Emily Adams Bode is not one to make a big fuss — even about her first store opening on the Lower East Side, which was definitely a big something on Monday night. When I arrived early to the designer’s new space on 58 Hester Street, there was already a line of people out the door. GQ editor-in-chief Will Welch was there. So was the newly appointed W magazine editor, Sara Moonves. Plus pretty much every other fashion editor and fashion-adjacent New Yorker, all pining over one of her one-of-a-kind garments.
Instead of a stuffy store opening, though, it felt like a party at someone’s apartment. Bode’s friends from high school were there, too. Family photos hang on the wall. Plastic bins filled with ice and chilled Budweiser were tucked in various nooks around the store. This is exactly the sort of intimate atmosphere Emily Adams Bode hopes to cultivate, whether it’s at her studio nearby, where clients used to go for fittings, or with her designs, which are sourced from vintage fabrics like quilts and table cloths, and recently earned her Emerging Designer of the Year at the CFDA Fashion Awards.
The space, which is covered in a dark wood paneling, was designed by Green River Project LLC, a design firm founded by Bode’s fiancé, Aaron Aujla, and Ben Bloomstein. They were inspired by the look and feel an old American modernist hotel lobby — there’s even a bed — but being there feels more like hanging out in a cozy basement, or a a life-size souvenir box. You want to stay a while and explore. Little alcoves were built-in throughout to display the oddities and ephemera Bode has collected over the years. And the more time I spent inside, the more I noticed, like a hand-painted fresco on the ceiling, green billiards-table-felt lining in the dressing rooms, and a mahogany rail car sofa. There’s even an 1890s clay fountain in the front of the store, which was reclaimed from a building in Chicago, and was up and running again on Monday night.
Still, there’s so much more I didn’t see — so many small details left hidden. Unlike shiny new department stores like Nordstrom, Bode feels like a place you might discover by accident; a place to know, and get to know. Perhaps there are some secrets here, yet.