By  on August 23, 2007

NEW YORK — J. Crew's Madewell has landed its first Manhattan location in SoHo.

The brand, which is inspired by an old workwear label bought five years ago by J. Crew Group chairman and chief executive officer Millard "Mickey" Drexler, will open a two-level store at 486 Broadway, at Broome Street, in late November. The address, which housed Cowboy Clothing Shop and Western Spirit, has 2,000 square feet on the ground floor, 2,000 square feet on the second level and 2,000 feet on the lower level, real estate brokers said.

The store is the brand's first street location in the U.S., a strategy it plans to pursue. Madewell's five existing stores are in shopping centers.

A J. Crew spokeswoman confirmed that Madewell will unveil a store in SoHo before the holidays, but declined to comment on its exact location.

The company had been circling Manhattan for months, after successfully testing the waters in March with a temporary store whose address was kept secret to all but a select group of celebrities, editors and stylists.

The "secret store," as J. Crew called it, was in the company's headquarters at 770 Broadway, where a floor was transformed into a selling environment for Madewell. Among those who visited were Uma Thurman and Catalina Sandino Moreno ("Maria Full of Grace"). Michelle Willliams placed a phone order because she was going out of town and worried that the product would sell out. About 200 people shopped at the temporary store, where bestsellers included garment-washed denim, Eliot feminine tops, Wallace cardigans and Hi-Line T-shirts.

The company has touted the fact that young Hollywood actresses have been buying the clothes for themselves rather than waiting to be gifted. Reese Witherspoon, Winona Ryder and Chloë Sevigny shopped at Madewell's unit at Westfield Century City Shopping Center in Los Angeles.

Madewell launched a new fall Web site, madewell1937.com, which offers a tightly edited collection of bottoms, tops, jackets, shoes, handbags and scarves. Each pant style is shown with only one or two tops. Bootlegger jeans, $78.50, are paired with a tomato-color chiffon baby-doll cami, $58. Garment-dyed rail straight jeans, $89.50, are shown with a printed wide-stripe cami, $58, Tokyo blazer, $216 and d'Orsay heels, $148.J. Crew's SoHo store, on Prince Street between Greene Street and Mercer Street, is surrounded by luxury brands such as Apple, Camper, Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Vivienne Westwood. On Broadway, Madewell's neighbors will include H&M, Banana Republic, American Eagle Outfitters and Uniqlo.

In addition to Century City, other Madewell stores are at NorthPark Center, Dallas, and Domain, Austin, Tex.; Fashion Show, Las Vegas, and The Mall at Short Hills in Short Hills, N.J. A Madewell store is set to open on Sept. 7 at the Natick Collection in Natick, Mass.

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