Naked People Ruehl...
Or at least that's how it would seem, given the splash image on the site for Ruehl No. 925, the Abercrombie & Fitch-owned clothier with stores in such fashion-forward locations as Schaumburg, Illinois, and Novi, Michigan. A new location will open at the Galleria in November, and according to WWD.com, Ruehl focuses on NYC-inspired looks sold behind "brownstone storefronts designed to look like a Greenwich Village town house" and will also feature "checkout counters in a 'back porch'-style setting."
Ruehl 925 has just one store in NYC's Village, and it's the one and only outlet in a supremely urban setting. The rest of the stores, marketed to suburbanites as urban fashion, are conveniently opened in places like Dallas and across the Midwest for people who don't know (or, probably in more cases than not, care) what people in Greenwich Village actually wear.
The A&F marketing scheme seems to revolve around the art of making opposites attract. They use Hollister to bring California-inspired beachwear to the most land-locked of towns. Their catalogs have famously used naked people to sell the clothes. Now, the company is packaging New York City style to sell to the suburban masses. I can't speak to what the people in California actually wear, but I can say a thing or two about New York City, where they haven't even bothered to install a Hollister, probably because of one simple fact: If there is one place in NYC you don't shop, it's Abercrombie & Freaking Fitch.
The only A&F in Manhattan is in what is very nearly the only mall-like place in Manhattan, the South Street Seaport, which is for tourists. A&F is for comfy suburban kids who drive jeeps and, presumably, roll around naked in their suburban backyard grass. It's the kind of store hot PTA moms and their hot prepster daughters can share shirts from. It is not, strictly speaking, the kind of place you see NYC fashionistas Mary-Kate and Ashley, Lindsay, Nicole or Paris tearing through the racks.
Ruehl won't be bringing NYC to Dallas; they'll be bringing another lame marketing ploy to Dallas. I suspect that the Plano kids will totally dig it. --Andrea Grimes