Twenty-five years after the closing of Dapper Dan’s Boutique in 1992, the new atelier will offer clients the opportunity to have bespoke Dapper Dan of Harlem garments made for them by Dapper ‘Dap’ Dan, using Gucci raw materials, fabrics, prints, embroidered patches and hardware. The custom-made pieces will be available exclusively at the new atelier on Lenox Avenue close to the original location, which will be open “by appointment only” from January 2018.
“Everyone paid homage to Dapper Dan, but no one ever paid him,” said Dapper Dan. “The people have spoken, and Gucci has listened. Nothing has been more significant in the Harlem cultural scene than Alessandro and Gucci coming to Harlem and partnering with Dapper Dan.”
The approximately 4,700 square foot space, housed in an historic brownstone, is comprised of a ground level storefront, a grand high-ceilinged parlour floor above, and an area for on-site production.
Covering the mansion-width of 25-feet and with exposures on three sides, the exceptional location was designed by A.B. Van Dusen for Edward Roberts in 1887. From 1899 and throughout the twentieth century, the unique Renaissance Revival building was intermittently home to a private girls’ school, a working women’s cooperative residence, a doctor’s office, a store, and more recently, residential units. The renovation and restoration was completed in back in 2014.
Rich velvet partitions, cherry red boiserie wall panels, and a warm white decorative tin ceiling are used as design elements throughout the ground floor, creating a private yet welcoming atmosphere. The rooms have been furnished with a combination of leather and wood pieces and a selection of unique vintage furniture, where clients will be able to discuss their ideas and options for their exclusive bespoke pieces, which will be accompanied by a certificate of authenticity.
The parlour floor, an impressive salon space, is accessed through a separate entrance via a classic exterior brownstone staircase. Historic detail elements including crown mouldings, decorative millwork, and pocket doors have been left intact, enhanced by subtle wall treatments, European vintage furniture and accessories, and a selection of Persian rugs.
Archival photographs from Dap’s heyday decorate the walls throughout, deepening the historical relevance between generations and cultures. The atelier’s custom design is a nod to both Creative Director Alessandro Michele’s aesthetic and the rich sartorial heritage of Harlem that was embodied by Dap’s original location.
The perspective through which this project has been conceived is: Made in Italy meets Made in Harlem and the 1980s meets 2018. Dap, renowned for the made-to-order creations he designed for celebrities, athletes, and hip-hop artists in the 1980s, is currently featured in Gucci’s men’s tailoring campaign. The portraits reflect Dapper Dan’s personality and celebrate his cultural legacy, capturing him in his Harlem, New York neighbourhood among familiar surroundings.