It didn’t take long for Gary Ritacco to decide on a name for his South End menswear shop, Uniform. It’s a word that reflects his outlook on life: “I do everything in uniform fashion,” Ritacco explains while simultaneously talking and answering emails. When we arrive for the photo shoot, Ritacco is dressed smartly in a fitted plaid button-up and brown corduroys, exuding the kind of fashion-forward sensibility that his boutique is known for.
Ritacco’s SoWa loft, designed by Boston-based Ruhl Walker Architects, is just as stylish and efficient. Thanks to movable translucent partitions that swing and slide, the unit can be transformed from a one-bedroom to a two-bedroom in just a few minutes. Ritacco and his partner, Michael Hunter, were among the first tenants to move into the building when it was first completed in 1999.
Throughout the space, Ritacco’s collection of vintage furnishings, eclectic treasures, and contemporary fashion reflect his sharp sense of humor and love of the unusual. A Pee-wee Herman marionette welcomes guests (“That show was way beyond its time—so brilliant,” Ritacco says), while above, track lighting curves whimsically throughout the unit as if designed by Tim Burton himself. Several Kartel tables flank the sofa in the living room, which also features a coffee table accented by a vintage Tiffany’s ashtray and a hologram-covered Alexander McQueen tome.
Ahead, Ritacco shares the stories behind some of the items that reflect his chic, quirky sensibility.
Always on Time
Ritacco began collecting watches many years ago, and still has a few original Swatches from the 1980s. Some of his fine timepieces were gifted from Hunter, but his favorite is a 1950s gold Hamilton—originally a gift from his mother to his father—that he recently had restored.
Walk this Way
Ritacco is a self-professed shopaholic with a weakness for fine footwear. “I don’t have any kids,” he says with a laugh, “so it’s tuition money.” Ritacco’s favorite pairs are New Balance 420s that came from his own store, suede Tod’s, and several Prada dress shoes. “She’s just right on the money,” he says of designer Miuccia Prada.
“Collecting these pieces was a part of us making a home together,” Ritacco says of Hunter’s favorite Fiesta dinnerware.
One of the most distinctive pieces in Ritacco’s loft is a Catholic-votive-candle rack that a friend found in an alleyway behind Newbury Street and refurbished by painting it gold. The updated fixture sits next to the bed, complete with a red velvet prie-dieu (prayer bench). The collage above the altar, painted by Ritacco’s brother, features a black-and-white photograph of Marilyn Monroe’s body at the morgue.
When Ritacco and Hunter were packing up to move into their loft, a shelf in the china cabinet collapsed, and they lost several pieces of their prized gray-checkered Tiffany china. Since then, friends and family have hunted for replacements to complete their set. “We ended up with a bigger collection than it would have been originally,” Ritacco says.
Eclectic candlesticks throughout the loft hold an array of tapers. Some were gifts, while others were personal indulgences from the local design boutique Patch NYC. Ritacco also enjoys scented candles, especially Kilian’s amber-and-patchouli candle “A Taste of Heaven” from Saks Fifth Avenue (he even has the matching cologne).