Here in the Hamptons there are many boutiques and labels which strive to capture the essence of patrician weekend-wear. While the old guard still sport their St. James stripes and lightweight Chanel tweeds and the unsure stick to Ralph, Lily, and whatever the Intermix mannequins are wearing, the young, the artsy, and the sartorially aware movers and shakers have learned to use Blue&Cream in East Hampton as their closet, stylist, and evening hangout par excellence.
Curious as to the origins of this rather avant-garde collective, we hit up the store's creator and owner Jeff Goldstein and got him to give us the 411 on juxtaposition, staying ahead of the curve, and why Charlotte Ronson is his muse: Many people fantasize about opening their own store, but few actually act on it, and fewer still make it work. Was there anything in particular that made you not only want to start Blue&Cream, but have faith in its success? Having grown disenchanted with Hamptons nightlife I was looking for another way to connect with friends while spending time in the Hamptons without greasing up at the beach- I toyed with opening a restaurant and came very close with the chef from MOOMBA but the stars weren’t aligned. One weekend in April I happened upon a vacant retail store, formerly a high end dress shop Jimmys, and the idea was born. When I found the vacant space I devised the fundamental concept of Blue&Cream: juxtaposing high end fashion with street influences. High end fashion at first was represented by Womens' designer clothing, and the street was represented by brands like aNYthing, ALIFE, DQM, SSUR, and NIKE SB.
You named Blue&Cream after a Raekwon song, and have said that the store is a fusion of high end and cutting-edge streetwear, but, at least in its East Hampton incarnation, I don't get much of a street vibe, especially on the women's side. Where do you feel the urban meets urbane? You just don’t get it, but that’s okay. The street isn’t about trying to prove anything to anybody, the street just is what it is. I was born and bred in Manhattan. I still mix it in where it needs to be mixed in. Next time you are in my East Hampton store looking through the racks of Temperley, Zac Posen, Phillip Lim, Alexander Wang and Charlotte Ronson- keep your ears open , you might hear some rap music. How do you decide what to stock? Are there specific criteria? We go after brands we like and we think are cool- recently I have turned my attention to Martin Margiela and Yohji Yamamoto, bringing in the international influence keeps the offering a step ahead in trends. I look at every brand that comes at me, sending us lookbooks and emails, and if something is appealing we embrace it. We never go after something solely because we think it will sell. Commerce is secondary to the Art of fashion.
You stock a lot of fledgling and up-and-coming designers; are there any you feel you've discovered, or helped thrust into the spotlight? Do you think discovering new talent is part of the Blue and Cream credo? No, discovering new talent is not part of the Blue&Cream credo, if new talent is hot and we discover it, that’s all good. Maintaining a unique perspective, never following the pack, always staying ahead of the the curve- that could be more aptly described as my credo for Blue&Cream. As far as designers, I support Charlotte Ronson. I didn’t discover her, but I’ve been with her every step of the way- since she cut up tanks and ignited a global trend which others have made millions of off, in fact its fair to say a big part of why I opened this store was so that she could be better represented in the Hamptons. Charlotte Ronson is the muse of the Blue&Cream lifestyle brand.
You just opened up the Bowery branch this past year; are there others in the works? Where do you want to take Blue&Cream? My goal for Blue&Cream retail stores is to present an experience organic to the markets in which we open, I am adverse to the concept of rolling out uniform retail models in different markets. On the Bowery for example, we created an industrial space with rotating art exhibits in recognition of the burgeoning arts scene on the LES. You won't see 50 Blue&Cream’s in my lifetime- the next Blue&Cream will be more unexpected and people will go out of their way to check it out- in time each Blue&Cream should have as significant an impact on its respective market as the original has had on Easthampton.
If you had to come up with a Hamptons Can't Miss list, what would be on it? For Women- Alexander Wang Tanktop, Phillip Lim Cardigan, Cynthia Vincent gladiators, and Ksubi Denim. For Men- Light wash Spurr Denim, Fins, Rogues Gallery Vintage Tee, and a Rag&Bone Cardigan.