French brand A.P.C. (i.e. Atelier de Production et de Creation) was one of the early retail arrivals in Soho, opening up shop on Mercer Street in 1993. Lately, the brand has set its sights on the West Village. It opened up a shop selling overstock and novelty items last year in the neighborhood, and it has just debuted another store, selling the full collection, on a quiet tree-lined section of West 4th Street.
A.P.C. founder Jean Touitou worked with architect Laurent Deroo on the space (Deroo was also a collaborator on one of A.P.C.’s recently opened Paris stores). Touitou told us of his latest New York City store: "The space was very run down when I saw it. I was scared rats would eat my shoes the first time I stepped in. But I was so sure of the location that I did everything to get it. I think the West Village is one of the prettiest locations in the world. Also, in this little corner of the village, there is no room for other more commercial stores to open up next door to me, and I am glad about that."
The store is chock full of the pieces that have made A.P.C. a consistent favorite among the style set, including the label’s go-to denim, jersey striped tops, and shift dresses in peach and baby blue. For guys, there are cotton anoraks, plaid shirts and military-style chinos being offered up at the moment. Aside from men’s and women’s collections, the store also stocks accessories, the brand’s recently launched children’s line, designer collaborations, and house wares like quilts made from material used in past A.P.C. collections.
It's hard to ignore A.P.C. and Touitou's cult following these days -- Kanye West reportedly even sought the designer's advice when he was launching his ready-to-wear line last year. The brand also has a strong fan base of New Yorkers because of its unique take on Parisienne cool. Touitou reflected on his success in New York: "I can’t pinpoint it, but perhaps it is because we are an authentic brand with our own atelier and we are not controlled by accountants. Maybe this talks to New Yorkers, the fact that I am not selling out."
Besides this latest store in New York City, the A.P.C. brand is in expansion mode around the world, with new stores opening up in Paris, Berlin and Milan. Touitou said, "I feel comfortable during [these] hard economic times. And compared to other brands, three or four stores, worldwide, every year, isn't a lot. It just feels right to me and because we are an independent brand I can follow my gut, which is a nice feeling."