10 posts tagged "Carlos Quirarte"
In the beginning, there was Evisu. And, at the risk of going biblical, it was good. The cult-worshiped Japanese label helped pave the way for designer denim back in the nineties, before every brand on the block was paying fanatical attention to cut and wash and selvage. It’s had a quiet few years, despite the explosion of the denim market, but a makeover, courtesy of Paper, Denim & Cloth and Earnest Sewn co-founder Scott Morrison, may change all that. After getting tapped as Evisu’s creative director, Morrison recruited a few friends to help with the revamp, among them Carlos Quirarte, proprietor of The Smile and party host extraordinaire, and designer Catherine Holstein, who is overseeing the new range of women’s apparel launching Fall ’10. Holstein sent Style.com a few snaps of the debut collection, which she says “brings a little softness” to the upper-contemporary market. “I find myself using the word ‘nubby’ a lot,” Holstein says, citing a loosely draped cardigan as evidence of said nubbiness. The silhouettes are likewise soft: loose button-downs, draped jerseys, fluid trousers. What’s hard? Getting into the party that Quirarte is planning for fashion week. Details are still under wraps—nubby ones, we assume.
The neighborhood place took some hits in the boom economy. Destination retail, slicked-out foodie palaces, and secret after-hours addresses all saw their stock rise, over the course of the great derivatives age, as year by year and one by one, the little stumbled-upon joints drew their shutters and slipped noiselessly off the radar. Hip was in. Hot was in. Low-key and friendly were, for a long time, out. But the pendulum is swinging back around: On Wednesday, Carlos Quirarte and Matt Kliegman threw open the doors to The Smile, a restaurant-cum-tattoo parlor-cum-coffee shop-cum-boutique that they conceived, explicitly, as a drop-in stop for locals. The unassuming downstairs space is to be found on Manhattan’s happening Bond Street, and Kliegman and Quirarte’s collaborators are rather happening as well—Melia Marden is the chef at The Smile’s kitchen, which is currently serving lunch, and tattoo man Scott Campbell will be throwing down the ink at the Saved Tattoo outpost soon to open in the basement. And Kliegman and Quirarte boast their own hip-hot cred: Together, they promoted the Halloween bash at the Bowery Hotel, among other soirées, and Quirarte, ex of Earnest Sewn, was the mind behind the popular pop-up events at the label’s Meatpacking District store. But they agree that The Smile isn’t meant to be cool. “What we really want, actually, is for it to be warm,” notes Quirarte. “We want people to feel like they can come here and hang out, be regulars. There aren’t too many places doing that these days.” Well, now there’s one more. Here, Quirarte and Kliegman talk to Style.com about putting a friendly face on cool.
To the disinterested observer, a restaurant/coffee shop/boutique/tattoo parlor seems like a rather oddball business to be in. How did you decide on that mix?
Matt Kliegman: Some of it just came out of asking ourselves, how do we get the most out of this space? We knew we didn’t want to do any more nightlife—no bar, in other words—but other than that, things were kind of up for grabs. This is an old building—from the 1830′s—and the original kitchen was there, so it seemed like, OK, a restaurant. And obviously Carlos’ background is retail, and there was this lovely, long brick wall that seemed tailor-made for that. And once we knew this was a place that was going to be open during the daytime, we figured, why not coffee? Why not tea?
Carlos Quirarte: There was a lot of coincidence along the way. Good coincidence—stuff that made it feel like we were doing the right thing. Like, Melia is a close friend and she lives down the block, and it turns out that her dad lived in this exact building in the seventies. And Scott’s a good friend, too, and he happened to mention that he was looking for a space in Manhattan…
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