×

Why Blue&Cream Brought Personal Styling and Hip-Hop History to NYC’s Upper East Side

Blue&Cream has long been a Hamptons staple, boasting a robust client base of families who live in New York City and vacation over the summer on Long Island’s East End. Now, the retailer has a location to serve its Hamptons summer clientele closer to their home and all year round.

Last month, Jeff Goldstein opened his third Blue&Cream door, a 1,500-square-foot location on Madison Avenue in NYC’s Upper East Side. This is his second store in the city, having had a space in the Bowery neighborhood since 2007.

“My clients every summer ask, ‘When are you coming closer to us? We could really use it,'” Goldstein told FN. “This was the right time to open. My Hamptons clients are there, and this is convenient for those clients to visit us because they’re not heading all the way down to the Bowery.”

Although the opening of Madison Avenue marks Blue&Cream’s second store in NYC, the Upper East Side door operates far differently. The Bowery location, Goldstein said, is more foot traffic focused and has a heavy emphasis on top-tier Nike women’s product and fluid sizing in footwear, from 4 to 14. The Upper East Side location, much like  the Hamptons door, is much more personal-styling focused.

Goldstein’s hope for the Upper East Side store is for it to become “a neighborhood center,” where people will become enamored with its in-house style specialists.

“Because of our relationships with our clients in the Hamptons, we developed these family relationships. The kids now will grow up with Blue&Cream seasonal shopping, so they’ll come to the Hamptons in the summer and toward the end of the year, just like a normal retail trade cycle, we’re in back-to-school mode. They’ll make an appointment, parents sit on the couch and we’ll spend an hour going through the styling,” Goldstein said. “The way that people shop is more appointment-based, with a stylist who knows their style and is planning for them in advance of their appointment. When they arrive, they’re going to have a wardrobing experience rather than picking off the rack one by one.”

And it’s this styling, Goldstein said, that will ensure the health of the Upper East Side business for the long term.

“We’re really taking time with each client and tailoring their experience and their styling for that long-term relationship,” Goldstein said. “It’s either fully developed and now they’re coming back for appointments or it’s giving new consumers what Blue&Cream has been to so many loyalists and letting them have that experience in a new neighborhood.”

What’s more, there’s an educational component inside the new space. Goldstein set out to create an art gallery feel in the Upper East Side door, featuring hip-hop history and footwear and apparel that is synonymous with it. This is fitting, given that the Blue&Cream name came from a skit on the iconic 1995 Raekwon “Only Built 4 Cuban Linx” album, and the store’s window treatment is reminiscent of the logo of rap legends Mobb Deep.

“I’m a museum gallery, essentially sharing with my customers’ parents where this all came from,” Goldstein said. “The customers want to discover, but they also need a little bit of an education around things that translate from the culture to the contemporary styling. It’s represented and presented uniquely to give them something they’ve never seen and didn’t know that they needed to learn about.”

Inside, customers will be greeted by a soundtrack of classic rap from the 1990s while looking at art, including a Chi Modu photo of Biggie in front of the World Trade Center that was featured in Sotheby’s, a photo of Run DMC shot by Ricky Powell and more. Also, the walls are adorned with collectibles such as Supreme and Futura Laboratories skateboard decks, and there are decades-old Nike Dunks and Air Jordans to gaze at with every turn.

The brands inside are ones Blue&Cream customers are familiar with. In addition to selections from Nike and the Gucci x The North Face collab, shoppers will be able to shop looks from LoveShackFancy, Golden Goose, Chrome Hearts, Aviator Nation and others.

However, the most prominent apparel labels inside the store are Blue&Cream’s in-house lines.

“This is our home where people can understand the collections and how to wear them as part of their wardrobe,” Goldstein said. “The Tile Club is the fashion of the moment, which are cashmere sets elevated from fleece and cotton and sweatshirts in the colors of the season that make them easy for women to put on and go. She gets around in her white-on-white Air Force 1s and puts it with this Tile Club cashmere set. And a guy could throw on wild Jordans and put them head-to-toe with his Blue&Cream Collection grayscale fleece set.”

He continued, “This location is a place for the collections to live, to trend seasonally, to be discovered and for people to add as part of their wardrobe as something that goes alongside the streetwear and streetwear-adjacent things they already own.”

Blue&Cream is located at 1196 Madison Avenue and is open Monday through Friday from 9:30 a.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET and weekends from 10:30 a.m. ET to 7 p.m. ET.

DSW Sponsored

Designer Brands Celebrates 30 Years of Fabulous Footwear

Designer Brands commemorates its 30-year milestone anniversary.
Learn More

Access exclusive content