by Jonathan Forgang
The renovated Jack Spade store is like an Ike-era childhood fantasy, the coolest place a boy with countless hobbies and a taste for the fantastic could imagine. Drawing inspiration from the hardware stores that first carried Jack Spade's rugged, utilitarian bags, the 56 Greene Street SoHo shop has every hallmark of the old, Rockwellian America that is slowly dying off. Trophy cases line the walls of the store, displaying a corkboard collage of images that seem like inspirations or visual cues for the bag collection, as well as knickknacks like a page of Camus and taxidermied rats that lose their nocturnal menace in the glaring light. The center of the store is the ideal clubhouse, with a beat-up sofa from an upstate firehouse, an oriental rug held together by duct tape and stubborn pride, and a homemade military-style drafting table with vintage globe (ah, the games of Risk you could have!).
Andy Spade, the mastermind behind the collection, outfitted the store with this wide-ranging assortment of oddities and ephemera, and it's impressive that the bags are able to stand out in such a visual playhouse. Aside from the perfectly constructed messenger bags there are beautiful canvas ping pong and paddle-ball cases, an elegant travel-sized Jack Spade Scrabble set, and attractive, soft briefcases constructed with supple nylon and brightly colored linings. Nearly everything in the store can be bought except the artwork on the walls which comes from Kate and Andy Spade's personal collection. Being in the eccentric but masculine atmosphere is both comforting and inspiring—evidence of a creative spirit that confidently turns out quality, staple products with no concessions to the ordinary.
Drawing from classic guy spaces like hardware stores and firehouses, the recently renovated Jack Spade shop is a place where boyhood dreams come true.