Bone stores, but a little more bare bones – the clothing was sparse on the racks. We were told, however, that the store was not completely finished and would have a few more racks, a denim wall, and seating by opening day. We sensed a bit of scrambling. The CFDA Menswear Designers of the Year must be doing pretty well, as this will be the fourth Rag & Bone store to open downtown in the past two years. What makes this store different from other locations is that merchandise will only include Rag & Bone’s three “companion collections:” rag & bone/JEAN, rag & bone/SHIRT and rag & bone/KNIT, as well as some accessories from the main collection and the shoe shop, which caught our interest the most. Located in what would have been Café Colonial’s Kitchen, the shoe shop features shoes from the main collection (Fall ’10 was on display) and is separated from the rest of the store by a wall, though customers can walk freely between the two parts of the store. We are told it will operate like a typical shoe store with places to sit and try on. It even has its own window and “rag & bone shoe shop” sign outside.
Back in May, WWD reported that the brand had plans to open a stand-alone shoe store because their shoes were doing so well in department stores, boutiques and Rag & Bone’s own retail stores. We thought this was an interesting idea, but a risky one, especially after hearing rumors that the brand’s stand-alone stores were not doing all that well compared to their wholesale business.
That being said, we think what the brand has done with its latest retail venture is a smart approach. This way, the store has two draws, one being the companion collections, which boast Rag & Bone's lowest price points--perfect to highlight in this economy. Only time will tell how this store ends up doing with this retail concept, but we get the feeling it’s going to work. See below for pictures of the space.