Grand Opening of Men’s Boutique “Isle of Man”

By Patty Wetli | Monday, October 18, 2010

Isle of Man reflects its owners' passions for motorcycle racing and classic style--Steve McQueen meets Ralph Lauren. Photo by Patty Wetli.

It’s not like there’s a sign on the door that says “no girls allowed,” but Isle of Man, the newest addition to Northcenter’s bustling retail corridor, isn’t bashful about its target customer–just read the name.

“This is where Lawrence of Arabia would shop if he were still alive,” said manager Adam Voigts, who greeted a non-stop stream of customers over the weekend during the store’s long-anticipated grand opening. (Buzz was so strong, Isle of Man turned up on must-shop lists while still officially in “coming soon” mode.)

Heavy on the leather and dark wood, Isle of Man (3856 N. Lincoln) feels like an old-school gentleman’s club (complete with coffee table books opened to photos of nude women), if the gentlemen you know are into motorcycles and scented candles, skulls and antique steamer trunks. It seems at Isle of Man, it’s OK to use cuticle salve, as long as you know how to wield a butcher knife too.

“We’re really harkening back to a craftsman style,” explained Voigts. The ideal customer, perhaps more urbane than urban, is less interested in the latest disposable trend and more willing to invest in high-quality, well-made apparel and accessories of timeless appeal. Along with grooming products by Baxter and bags by Pan Am, to name a few brands, Isle of Man also offers its own private-label line of t-shirts and racing-inspired clothing.

The eclectic mix of merchandise reflects the tastes of co-owners Arthur Holstein, a former hotelier, and Brice Cooper, one-time host of HGTV’s “Design on a Dime,” who share a passion for motorcycle racing and classic style. The pair spent the past six months scouring the planet for rare and unique items of character, which include a hide-covered barber’s chair that dates back to the 1800s, looking fresh off the set of “Sweeney Todd” – which may give some pause to take the store up on its offer to demonstrate proper shaving technique.

For every guy who has ever been forced to hold his wife or girlfriend’s purse while she dallied for hours in the fitting room of some chi-chi boutique, you now have your revenge.

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