Luxury Meets Laid-Back at the New VK Nagrani Store

luxury meets laid back new vk nagrani store vkfeat2
Shopping at the new VK Nagrani menswear store on E. Houston Street in Manhattan’s Nolita neighborhood is so unlike the standard retail experience that I hesitate to refer to it as “shopping.” Designer Vivek Nagrani, who first made his name as the creator of super luxurious socks and underwear, now offers a full men’s collection but stresses “feeling and spirit” and the experience of getting to know him and his clothes over the try-on-and-then-transact traditional selling model.

VK Nagrani Store

For one, customers must ring the doorbell to gain entrance to the space, which sells socks and underwear out of vending machines on street level if they are of a grab and go mindset – the very kind of thinking he does not support. Nagrani much prefers for customers to join him for cocktails out of hand-blown glasses in the basement – a sort of warren of rooms all with the feel of a old school gentlemen’s club – where they can discuss their lives, wardrobe needs or just shoot the breeze about anything – all without any obvious pressure to purchase. To make the experience all the more inviting and luxurious, a guy can even to change out of his clothes and hang about in a shop-provided 100% cashmere bathrobe and slippers should he desire.

But if he wants the store’s entire stock – and is blessed with the finances to buy it – he will be dissuaded by the designer, who says that paring down his own wardrobe made him realize the importance of owning just a small selection of quality pieces that can be mixed and matched to make looking great constantly hassle-free. “When I moved from L.A. I had 195 shirts in my closet with the tags still on them. I was searching as most men are going to search. Moving to New York and having a closet that was very small forced me to look how it was back in time and when you see the photos of guys like Sean Connery on the walls here you ask: Why did they always look so good? It’s very simple pieces and a very limited amount of pieces yet they always looked beautiful. I said, let me create that in a modern way where it has a sense of fashion and style but is long-lasting.”

VK Nagrani Store

“It’s not fashion. It’s not trends. It’s not what is in season or what’s not in season. Who gives a shit? It’s timeless,” he says of his assortment. “What we wanted to do was create a sense of style and we’ve done it by limiting the amount of pieces that a guy can purchase initially forcing him to have to mix and match things therein allowing him to create his own sense of style rather than falling back on what he knows.”

He adds: “It’s very tough love. There are guys who come in here who say, ‘You didn’t let me try on everything’ and I say, ‘Well, you’re not ready yet.’ This is a lifelong partnership. My job is not to sell you something today. It is to enhance your entire existence, how you will shop in the future and not just with clothing.”

VK Nagrani Store

His approach may sound snobbish or even Soup Nazi-esque, but aside from the fact that nothing in his store has visible price tags (you have to ask), the experience at VK Nagrani – while undoubtedly luxurious – is actually quite refreshing, welcoming and far from pretentious. (In fact, to keep the environment affect-free, customers who pay with an American Express Black Card are automatically charged a $200 “asshole fee” that Nagrani will then donate to their favorite charity.)

When I visited last week, one curious and initially dubious first-time customer walked in with his wife and ended up staying for several hours drinking red wine and trying on items at his leisure. “I’m really pleasantly surprised with this place,” he later told me. As I sipped on my second scotch I couldn’t help but reply: “Me too.”

Living

A Behind-the-Scenes Look Inside a Mattress Factory

A mattress is a mattress, right? Wrong.
Fashion & Style

Just $100 Gets You This Super-Tough and Very Cool G Shock Fitness Watch

You get Bluetooth connectivity, an all-new digital display, fitness tracking technology, and a classic G Shock look for an attractive price.
Auto

Thrill Your 3 Favorite Friends in Polaris’ New 4-Seat RZR XP 4 Turbo S

This all-new four-seater is badass, baby trophy truck ready to scramble your co-pilots' brains.
Food & Drink

Conor McGregor Is Ready to Knockout the Competition with His Own Whiskey, Proper No. Twelve

McGregor wanted to produce a whiskey that he felt was as good in a bottle as he is in the octagon.
Fashion & Style

The Red Wing x Todd Snyder Moc Toe Boots Are Our New Fall Favorites

These boots are "classic with a different edge," according to Todd Snyder himself.
Fashion & Style

United By Blue and Danner Boots Team Up for Brilliant Bison Boots

Thanks to an ever-increasing population, bison have once again become an increasingly sustainable meat and leather source. And these boots prove it.
Fashion & Style

Make Western Wear Work for You with The Best Men’s Denim Shirts

Grab one now for the perfect piece to wear as summer turns to fall and temperatures oscillate.
Fashion & Style

5 Best Basketball Sneakers on Sale Now From NBA Superstars

With the newest NBA season starting in just a few weeks, you can expect to see a blitz of last year's best basketball sneakers getting price cuts.
Fashion & Style

Keep Your Pants On With the Best Leather Belts for Men

There's even one with a 100-year warranty.
Fashion & Style

Dive In Feet First With the Best Rubber Boots for Men

Fortify your feet with a pair of the best rubber boots and shoes. Our picks are both sensible and stylish.
Fashion & Style

The 5 Best Sneakers for Men You Can Buy Right Now

Whether you're running, walking, playing basketball, or — dare we say it — sneaking, you're probably going to find yourself inhabiting a pair.
Fashion & Style

The Best Fall Sales on Menswear and Gear This Weekend

Jackets, outdoor gear, watches, shoes — you name it, we've found a deal on it.
Fashion & Style

Boulder Denim 2.0 Are the Stretchiest, Most Comfortable Jeans You Can Buy

Yes, they really are the stretchiest. And the most comfortable.
Fashion & Style

Peak Design’s Travel Line Is the Kind of Compartmentalized Luggage Bag We love

This bag has pockets inside pockets inside pockets!