The idea of nightlife-guidebook company Shecky’s opening a store sounds so bizarre—comparable to Zagat launching its own restaurant or IMDB rolling out a multiplex. To extend the logic, why not Shecky’s the Bar? But it is Shecky’s Shop that opened last week, featuring a revolving roster of mostly smaller-label designers. The store is not unlike the website Girlshop, which maintains a retail location in the Meatpacking District. (The two companies actually once collaborated on a book, The Girlshop Guide to NYC Shopping, written by Girlshop and published by Shecky’s.) Curious about how the two shops compare, we head over to each.
While the Girlshop website excels at presentation—featuring a vivid, colorful layout that facilitates quick browsing by designer, sale, or clothing category—the retail shop is a different story. Next door to custom-jeans maker An Earnest Cut & Sew, it looks distinctly out of place in the Meatpacking District, marked by a cutesy baby-blue sign more appropriate for a tween shop in Carroll Gardens than a store that stocks a $304 dress. The changing stalls are floor-to-ceiling swaths of silver lame (perfect for a Patricia Field boutique, bad when it clashes with exposed-brick walls), and inside Girlshop, it’s a game of how much can be crammed onto a rack or table. Like a breakdown in Display 101, an elegant, vintage-inspired lace cocktail dress from Dana Foley of Foley & Corinna is squeezed in next to a casual, beaded knit tunic dress from LaROK (a brand whose popularity we’ve never understood—can’t you buy similar, cheaper garb at Forever 21 or Rampage?). It’s unfortunate, because Girlshop and its men’s and children’s extensions, Guyshop and Totshop, carry some fine merchandise on the site that could benefit from a decent showcase in-store: breeches from L.A.M.B., retro-inspired men’s watches by Vestal, charming handmade children’s tees from Dirty Laundry.
Occupying a gorgeous hardwood-floored loft on Broome Street, Shecky’s Shop is better organized, although the look here is much more designers’ collective than single boutique. The loft is separated into partitions for each designer’s garments, with a sign above each booth stating the designer’s name and a description of the line. There are beautiful pieces here: Charmaine Louises’ capelets and kimonos hand-crocheted from Mongolian cashmere, Chynawhite & Dannyboy’s colorful Italian lambskin blazers with puffed sleeves. But for the most part, Shecky’s Shop appears to have opened before it had much real merchandise to sell. There is a whole stall just selling daffy tank tops and tees printed with the tagline, “Love this Life,” and nearby, a cropped black hoodie with a garish gold alligator appliqué by designer Jamie Kreitman goes for $136; the sweatpants are $107. How does one put up a store just down the block from Catherine Malandrino and hawk what is a basic, white tank top with a tie sewed to the front, for $65 a pop? You could fare better at a craft bazaar.