Don’t Brendon Babenzien’s luscious J.Crew looks deserve an equally handsome home? Don’t answer: I already know it’s a yes, because J.Crew has just opened the doors to an all-new concept space in New York’s hip Nolita district to usher in its creative director’s new era.
Babenzien’s vision for J.Crew launched earlier this summer as the company began rolling out his debut collection for Fall/Winter 2022.
Not only was it packed with the kinda ultra-wearable yet aspirational apparel that’s informed Babenzien’s own imprint, NOAH, since its inception, this new J.Crew collection hearkens back to the brand’s good ol’ days, back when J.Crew meant quietly stylish essentials and not New York Fashion Week runway shows.
J.Crew is still conscious of big moments, though, which is why it introduced this reinvigorated Men’s store at the tail end of NYFW 2022, offering the city’s most fashionable denizens an opportunity to glimpse the Babenzien-designed goods before they jetted off to London, Milan, and Paris.
Nestled into a cozy nook at 316 Bowery on the corner of Bleecker street, the J.Crew Men’s store is almost too handsome to believe, as if the retailer simply set up shop in the dwelling of the world’s most refined family. Imagine the set of The Brady Bunch but packed nautical clothing displays and more refined tchotchkes than your grandma could ever hope to collect and you’re mostly there.
From quite literally every angle, you’re presented with a view worthy of any interior design journal or inspirational Instagram account.
If the impeccably cozy vibes recall the mood inside NOAH’s own NYC flagship store, which is only a few blocks away, that’s no accident: the new J.Crew space was designed by Dream Awake, the design firm that’s overseen by Babenzien’s wife, Estelle, and responsible for all of the NOAH outposts.
“When I design environments, I do a deep dive into the character and integrity of the brand and endeavor to honor the personality and inspiration behind it,” Estelle Babenzien told Highsnobiety. “Designing the new J.Crew concept store was about more than a place for the new men’s collection to live: the experience at J.Crew Bowery is unique to New York and pays homage to the vision of what my husband, Men’s Creative Director Brendon Babenzien, believes J.Crew menswear should be.”
That means thoughtful touches aplenty, from the tasteful furnishings that make the space feel more like a lounge than a brick-and-mortar store to the in-house coffee shop, a branch of Estelle’s favorite coffee shop, Urban Backyard.
“What’s special about this concept store is that it brings together curated designer vintage furniture, art, objects, books, rugs, magazines and records, much of which is also for sale,” Estelle continued. “There’s so much brand heritage to pull from.”
“This is a lifestyle store for everyone — most women I know wear men’s clothes too, and if you don’t find something to wear, perhaps you’ll find something to adorn your place.”