Hollister Co., Flagship Store

Hollister Co., Flagship Store

Photo: Pamela Grossman

Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Women's Clothing


I'd heard a bit about the four-story flagship store in SoHo for casual-wear label Hollister, which opened in July. It smells good, was one report. The greeters are almost naked, was another. Interesting. The Hollister brand is California-beach themed, and as summer turns to fall but my thoughts stay at the shore, I decided to investigate.

It's true that the store smells good. I'm not sure why or how, but it's suffused with a beachy, sunshiney scent that I found very appealing. Also true that the greeters, though wearing some clothes, aren't wearing much. And they're very friendly, in an unaffected way. I assume it's part of their job description to be chummy with the shoppers; but it's probably easier to be that way when you're so flat-out good-looking.

Yes, the store is four stories—lots of little rooms leading into one another on each floor. Unlike its Cali theme, it's dimly lit, but the lighting works to homey effect—as do the leather chairs and blankets, available for lounging on and under, and the magazines lying on little end tables—some fashion, some surf. Pop music plays loudly, making it seem as if a party might break out around the next corner.

With four floors of merchandise, I could only begin to sample the offerings. A taste: soft, heavily pre-washed jerseys (so soft and faded that they seem like "instant oldies"), printed with "Newport Beach California" and the Hollister logo, "Hollister Surf Team," etc.; $29.50; grey hoodies with blue or maroon strips ($59.50; men's clothing is labeled "dudes," and women's is "bettys," but items like these could easily be for either); a sturdy-but sexy flowered camisole, $44.50; jeans (including "distressed" and "destroyed," plus some vintage jeans, starting around $49.50); a big sale on shirts (cute t-shirts, polos, oxfords, and light-weight flannels, starting at $15.90); "California" cologne for men, perfume for women (I loved both; $50); mmm-scented body wash, $10; lip gloss, $9; a classic,wearable camisole in white, turquoise, red, orange, or grey, $19.50; a plaid miniskirt, $49.50; $29.50; a cheery red jacket jacket, for fall or mild winter days, $99.50; a flowy, layered halter top in navy, grey, or turquoise, which I was coveting, $29.50; and an ultra-soft grey t-shirt that says "Santa Monica Sharks Swim Team," with no Hollister logo but an extremely cool shark-shaped patch, on sale for $11.90, which I bought.

This store is lots of fun and should be seen just for the heck of it. But here's my unofficial breakdown of how various populations will respond:

If you're in charge of entertaining some "tween" girls (9-ish to 13-sh), take them here immediately. They will think that the store is, and you are, the coolest thing going. Tween boys won't quite get it (yet). Teenagers and college kids of both genders will very likely appreciate at least some of the clothing and will definitely appreciate the gorgeous, not-much-clothing-wearing greeters. Those in their 20s and 30s might come here for basics, rather than the trendier items, which seem to skew younger; those in their 40s and beyond will go for whatever appeals to them (and likely, some things will). And those of any age who'll be California dreaming through the winter months will be eager to drop in for a glimpse of one of my favorite features here: live video feed from the sands of Huntington Beach, CA. It warms my thoughts just to think of it—my next visit here will probably be on the day of New York's first snow. Surf's up, everyone.

  - Pamela Grossman; Oct 4, 2009

Hollister Co., Flagship Store
600 Broadway
(nr W Houston)
New York, NY 10012
(212) 334-1922