Levi's has opened its store in the Meatpacking District, and as we had anticipated, it is, in fact devoted to the legendary brand's premium collections. It may turn out to be one of the city's best denim stores, and in this particular city, that's saying something. (Yes, it seems like The Shophound is all-Levi's-all-the-time these days, but what can we say? These things come in waves.)
If you are looking for a humble new pair of 501s, then keep on walking down 14th Street past Sixth Avenue where the regular Levi's store has them in abundance along with the rest of the main line (which, as we have been noting, has been looking awfully good these days). The 501s at the Meatpacking Store will be of the limited edition vintage-style variety featuring selvedge denim and American-spun fabric from the nearly 120 year old Cone mill in North Carolina. Front and center at the new store is the fresh collaboration with Pendleton Woolen Mills. A few steps away you'll find the Levi's X Filson assortments and buzzing about everything is an exceptionally solicitous staff. We had all sorts of questions when we walked in, but never really had to ask them as a bubbly salesgirl charmingly spouted information at a prodigious rate with barely a prompting. Hey, she made our job easier.
The store, fitted appropriately in wrought iron and raw plywood, is one of only two Premium stores in the U.S. so, like Levi's premium labels themselves, it is something of an evolving concept, built to hold not only the revolving roster of collaboration lines presumably to come in the future, but also the Levi's Vintage Clothing collection of items lovingly reproduced from the label's vast archives. The really valuable surprise, however is in the back of the store, where you will find a fully functioning tailor shop ready to expertly fit your jeans without the awkward seams and darts that less skilled practitioners will leave, or, if you prefer, create a pair fully custom-made to your exact specifications and fabric choices. Yes, they will even properly chain stitch a denim hem, one of those little details you didn't know you needed —until you did. Of course, for a price, they will alter all sorts of other clothes there too, as well as custom make wallets and belts.
While the vintage and collaboration denim pieces can get pricey at this particular Levi's store, lots of the other apparel items are still quite affordable. For example, western shirt reproduced from a 1932 style (pictured below) was well under $100, as were most of the other tops. Classic 5-pocket styles turn up in a variety of ways like Donegal tweed with a soft cotton lining. In addition, there are items available from other iconic Amercian brands like a Golden Bear varsity jacket or a Schott Perfecto motorcycle jacket. Conspicuously missing is the brand's upscale Made & Crafted label (the new Capital "E", if you've been keeping track), but there is plenty of other denim to make up for it.
Intense denim enthusiasts may point to stores like Self Edge (a justifiably terrific shop also in posession of a chain stitch machine) which are full of arcane, artisanal denim brands, but in this moment's fascination with all kinds of heritage apparel brands, few are as iconic as Levi Strauss. After decades of scattered direction, the brand is now strikingly focused, and so is this store.
Levi's Premium Meatpacking Store 414 West 14th Street between Ninth Avenue and Washington Street
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