New York's SoHo district has no shortage of interesting shops and showrooms, and this week, another joined their ranks. Tucked away on the third floor of 76 Greene Street is The Apartment, the aptly named offline counterpart of The Line, a luxury e-commerce site launched two months ago by stylists Vanessa Traina and Morgan Wendelborn.
The Apartment feels neither like a store (there's no window front) nor a showroom, exactly: Traina says she thinks of it as more of a gallery, and indeed it exudes that air. The first step off the elevator lands you in a mock living room, complete with velvet couch, rug, art, even a Christmas tree rooted in a rabbit fur throw. There was a custom-order coffee table, but it was sold before The Apartment opened to the public on Wednesday. Every item in the space is for sale, even the Lasvit light fixtures hanging above the long table in the adjacent kitchen.
Beyond the kitchen, in a makeshift closet, is where the real treasure lies: the ready-to-wear collection. The Line has an exceptionally refined aesthetic -- one that Traina, a muse, stylist and consultant for designers like Alexander Wang and Joseph Alturzarra, has become famous for (in style-obsessed circles, at least). The goods are classic, covetable and, yes, expensive: There are silk tees and wool pullovers from Protagonist, priced at $290 and $590, a double-breasted Reed Krakoff peacoat, on sale at $899, and tan leather totes from Mansur Gavriel, $485 (sold out online). The most affordable pieces are from Vince and Linda Farrow.
What's remarkable about the selection is how it feels like a complete wardrobe -- a dream wardrobe, in my case. Most of the pieces could be considered staples, rendered almost exclusively in black, navy and white. Traina says her customer is a strong, confident woman who knows what she likes -- "not trendy items, but beautiful, long-lasting pieces. She knows what's going to stick around."
Next to the closet is a bedroom and a full-sized bath, as well as cabinets filled with essential oils and other small beauty and home goods. To the right is the storeroom, where rows upon rows of goods encased in The Line's white and black packaging are shelved. The actual office, which is still under construction, is located on the second floor.
The Line would never have come out if Traina and Adam Pritzker, co-founder of technology incubator General Assembly, hadn't become friends during grade school in San Francisco. It was Pritzker who first approached Traina two years ago. "He wanted to do something in fashion but didn't know what," Traina says. He then introduced Traina to Morgan Wendelborn and her sister, designer Kate Wendelborn, who were then building the Protagonist brand. Pritzker has both financed The Line and powers its back-end through his company Assembled Objects.
Going forward, Traina says The Line is looking to expand distribution beyond the U.S. and into new verticals, including menswear. One challenge will be maintaing The Line's "curated" feel. "What's really important for us is staying strong to our vision and ideals," says Traina. "That vision is not exclusive to the items we have at the moment. We know eventually we want to grow into menswear as well, but it was also be curated."
The current focus is, of course, getting The Apartment running smoothly through the holiday season. From now until Christmas, The Apartment will be open from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays. A special shopping day will be held on Monday, Dec. 23 from 3 p.m. to 8 p.m.