On a recent sun-drenched morning, Jeff Goldstein, 32, was sitting in a wicker chair outside the East First Street branch of his burgeoning boutique chain Blue & Cream, sipping an iced coffee and shouting out at the strangers walking by.
“Hey, guys! This is a great men’s and women’s clothing store!” he yelled at two stylish young women with designer handbags slung over their shoulders.
“I know,” one of them said. She didn’t stop.
“Oh, you do know,” Mr. Goldstein responded testily.
“To someone who doesn’t know me, I look like just some cashier salesman, a nobody,” he said. “Sometimes I think I scare away people. I mean I don’t even look like Mr. Fashion, I’m just a regular guy.”
Named after a Wu Tang Clan song called “Glaciers of Ice” which Mr. Goldstein happily rapped for The Observer, about dyeing a pair of Clark Wallabee shoes, Blue & Cream carries designers of the moment like Alexander Wang, 3.1 Phillip Lim and Zac Posen alongside expensive streetwear worn by mostly rich, mostly white kids who grew up on hip-hop culture. Its two locations—one on the Bowery, the other in East Hampton—have won over fashion editors and celebrities ranging from Lindsay Lohan and Russell Simmons to Russian billionairess Anna Anisimova.
Mr. Goldstein talks about Blue & Cream as a “concept” and a “lifestyle brand.” It’s not just a place to buy clothes, but an art gallery (currently the downtown store displays works by ’80s graffiti artists Noah McDonough and Andy Dolan); a party venue; and a destination for his friends.
“It’s not like I go to Blue & Cream really quickly because I want to try on a dress,” said Dani Stahl, the style director at Nylon magazine, who has been friends with Mr. Goldstein since they both went to high school in New York. “I want to go, get an iced coffee, hang out on the couch, recap the evening and ultimately run into someone I know.”
“Hello! Welcome!” Mr. Goldstein was suddenly shouting, brightening at the sight of a prim young Asian woman wearing a polka-dotted summer dress about to enter his store, who responded with a cautious “who are you” side glance. “Please look around! Check out the sale stuff, O.K.?”
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