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Walking into the new Hollister store on Broadway and Houston today felt like walking into a frat party where all the beer had been replaced with t-shirts and denim. The store is huge, maze-like, and very, very dark, especially if you're coming in from a bright July noon. The lighting, the music, and the many little upholstered chairs and chandeliers scattered around together gave the place the feel of an old on-campus house bequeathed to the Deltas by a lifelong member. We expected the surfer influences to be stronger, but while there was, as promised, a pier and wall full of ocean-cams, the darkness and the many little rooms left us feeling distinctly land-locked.
As you wander in the gloom, avoiding potted plants and the shoppers who turned out for opening day (we'd estimate that there were more than a crowd, but less than horde), you'll come across surprises like the glowing cosmetics room, where five Hollister scents for women and an array of lipgloss reside in mirrored vitrines. Downstairs, you'll discover the swimwear section, as well as the two mostly-naked employees who are dancing around in front of shelves stocked with bikinis.
The partial nudity, by the way, is omnipresent, but what struck us more than the bare shoulders of the employees was how incredibly nice they all were. Tanned young things hanging out on the landings of the store's giant staircase seemed to be getting paid entirely to smile and say "Hey, what's up?" with such convincing interest that you're tempted to check your drink for roofies. But your drink doesn't exist, and you know you're being crotchety because you're not the target audience, so you just sort of smile awkwardly and continue down the stairs, hoping that if you stumble around blindly long enough, you'll find the exit.
· Epic Openings [Racked]
· Half-Naked Sentries Prepare Soho for Hollister's Arrival [Racked]