2006_11_ruehlstore.jpgYesterday, there was an interesting NY Times article about new trends in retail store design. Namely, how some stores are eschewing big windows for more secretive look - and how Ruehl, an off-shoot of Abercrombie & Fitch for the post-college consumer, looks like a city townhouse. While there is Ruehl on Bleecker Street that sells accessories, most of the stores are in the suburbs. From the article:

Intrigued by a store they cannot see into, consumers walk in to solve the mystery and stay to shop, executives said.

That, at least, is what Alessandra Conti, 16, and her classmate Michelle Palotta, 17, did when they saw Ruehl for the first time at a mall in Paramus, N.J.

“We said, ‘Oh, what is this?’ ” said Ms. Conti. “And so we had to go in.”

“It has this cool apartment vibe,” said Ms. Palotta. “Instead of being in Bergen County in the middle of New Jersey, we are on a street in New York, and that is where we want to be anyway — living in New York City.”

Oh, that is so cute. Wait till they move to NYC and realize what a cool apartment vibe will cost them. But the article was interesting about the dynamic of mall shopping, which we thought was very different from shopping in the city where people sometimes need to go into stores to discover the wonderful things inside. But then again, some parts of the city are basically like malls without the skylit roofs, so what do we know?

And when the NY Times' Alex Kuczynski visited the Ruehl location at the Garden State Plaza in NJ, she thought it was too dark, too loud, and poorly named (reminded her of Mercedes Ruehl).