Rachel Comey has a dedicated following, and for good reason. Known for her interesting prints, and consistently easy-to-wear pieces, her clothes feel good to wear, and have some staying power in your wardrobe. We especially appreciate the fact that her clothes are cut and sewn in New York (with the exception of knitwear, which is made in South America). Her Mars Boot is easily a classic: simple, comfortable, and it goes with everything. So, naturally, the news of her first store opening this year was a very big deal around here. The space, located at 95 Crosby Street, is gorgeous and interesting, much like the lady herself.
What was the inspiration for the design of your store?
There are so many different things that came into play. I had a company for a long time and I never had a retail store, and I never wanted to for some reason. I think I was really interested in the product development and all of that for a long time and then it suddenly became like "I really need an environment for this." Materials are so big for me, in all aspects of clothing and accessory design, that I needed to start there with what the right materials are, and even the right space. When this space became available, I was like "that's, that's the space." We had to do a full renovation. I wanted it to have all sorts of elements that are important to me, like a masculinity to it, which I think happens with the concrete and the stone, and then a feminine element with the pink carpet and the shag. But I needed it to be accessible in a way, too. It's not a luxury brand in any way, we're very much in the middle there. I wanted it to feel like, for shoe shopping, when you walk in off the street, there's a familiarity to the texture on the floor, and I wanted it to be matte so it didn't compete with leather. I wanted the dressing rooms to be very luxurious, and nice to be in, and feminine.
What are your favorite beauty products, and the extra steps (if any) that make you feel especially polished?
I use this one cream, I got it from the facialist Isabelle Bellis. A friend turned me on to her, I can never get an appointment with her, so it's like once a year that I go to her. It's a french cream. I can tell you the name of it later. And then I'm pretty simple on the beauty products, to be honest. What makes me feel polished? A makeup artist. Otherwise I'm a total dirtbag, honestly. I really am.
(ed. note: the face cream is by Joelle Ciocco)
What are your wardrobe staples? Any treasured pieces?
I do a lot of design work, I feel like, in the morning when I'm trying to get dressed and I don't have the thing that I want to have. And that's when I start thinking about design. So, staples… these days it seems to be a lot of denim pieces. Clogs, I guess, that's obviously a staple for me. That'd be the number one. Treasured pieces... I have a cotton plaid shirt that I made a long time ago, the yarn-dyed plaid is so pretty, and I love it. It's simple but worn in just right, I guess.
What are the extra fancy things you splurge on?
I would say food. That feels really special. Especially because now we have two little kids so we don't get to go out that much. My husband is a great cook so I think we splurge there on things like olive oil and ingredients. And then going out, I guess, when we can.
What are some special pieces/objects in your home?
I have some art pieces that I have gotten from some friends where I've been able to do trades. I have a great painting from Andrew Kuo that I love, and it looks amazing with this vintage Missoni sofa that I have. If you know his work, then you will see how they would look amazing. I know that you're not supposed to match your art, necessarily, to your sofas, but this looks like a good pair.
What's your favorite way to entertain?
Entertaining involves coming over and having dinner, pretty much. We go out to Long Island, and to Greenport, and we have room there to entertain. So we have to coax people into hanging out with us for a full weekend.
Name a favorite travel destination, and some noteworthy places there.
I went to Mallorca a year ago because I did this collaboration with Camper. Their headquarters are there, so you have to go there to meet with their design team and work with their people there, which was such a great perk because then we could go to one of the little towns on the coast. So beautiful. The place that we stayed was (Finca Ca's Sant in Sóller) a little farm-type place where the breakfast was fresh eggs from the chickens outside, and oranges from the trees, and the view was incredible. That one stays in my mind, especially this time of year.
What do you never travel without?
I'm thinking of practical things, like those plugs. Otherwise, a sketchbook and pens and paper. I like number 2 pencils so I have to sharpen those before I go.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
The same kind of advice I give myself now. I feel like I'm never learning, but I want to say work less.
If you weren't designing, what do you think you might be doing instead?
I don't know. Probably pursuing other types of product development, I think. I just love the process of manufacturing.
Any closet passions or hobbies no one really knows about?
Over the past 5 years I've been pregnant twice and my body has changed a lot, so I feel like it's been an experiment in addressing those needs in different ways. And that's a closet thing, right?