THE WATHNE WAY
Byline: Sharon Edelson
NEW YORK — The Wathne sisters, Berge, Soffia and Thorunn, spend much of their time flying over the African plains in their hot-air balloon, skiing in Aspen or angling in Alaska, which leaves one wondering where they find time to design the stylish sport and adventure-inspired apparel and accessories, which until recently have been available only via catalog.
According to a spokeswoman, the peripatetic sisters — natives of Iceland — gather inspiration from their travels and design the collections when they touch down in New York in between trips.
Wathne enthusiasts, who may have wanted to crawl inside the glossy pages of the catalogs, which depict better-than-average-looking men and women engaged in healthy, active lifestyles, now have another way to buy the merchandise.
On Dec. 3, Wathne opened its first retail store — a 1,400-square-foot flagship — at 4 West 57th Street, here.
The store, with its lacquered hunter green facade, has the Wathne trademark crown and fish in cast-bronze relief perched over the vestibule.
The interior looks like it could be the Park Avenue apartment of a successful attorney, an active sportsman, and his wife, an accomplished horsewoman. Or, maybe they just dress the parts.
The centerpiece of the store is a fireplace with a handcarved limestone mantel. Across from the fireplace, an overstuffed leather couch adds to the relaxed, residential feel. Hanging above the couch is a chandelier made of antlers.
Other design features include Venetian plaster walls and moldings, pearwood display cases and a French limestone floor.
The store carries the full complement of Wathne products, from sterling-silver trout-shaped belt buckles ($360) and silk scarves ($95), to suede quilted hunting jackets ($1,585) and ski suits ($950). There is a line of sophisticated equestrian-inspired apparel, including cavalry twill riding jackets ($695), jodhpurs ($295) and long, black riding coats with velvet collars ($895).
Wathne is also known for its angling gear, which includes salmon flies ($25), thigh waders ($155) and oilcloth vests ($350).
With its understated elegance and comfortable furnishings, visitors to the store may feel less inclined to shop than to sit in front of the fire and take in the lifestyle.