Neighborhood Watch: Karlo Steel

KarloSteelPortrait Karlo Steel of Atelier Shows Us That There's No Place Like Crosby Street.
There aren't many gritty streets left in Manhattan that still qualify as "no man's land." However, among the rare examples of New York geography seemingly immune to the evolution of downtown is a little
stretch of Crosby Street just between Houston and Price that is home to Karlo Steel's vanguard men's store Atelier.
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Steel, a native of New Orleans who moved to New York from San Francisco where he worked as a stylist, set up shop in this fringe area in 2002, with the mission to launch a one of a kind retail venue that specializes in cutting-edge and staunchly anti-commercial labels, offering men the very highest standards of quality and tailoring.
"The store was called A at first. A for Atelier. We liked the curt, flippant edge [that] A [had], but no one could find us with that name. We were underground and staying that way, but after all, it's a business." Impeccably dressed in head-to-toe black, we met up with Steel recently for a tour of his favorite places in neighborhoods adjoining his very own "no man's land."
"It's not SoHo and it's not NoLIta," says Steel. "It's sort of just somewhere in between the two."
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Coconut Company
129 Greene Street (between Houston and Prince)
(212) 539-1940
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"I furnished a lot of my apartment from here," Steel says of this interiors store specializing in 19th and 20h century antiques. Most of the pieces at Coconut Company come from France and Scandinavia. "Few people come in often and buy off the street, but the store has been here for ten years. All the merchandise is originals, unique, and excellent quality. It doesn't have to be a label, it just has to be interesting. "One of my favorite pieces in the store right now is a French army file cabinet from WWI. I like the industrial furniture from the store the most."
Other Music
15 East 4th Street (between Broadway and Lafayette)
(212) 477-8150
"I pop in here about once a week. But if I didn't work so much, I'd definitely go three to four times a week. My love of fashion came via music—it's a big influence in my creative endeavors. My first crush was the Jackson Five, and it became serious around the time of David Bowie when I realized you can't really separate fashion and music. Now, I listen to a lot of British music. I actually bought a record here this morning. It was by a band called Colder, a new release called "Heat." But here are a few things to know about Other Music: The sales staff are A) snobby and B) very knowledgeable. Once you can cut through the attitude, you'll find that they are the best."
Bond Street
6 Bond Street (between Broadway and Lafayette)
(212) 777-2500
"Great sushi. I always eat on the first floor at the sushi bar in the back. I have a good rapport with the sushi chefs. They always crack jokes with with me and my partner. They scream in Japanese when we walk in, and they scream in Japanese we leave." Steel's favorite dishes? "The sesami-crusted shrimp and the arugula and crispy potato."
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Ina Men
262 Mott Street (between Houston and Prince Street)
(212) 334-2210
"I call it 'the graveyard'—where everyone drops off their castoffs. I go to Ina very often. It's all designer resale. I frequently see things from our shop there, and occasionally I find things that I really like. Sometimes, you stumble upon things and you can't imagine why someone would want to get rid of. A while ago I got an amazing Helmut Lang hoodie with a fake Mohawk attached it. They have some extreme pieces."
Gallagher's
126 East 12th Street (near Fourth Avenue)
(212) 473-0840
"There was a place in San Francisco called The Magazine, which sells vintage titles. I'm an avid magazine collector, mostly fashion magazines from the '60s, '70s, and '80sâ€â€?heavy on the English '80s. I would go there frequently and when I moved to New York I really missed it. Eventually, I came across an article about people collecting and trading vintage fashion magazines and I found out about Gallagher's. When I went in for the first time, I was astounded. The archive is incredible. Every single obscure fashion magazine—they have it there. The only drawback is the prices are prohibitevly expensive." Most prized items? "ID Issue number three from '82 and The Face issue six from '81."
Karlo Steel of Atelier Shows Us That There's No Place Like Crosby Street.
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