Damn, The Consumerist beat us to it. We were walking up Fifth Avenue on the same day, and got practically the same picture. The Shophound has avoided talking about the big Abercrombie & Fitch gay nightclub because, well, it’s kind of old news, and too easy of a target even for us, but, really, these sorts of shenanigans just force our hand. Oh, it’s a store? Nooooo. It’s an exercise in absurdity. America might continue to believe what they want, but any New Yorker (of any persuasion) can recognize a gay bar when it sets up shop on the corner of 56th and Fifth. Let’s count the clues…
More after the jump
1. No Windows
Abercrombie has yards and yards of wrap-around windows which they use for an expansive display of…shutters? Yep, endless rows of shutters. In classic pre-Stonewall style, the windows are covered to protect the anonymity of the patrons.
3. Giant Beefcake Photos
Well, these really speak for themselves.
And we’ve barely made it inside.
Bartenders Sales Staff
And there’s so many of them. Way more than customers. Mostly they stand around in groups of threes, folding, posing and chatting. It’s not that they are aloof, quite the contrary, but most of them seem young enough to be unaware that they could be making a lot more money modeling for Ford or Elite instead of folding jeans.
6. The Music
Loud, loud, loud dance music. Disco and pop remixes. Did we mention it was loud?
7. The Lighting
Or lack thereof. Typically, a retailer would want merchandise to be clearly visible, but not here. No, inside Abercrombie & Fitch it’s always nighttime, with low, flattering lighting, so you can look your best when you meet that special someone.
8. The Décor
The theme here is Hunting Lodge meets Manhattan Lounge, potted palms and canoes, but the finishing touch is the artwork. No, not the blown-up beefcake photos but the ersatz Thomas Eakins-style painting that runs the entire height of the central stairwell. It depicts a vintage gymnasium and, apparently, locker room with an abundance of subjects in and out of period athleticwear and, of course, underwear.
Well, what more do you need to know? You can get a good idea of the company’s interpretation of fair hiring practices from this interview in Salon with
plastic surgery Frankenstein CEO Mike Jeffries. Basically it sounds like a personals ad, no trolls or fatties, lawsuits be damned! It's a publicist's nightmare. It would be embarrassing if it weren't so damn funny.