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Brand New and On-Brand

By Luisa ColónNov 20 2020
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My favorite shops have always provided much more than retail. They’re an experience, offering collections that are curated with heart—a phenomenon echoed by Rock Center’s new retail initiative, RC CAPSULE, which launched on Monday, November 16 with Steven Alan and Jill Lindsey.

Flash back for just a moment to one of my old shopping haunts, Love Saves the Day, on East 7th Street in the East Village. If you’ve seen Desperately Seeking Susan, it’s the store where Madonna dashes in to trade her pyramid jacket for a pair of studded boots. I loved that place. The space was crammed from top to bottom (some merch hung from the ceiling!), and I could browse around and find the perfect vintage varsity jacket right next to Smurf figurines and Dr. Who memorabilia.

Now flash forward. Where has love gone? Well, specifically, Love Saves the Day closed in 2009. A lot of stores like it have also closed or are located in the outer boroughs. It’s a very New York kind of conundrum; shops like that need access to the city in order for New Yorkers to have access to the shops, and in modern Manhattan that’s no easy thing. Burgeoning or expanding retailers who want to go beyond an online presence to a brick-and-mortar New York space have a lot of obstacles in front of them.

Enter the RC CAPSULE program. Welcoming brands that don’t have a physical presence in Manhattan, the program allows them to take up residence at Rock Center for six months at a time, introducing them to citygoers right in the middle of Rock Center’s well-established retail experience. And speaking of introductions—meet the first RC CAPSULE tenants, fashion and lifestyle brands Steven Alan and Jill Lindsey.

Steven Alan was a city mainstay for years, opening its doors in downtown Manhattan in the ’90s—that same glorious decade when stores like Little Rickie and Love Saves the Day flourished. And similar to those in spirit, New York native and designer Steven Alan carefully curates his shop, which includes clothing for men, women, and kids (including his own eponymous brand), as well as jewelry, home, and lifestyle products. The items are inherently tactile, using fabrics such as thick, soft flannel, linen, and cotton poplin—which is why Steven Alan’s return to brick-and-mortar at 30 Rockefeller Plaza on Sixth Avenue will give fans and soon-to-be-fans all sorts of emotional (and actual) feels. “Growing up in the city, I’ve spent a lot of time in the area and I thought it would be a lot of fun to do a capsule installation at such an iconic New York institution,” says Alan about his new location.

Jill Lindsey’s eponymous department store in the Fort Greene neighborhood of Brooklyn features the same kind of multidimensional, hand-picked delights that include fashion and skincare. Lindsey has conceived of an experience to enrich your body (she sells her own body mists, balms, and scrubs, among other products) and soul (think candles, incense, or a sparkling chunk of amethyst to calm your nerves). Jill Lindsey describes her brand as a “woman-founded, community-driven business showcasing local makers and artists, sustainable products, supportive health and wellness services, and connection,” and she calls her collaboration with the RC CAPSULE program “a small-business dream come true.” Jill Lindsey will be in Midtown Manhattan at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, on 50th Street.

These Rock Center newcomers reflect the uniqueness that comes only when a shop takes its conception so personally, like my beloved Love Saves the Day. And since Steven Alan and Jill Lindsey stores are bringing us the items they love, in the heart of the city that we love, it’s safe to say that love saves the day. Again.

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