You wouldn't be blamed for walking right past the new boutique Patron of the New. The imposing Tribeca building that houses it barely indicates that there's a sophisticated shop behind those vermilion columns with the store's tone-on-tone logo discreetly placed on smoked glass doors. This is a particular kind of store for a particular kind of person, and like others of its ilk, Atelier New York and IF for example, it prefers to remain off the well worn paths trod by legions of less discriminate shoppers. The Western end of Franklin Street is not exactly the edge of the earth, but its far enough away to make itself a destination for those in the know.
It's not surprising that the store was playing Grace Jones when The Shophound walked in the other day, because Patron of the New seems like just the sort of place where the bold, androgynous singer might shop for herself. There are no lacy ruffles to be found here for women or men. The typical shopper might find the offerings challenging. It's certainly not the place to go for a basic blazer or a simple anything. In fact those red columns outside are the most colorful thing about the place. The boutique features sleek, sometimes minimalist and often architectural collections in a color range from white to gray to mud to black from designers like with vaguely familiar names like Josephus Thimister, Nicolas Andreas Taralis and the adventurous New York men's label Siki Im. Other brands are even less well known, but this store's customer is not looking for comforting familiarity, and is likely to confront a strange designer with a sense of discovery.
Perhaps it was because of our cargo shorts and rumpled J. Crew shirt that our presence only elicited the politest of acknowledgement of the staff (at least they were Jil Sander cargo shorts). In fairness, the staff would have assumed correctly that we weren't exactly a likely customer, but you never know. The store was more of an intriguing gallery to us than a wardrobe resource, but still, they could have expressed a bit more warmth.
So, Patron of the New is not for the conservative of dress or budget. As we exited we were struck by a display of accessories made of sponge meticulously crafted into totes and handbags. We picked up a simple clutch which, priced at a mere $95, seemed like a bargain until we remembered it was made of sponge, not calfskin. On the plus side, it couldn't come in handier if you happen to spill your cocktail.
Patron of the New 15 Franklin Street between Varick & Hudson Streets, Tribeca