Storefront: Etiqueta Negra
Like a Johnny Walker on the rocks, Etiqueta Negra’s new SoHo boutique has a smooth, warm masculine sensibility, and the name translates to Black Label. The latest South American import to the New York retail scene (following, most recently, Osklen) is the first international venture by Polo player and car aficionado Federico Alvarez Castillo. His car collection rotates among the 12 stores, and a 1938 cherry red Alfa Romeo is currently parked in the New York location, quite prominently.
I first discovered Etiqueta Negra on a trip to Buenos Aires, which is a city where a men’s wardrobe, consists of an ironed dress shirt, a T-shirt for layering, good jeans (they’ve already good genes), a dress shoe during the week and a driving shoe for weekends in the Mendoza or trips to Punta del Este. This sensibility is as Argentine as the imported wooden planks used to decorate the SoHo store or the Argentine leathers on the racks. What you also get are modern basics with a slim, Argentine/European fit that build timeless wardrobes.
The store, which I saw yesterday, is like Argentina: user-friendly and ready for a visit by your average Joe (hear that, tourism board?). They have the dressier components-Italian made suits, cashmeres sweaters, and crisp white shirts (with a little stretch, for a pinch of Latin sex appeal)-on one side, and “Argentine casual” pieces, Peruvian pima cotton T-shirts, washed blue shirts, and no-fuss jeans, on the other. Castillo are the owners and outfitters of the top ranked Argentine polo club, the Ellerstina club, and downstairs you can find everything polo, and the women’s collection, designed by his wife, Paula Cahen d’Anvers. (PHOTO: MIGUEL ENAMORADO)
It’s the soft, rich leathers and exotic lizard skins that are cause to come back. Check out especially the belted “Belstaff” jacket in black leather. Now you can sip Malbec like a native, without leaving the city behind you.
The new Etiqueta Negra boutique is located at 272 Lafayette Street, New York.