“The women in Tribeca look amazing!” says Christina Lehr. “I wanted them to wear my clothes.” Working women and mothers who want casual and easy clothes that are also chic, they’re Lehr’s ideal customer—which is why the West Village resident opened her first boutique on Reade, in the former Kiva Cafe space. “I was coming down here all the time, and it felt right,” she says. “I want to live here—I hope to eventually.”
She leased the space after her boyfriend—Jack Mazzola of Jack’s Stir Brew cafés—considered putting a café there. “He looked at the space years ago, to buy it. And then he got a call when it came on the market again. He was going to put a Jack’s here, but he just opened a store in Amagansett. He asked if I wanted a store.”
She felt the time was finally right. Christina Lehr, the company, has been available wholesale for nine years, including at Steven Alan and Calypso in Tribeca. “But I’d like to know my customer better,” says Lehr. “You have an idea, of course, but I wanted their feedback, to know what they love.”
As anyone who ever went to Kiva will guess, the store is tiny, just 350 square feet. It’s been totally reconfigured, with white walls and white-painted brick, the better to highlight Lehr’s “no-fuss” separates. “It’s all cotton knitwear, and it’s all pre-washed,” she says. “People will tell me they hang-dry it or whatever, and I’m like, ‘You don’t have to do that!’” It’s all made in Belgium, at a factory that her father, Henry Lehr, had used: “The factory is family-owned, which I really like.”
She plans to rotate in new pieces every few weeks, including merchandise that’s not hers (such as rain boots, by a Japanese company, that you can roll up when you’re not wearing them). “I’m not going to carry a belt just to carry a belt, but only if I come across one I love or that enhances a piece,” she says. And—in a move that’s likely to go over well—she’s going to make kids’ clothes for the first time. Look for them in the next month or two.
Christina Lehr is at 139 Reade (bet. Hudson and Greenwich); christinalehr.com.