CHRISTIAN COWAN OPENS FLAGSHIP STORE IN SOHO NYC
The celeb-favorite is set to open a 5,000-square-foot flagship showroom and atelier, with 50% of the first week’s proceeds going to CARE.org to benefit Ukraine
Christian Cowan has been delighting the world with his fun, fabulous, and fearlessly-optimistic collections for years. And starting tomorrow, his life’s work will finally have a home, at 76 Wooster Street in SoHo.
After attending both Central Saint Martins and the London College of Fashion (neither of which he graduated from), the brave young Cowan moved to the Big Apple to pursue his fashion dreams, and founded his label in 2016. His designs—with their overt use of color and sequins and feathers mixed with Cowan’s own air of bravado—quickly won him a celebrity fan base, including Lady Gaga, Beyoncé, and Miley Cyrus. The club kids and fashion scene folk loved him too since they wanted something utterly recognizable and loud, yet chic at the same time. And in 2018, he was a finalist for Vogue’s Fashion Fund alongside lines like Collina Strada and Christopher John Rogers.
Fast forward to 2022, and Cowan is carried in major department stores and online destinations and can boast a truly dedicated cache of loyal customers from all over New York City. His last collection even became the “highest fashion show in history” when he showed his F/W 22’ line at the top of One World Trade Center, 102 floors above the city.
Now, Cowan will reach a new zenith in his career as he welcomes friends and family to his fresh new flagship store at the intersection of Spring and Wooster, an area known for its rich history and easy-chicness.
“Originally, Grace Jones had a restaurant here,” Cowans tells V breathlessly from a Zoom call as he’s running around Manhattan getting ready. “And before that, Andy Warhol lived in it and had it as his secret creator space-thing. So, it’s really cool to just think of the legends who have operated in this space before me.”
And so this year, a new legend takes up the space on Wooster Street! One who cares about the world around him, too. “50% of all the proceeds from the first week of sales are going to CARE.org to benefit the people of Ukraine,” he says. “Because it feels weird to do a luxury store opening, and then ignore the fact that there’s a war happening. So we want to do whatever we can to help.”
The store will also be supported by Square as its paperless payment partner, as well as by a partnership with Smashbox Cosmetics, which will have in-store glam stations and MUAs for guests to match makeup to Cowan-outfits on the spot.
V caught up with the plucky Brit and NYC-favorite 48-hours before the store opening to discuss more about the space, what to expect, and why the American Dream isn’t dead just yet. Truly, the energy was that of an expectant parent about to give birth!
Read the full interview below:
V Magazine: Hello, darling! Thank you so much for speaking with us about this store opening! Gosh, you must be busy right now.
Christian Cowan: Oh, I’m beyond super busy right now… which is honestly when I’m at my happiest! This has been a dream of mine, obviously, since I was a kid. So to see it happening in front of my eyes… It’s kind of wild. We’ve never even done a pop-up store before. So this is our first time, and we’re jumping in at the deep end.
V: Not to be cliche, but: why a store? Why now?
CC: Ha! Well, obviously, we love doing our runway shows, which are fantastic. But that just such a brief dipping of your toe into the world of Christian Cowan. So it’s nice to finally be able to have a place which is curated by us, and which allows the customer to come and really delve into our world. And for me, it’s not just about it being a retail opportunity. It’s not just a point of sale. It’s about being able to really experience the brand. So the store will have art and sculptures from artists which I love and have curated, we’re gonna offer consultations for design services. And the downstairs is actually the atelier and the office. So should a guest ever be like, Oh, I really want this wedding dress or whatever. And I can literally run upstairs and be like, well, let’s go through fabric swatches. I’m just so pumped to have that direct line to the consumer and get their feedback.
V: And you’re really going all-in for New York!
CC: Oh, 100%. I mean, my career, bar my studying which was in London, my career is completely in America. Without being cheesy, I live the American Dream. I came over with literally no money, no funding, no support, and have made this brand happen. And you know, it started off in those early days doing celebrity customs and being in the Vogue Fashion Fund, to now expanding our team and having a store and doing our shows. So yeah, America is 100% the home of the brand… and I’m a resident of America now, too!
V: Do you think the American Dream is still a thing in some way?
CC: I’m a firm believer, because obviously, every country has its flaws. But you can still come to America without anything. And through sheer hard work, or talent, or grit, or whatever it may be, you can achieve your dream. And, I mean, this is just a perfect example of it.
V: And community support is so important.
CC: Totally. Our brand is so backed by communities. We’re all about celebrating our queer culture and club kid culture. And what I love about this space is, originally, Grace Jones had a restaurant in it. And before that, Andy Warhol lived in it and had it as his secret creator space-thing. So, it’s really cool to just think of the legends who have operated in this space before me. Especially two people who I personally adore so much. There are actually original features that Grace put it herself that I’ve kept. We’ve completely refurbished the store, we’ve done carpeting, installations, and new walls, and all that stuff. But there are some features, like Grace’s go-go booth, that we’ve maintained.
V: As well you should! Will the rest of the store be Cowan-pink and fab?
CC: For me, it’s about balancing. It’s about being our fabulous and creative and expressive selves, while also making it really clear that we’re a serious commercial entity that’s launched our first retail experience. It’s about balancing what you associate with a luxury store, and what we are as an identity. So powder pink carpets, for sure. We created this giant, floating square powder pink wall that spans the two floors. And it’s a big store at 5000 square feet. So I’ve got a lot of space to play, which has been really cool. We’ll also be doing scheduled events for months and months to come. We’ve already planned six months worth of events, and we’re going to continue doing so. So it’s gonna be really experiential, and of course, very fun!
V: And what are you most excited for right now?
CC: I’m most excited to meet our customers face to face and show them where their new fashion destination is going to be. It will be so nice to finally have a place to welcome them!
The Christian Cowan Store is located at 76 Wooster Street, New York NY, 10002. Its hours of operations will be Wednesday through Saturday from 11am-7pm; Sunday, 11-5pm; and closed on Monday and Tuesday.