The designer brings a new kind of theater to an old downtown landmark. By Jason Wilson
Not one to go with the grain, designer Rogan Gregory has just opened the doors to his latest store located in a Manhattan landmark, downtown's Bouwerie Lane Theatre. Built in 1874, the theater is recognized by the City of New York, and is now a landmark for Rogan, too. Although Gregory recounts greeting the Bowery's notorious urchins on the stairs some mornings during construction, the location has its definite appeal. "This new space is a lot more people-friendly," he says.
Up the stairs in the high-ceilinged venue, the designer places his casual modernist garments on a larger, more public platform, more so than what can be achieved in his somewhat clandestine showroom-retail location in TriBeCa. Here on the Bowery, designs are suspended on white racks--a sharp contrast to the jet-black walls--reiterating the designer's analysis of contrasting stripes and patterns in his collection. A mirrored mezzanine has been constructed, which compliments the 32 foot long reflective surface "puzzle bench" lining the southern wall. Each puzzle piece is moveable and some serve for clothing storage. A ring of stage lighting crowns the ceiling, its long black cords descend in loops like a post-apocalyptic chandelier.
The project was particularly rewarding for Gregory, not only because of the legacy of the real estate but also because it provided an opportunity to flourish in a variety of design facets, something Gregory thrives on. The entire 4-month gutting and renovation was documented using strategically placed time-lapse cameras. "This was one of the first times I've worked with a group, envisioned something, and completed it with very few setbacks," he says. Given the designers previous collections and recent CFDA success, we'd say Gregory's got his own mission for the Bowery, too.
Photography by Piera Gelardi
The designer brings a new kind of theater to an old downtown landmark.