Over eight years ago, at the dimly lit corner of Bowery and Bond, I stood waiting outside the Bouwerie Lane Theater for King Edward and Queen Anne. The Cocteau Repertory had just staged another brazen performance of Bertolt Brecht’s tragic play Edward II inside, and a looming school assignment required a few quick questions with the actors. The nighttime quiet was unsettling and there were more rats than people on Bond’s uneven cobblestone block. Their shadows appeared eerily large against the cast iron façade of the Theater. After more waiting and a drug deal scuffle down the street, I split.
Today that corner is bustling with activity and pedestrian traffic. No word on when Edward and Anne left the building, but there’s currently a new star at the Bouwerie Lane Theater: Rogan. On the tails of his CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund Award and smashing Target collaboration, the designer Rogan Gregory has opened his second New York store inside the landmark building. And it is dramatic. Painted entirely black with empty walls and a single suspended lighting-fixture made of spotlights that descend like tentacles from the rafters high above, the space is a deliberate homage to its former life as a theater. The lighting and mirrored mezzanine amplify the raw backstage design; clothing is indeterminately highlighted or shadowed mysteriously, and rainbow prisms cast over a white pleated neck blouse made it look downright celestial.
Lined with both men’s and women’s wear, one long clothing rack stretches along the right side of the store with two smaller segments extending perpendicularly. Though the color palette of the clothing is mostly limited to black, white and gray, the patterns, cuts and silk-screened slogans are all quite vivid. Short-shorts, cardigans, blouses and dresses range from $60-400 for the ladies, and the Slim Dazzle and Caldwell Rosen skinny jeans are showstoppers. For the men, Rogan has sweatshirts, tees, shorts, buttondowns and jeans of assorted fabrics and stitching. There are also a handful of accessories, such as hats, ties, and totes, but emphasis is on solid wardrobe pieces.
To both the store’s design and its forward-thinking eco-friendly collections therein, we applaud you Rogan – bravo!