Raleigh, New York
North Carolina, home of the wonk-approved Cone Denim Mills, is one of America’s centers of jean-making. It is also home and namesake to Raleigh Denim, the young denim brand that has, since 2009, been quietly making some very, very good jeans using that hometown fabric. Barneys picked up Raleigh back in ’09, at which point the business went from hobby to career. (Previously, Raleigh’s husband-and-wife founders Victor and Sarah Lytvinenko had been making jeans for friends; he’d previously been a soccer player in a professional European league, she a willing travel-along.)
As the business grew, the Lytvinenkos opened a small shop, the Curatory, in the front of their Raleigh, N.C., workspace, where a window to the back offered shoppers a clear view of the full works. It was there that an emissary from OMA, Rem Koolhaas’ design firm, which has created stores for Prada and Viktor & Rolf, discovered the couple, and a partnership was born. Raleigh’s new, New York store, which opens officially tonight, was designed by OMA’s New York director, Shohei Shigematsu. Where the Raleigh home store is woodsy, New York is airy. “North Carolina is where we are looking back,” Victor explained at a preview yesterday. “New York is where we are looking forward.”
The store takes its inspiration from the warren-style rooms of a traditional Southern home, one leading into another. That structure is realized in the shoebox-size space by a giant metal grating system—Lytvinenko calls it an “armature”—that can be adapted by adding anything from a thousand or so paper airplanes (currently alit on the grates), blocks of wood, denim, or just about anything else. “We wanted something that can move as quickly as the season or the collection,” Lytvinenko said.
Raleigh Denim is now open at 211 Elizabeth St., NYC, raleighdenim.com.