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The Romance of Jack the Ripper’s London

RUTH LA FERLA NYTimes.com
Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times

Hiroko Masuike for The New York Times


SOME girls will buy a cheap leather jacket and run it through the Maytag, or take a Brillo to a pristine pair of combat boots, roughing them up for that “I’ve seen action at Glastonbury” feel.



Those girls are apt to be found haunting AllSaints Spitalfields, the British retail chain and purveyor of a romantically pre-aged look — all dun-colored bustle skirts, fatigued leather satchels and battered canvas boots that conjure a sepia-tone universe straight out of the gaslight era.

The Romance of Jack the Ripper’s London - Fashion - Romance

The AllSaints New York outpost on Lower Broadway, the latest, and largest, in this fast proliferating brand, was conceived, so it seems, as a showcase for the beat-up trappings of an early industrial age. Its exposed brick walls and wood-and-steel-beam floors, and signature rows of old sewing machines suggest nothing so much as an East London warehouse fallen into desuetude.

The store’s alluringly sinister aura is, in fact, a major selling point, a mood that has been faithfully replicated in most of the company’s 70-plus shops around the world. The plan is “to offer the same consistency, globally,” Paul McAdam, the chief executive of AllSaints North America, said in an interview. “We don’t tailor our offering for any specific store or population.”




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