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Napapijri Journeys To Mercer Street

Napapijri1It's really the kind of day to stay home, or go to the movies, but we put on our handkerchief linen shirt and appropriate sandals, and braved the city swelter when we heard that a new store had opened from Italian sportswear brand Napapijri (say that three times fast...oh, that never gets old). We did it for you, dear readers, all for you.
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The name is actually a Finnish word that means "Arctic Circle" and the "j" is silent. The brand can best be described as a luxe Italian answer to companies like Patagonia with washed linen and laser-cut embroideries instead of technical fabrics and lots of cargo pockets and camouflage details. The exclusive label was founded in 1986, and was recently acquired by U.S. apparel giant VF Corp. which explains why you will be seeing much more of Napapijri in the future as they try to grow the brand without destroying its cachet. They have transformed John Varvatos' original store from a dark, sleek setting for masculine chic to a light and airy showcase for this travel-inspired collection with a skylit indoor garden. Upon entry we were greeted by lush forest murals covering the walls and a super-eager sales staff, chomping at the bit to show us everything. "It's our first day," a young associate chirped as he offered us a catalogue. (The book is a beautifully photographed 86 pages mixing product with exotic travel stories, but the most useful part is the last page which is a guide to the usually indecipherable international fabric care symbols.) We can't blame the staff for over-greeting as we are sure there were plenty of corporate executives lurking about, perhaps regretting that they had chosen the hottest day of the year so far to open their doors. At any rate, the staff had a youthful enthusiasm that was a refreshing alternative to the sort of ennui one typically encounters whilst shopping on a steamy summer weekday.

Napajiri 149 Mercer Street SoHo


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