90 Years. That's how long that Barneys New York has served as a cultural institution and shopping mecca. "And remember, Barneys started out as a men's store," says Tom Kalenderian, executive vice president and head of menswear. While the original location was nestled down in Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood, most have come to think of the nine-floor flagship on the Upper East Side as ground zero. Last night, a newly refurbished sixth floor refurb was unveiled — a bright, modern space that stands in direct opposition to the dark, "old boys club" aesthetic (and showcases the clothes quite nicely, too).
On hand for the celebration was hockey star Henrik Lundqvist, fresh off a well-earned vacation. The Rangers goalie was wearing a checked blazer and slim gray trousers, and looking excellent as always. Lady Esquire™ caught up with Lundqvist to talk about his favorite designers, his love of tailoring, and how he's helped inspire his team — and the NHL — to dress better.
Esquire.com: Welcome back! We hear that you're back from vacation (aka the off-season). Are you happy to be back in NYC?
Henrik Lundqvist: Thrilled. My family and I spent two months back home in Sweden and as much as we love it there, we're happy to be back. I'm really motivated to get back to daily training with my teammates for the upcoming season.
ESQ: We can't wait to see you and the rest of the Rangers back on the ice, but until then, this is fun. How did you link up with Barneys to help co-host this event?
HL: Well Barneys is a New York style institution and they know that I love fashion and shopping, so they asked. It was an easy yes for me.
ESQ: Impressive. You're perenially at the top of the heap in both your profession, hockey, and when it comes to "Best Dressed" lists. Is it a lot to balance?
HL: In regards to fashion, I have help [looks to wife Therese Lundqvist] and luckily she loves to shop — but it's easy when you're passionate about it.
ESQ: [To Therese] I bet he's hard to shop for.
Therese Andersson: Actually, no. We've been together for a long time and his style has been pretty consistent. His sensibility hasn't shifted; the concentration is always on fit.
ESQ: Yeah, fit has become his signature. I remember when we styled you for our November issue, I knew you liked your tailoring cut lean. But when you got on set you were saying, "Slimmer, leaner, tighter." You walked out on set with safety pins all the way down the back of your suit, and it started out slim.
HL: Ha! I remember that. What can I say? It's my thing. I've always aligned myself with a more modern, European fit. I maintain that fit is the thing that makes or breaks an outfit. Good tailoring trumps designer and price any day.
ESQ: I second that. Speaking of, every male human in the tri-state area has one major question for you: Who is your tailor?!
HL: [Laughs] Just someone local by my apartment. She probably doesn't know me by name but she knows me by the way I like my clothes to fit.
ESQ: Nice! So who did you decide to wear tonight?
HL: I just came in yesterday and picked this outfit out with a personal shopper here on the floor. The blazer is Andrea Campagna and the grey flannel pants are Zegna. Of course, they tailored everything to my standards.
ESQ: Of course. We tip our hats to the personal shopper. He nailed it. On a side note, when and if you ever consider working with a stylist, you know how to find me. Let's make some fashion moments together.
HL: I will! I'm really pleased with the outfit and it's been great discovering new designers and such.
ESQ: So you don't have any favorite designers? You were saying that you just like what you like, right?
HL: Yeah, I don't shop by brand loyalty at all. I'm just drawn to what I like when I shop. I do like this brand called Tiger of Sweden a lot, though. They make great sportswear and tailoring. And Calvin Klein; big supporter of them as well.
ESQ: And Burberry, of course. You wore it to last year's NY Rangers Casino Night. That's a great brand for for you, I think. Your body type is the aspirational Burberry customer.
HL: Absolutely. I usually have a hard time with the fit of off-the-rack suits, thanks to my athletic proportions, but somehow Burberry always fits me perfectly. There's no tailoring really required, which is rare for me.
ESQ: With the season starting in less than a month, what is your approach to on-the-road style? Do you have certain outfits you set aside for traveling with the team and some you wear to events only?
HL: Nope, no special suits for game days. I like to keep all my favorites in the mix. I'm always trying to look my best, even when I'm just visiting a city for eight hours and then getting back on a plane again.
ESQ: That's commitment! But it makes you a great role model for such a metropolitan team. Have you noticed your influence rubbing off on your teammates' style?
HL: For sure. I'm not sure I can take credit for that evolution, but there's a noticeable shift in their desire to dress up and look their best. I used to hear it from them all the time — about my skinny ties and skinnier pants — but they kind of get it now.
ESQ: It's about time that the Rangers — and the NHL, in fact — started catching up with the other pro sports leagues with regard to style. So kudos for leading the way.
HL: It's been a cool evolution to watch. I'm a veteran of sorts in this league and to watch it all change is interesting — especially here in New York City. There's no "right" or "wrong" in fashion here, just different. I love all the different ways that New Yorkers show their individuality through what they choose to wear. My team is just a small reflection of that. Take ten guys from the team and there will be ten different fashion perspectives.