Gant Rugger Joins The Bleecker Street Scrum-------
The American (now Swedish-owned) heritage label Gant has had a burst of new energy of late—the Americana craze has been good to the brand, as has a high-profile collection by Michael Bastian—but the heart and soul of the brand has always been the tried-and-true. That’s the look of the label’s new Bleecker Street shop, dedicated to its sporty Rugger line. It has the (admittedly calculated) vibe of a long-lived-in New England establishment, with details like factory-floor fixtures, exposed brick, and a dressing room modeled after the original office of founding father Bernard Gant, complete with hanging Yale pennant—a nod to the firm’s hometown of New Haven, Connecticut. Credit is due to Rugger designer Christopher Bastin, who created not only the collection but, in large part, the store’s style itself, right down to the music playlist. (Journey and Creedence Clearwater Revival are on the soundtrack—not exactly summer on the Cape, but New Englanders shouldn’t stop believin’, either.) “We’ve been able to turn this shop into a fantastic homage to Gant’s heritage,” Bastin enthused.
The Rugger line is based on Gant’s archives, and he’s put in plenty of time in the vault. “It’s great, because there was no need to source from other brands. Gant provided all the inspiration I needed to build this collection,” Bastin said. “We had so many fantastic stories to build on.” Vintage details abound: a patch with a pinup girl hides behind a cuff, and the back-of-neck “locker loop” has, in some cases, been ripped off—an old fashioned indicator to roving eyes that the shirt-wearer is spoken for. Rounding out the offerings is a new, limited-edition city bike, complete with Brooks leather saddle and attached tool bag ($995), designed by Gant for the expansion of the Rugger collection. It’s available at Gant’s Fifth Avenue flagship, too, but feels more apt for the Bleecker Street shop, somehow. At the very least, it’s a better bet than a cab for swerving around Magnolia’s still-epic lines of cupcake tourists.
Gant Rugger opens today at 353 Bleecker St., NYC, www.gant.com/gantrugger.