Just around the corner from the Andover Shop is the Cambridge branch of J. Press. "Just around the corner..." I was just struck by how unfair that is. In a country teeming with soulless malls, white bread franchises and cookie cutter chains - Cambridge is in damned good shape. There are those who will tell you Cambridge is changing. Pushing the unique shops out for the higher rents paid by Micky, Ralph and Tommy, et al. But for now, and I have no idea how much longer, you can take a step back in time.
Denis Black is the manager and is born of the cloth I reckon. Growing up his father managed the Boston Brooks Brothers. His blood must be oxford blue. I don't think anyone is prouder of this store than Denis. In a time when retail is run by accountants with zero interest in what they're selling - - Denis is the real deal. He reminds me of the very best I worked with at Brooks Brothers in the '80s. That is, people who had forgotten more than I'll ever know.
While the J Press in NYC is mid 20th century, Eames, Barcelona, bright and modern - the Cambridge Press is warm, worn, soft and comfortable. I would give anything to have a cocktail here on a rainy and cold autumnal afternoon. If Charlie Davidson is king of English goods at Andover - which he is - Denis heads up NAG (North American Goy). NAG, by the way, was first coined by me and I'm proud to say has never been used by anyone other than me.
This isn't a store as much as it's a museum. And in that knowledge Denis Black may be the only man working in apparel who has the right to be called a curator. Crammed in every nook are the ephemera of old brochures, catalogs, '60s store boxes and Harvard football scores. None of it was shipped here. It was born here. Authentic isn't strong enough a word for what you'll find at 82 Mount Auburn Street. I was even able to research khaki versus chino via a book Press used during WWII for uniform orders. Denis, don't ever sell that book to Ralph.