Photographs by Bob Rozycki.
For those who play – or simply admire the lifestyle – Casablanca Polo in Greenwich has quickly become a go-to source.
In less than a year on the avenue, the store has proven itself a popular destination for players in search of everything from polo whites to helmets to leather boots.
With stores in Argentina, London and America, Casablanca Polo bills itself as “the world’s foremost producer of leading edge polo equipment and apparel.”
Knowing the sport from the playing field up has led to continued growth for the 10-year-old brand that started out as an equipment supplier, says Andrew Seibert, a partner in the company founded by brothers-in-law Stephen Alexander and Alejandro Viel in England.
As Seibert, a Greenwich resident, says, “Our tagline is ‘Inspired by Passion’ because we love it… We are polo players.”
Fellow players, he says, recognize “an authenticity,” one that has led to Casablanca working closely with a number of top players.
“They let us test our equipment on them,” Seibert says, with resulting products (equipment made in Argentina) featured exclusively in American stores in Houston and Greenwich.
Of course, setting up shop in Fairfield County wasn’t by chance.
“There’s seven clubs within a hundred miles of here, and that doesn’t count Saratoga,” Seibert says of the noted polo hotspot. “There is an experience here.”
OFF THE FIELD
But the attractive store, which deftly combines sleek sophistication with an easygoing approach, is equally welcoming of those who don’t know a mallet from a chukker.
The brand’s merchandise is designed to attract those in search of understated apparel and gear that emphasizes quality, durability and style.
“You don’t have to play polo to appreciate it,” Seibert says, showing WAG around on a recent afternoon. “It fits into the local aesthetic.”
Indeed, the store at first glance resembles a clothing boutique accented with polo equipment — by design.
“I don’t want to play it up to the point where you say ‘You can’t come in here if you don’t know how to ride a horse.’”
Even the logo — a graphic that upon a closer look is two horse tails — is not boldly emblazoned on the off-field clothing. Instead, one might notice it on a coat’s silvertone buttons or catch the company’s signature orange hue on a zipper pull.
“It’s kind of ‘If you know, you know,’” Seibert says.
And plenty already know, with Casablanca Polo not only serving as the official supplier for the Greenwich Polo Club, Seibert says, but also providing jerseys for the Audi Polo Team in Florida and for collegiate play, including the teams at Yale University, Skidmore College and Texas A&M University.
FOR EVERY MAN (AND WOMAN)
“Everything we do is kind of a mix of recreation and luxury,” Seibert says.
The luxury aspect is evident on a wool field jacket he pulls out, a waterproof style that’s far from bulky.
“The fit is very spot-on,” Seibert points out, adding that “all the outerwear, all the knits are made in Italy.”
The styles, store manager Tucker Roulx Pope adds, work well on all ages.
“This is what’s great about the clothing,” he says. “I can wear it and feel comfortable. …I wear a lot of our shirts untucked and (with) rolled-up sleeves.”
The 23-year-old, who grew up in Simsbury, will sell the same style to customers who work on Wall Street and wear the Oxford-style dress shirts “under a suit and tie.”
But Casablanca Polo isn’t ready to provide traditional business attire, Seibert quickly points out.
“The reality is the guys who play (polo) are horse lovers. They’re cowboys. We’ll never have ties or jackets.”
Versatility is exemplified by a suede bomber jacket, which within a week Pope sold to both a 65-year-old, California-based sports journalist and a twentysomething local.
“They’re going to wear it (with) completely different styles, (on) completely different coasts,” he says.
It’s all about seeing what works for each customer.
“I tell people all the time when they come into the store, ‘Please, try everything on.’”
After all, it’s not your everyday designer duds, Pope adds.
“You’re getting something a little bit different. You get a bit of flair.”
Further evidence? Look to the loafers sporting a skull-and-crossbones motif, an example of the company’s collaborative work with Del Toro Shoes in Miami.
While the dedicated equipment, which includes saddles and stirrups, whips and elbow pads, is for match day, some accessories — such as the sturdy kit bag — translate to a wider audience.
“I sold three of them to a couple going on safari to Africa,” Pope says.
And Casablanca Polo isn’t just for the gentlemen, Seibert points out.
“We take cues from our markets. The women would come in and say ‘What’s for us?’”
Now, there are options ranging from white skinny jeans to fitted T-shirts, footwear to casual jackets.
Representatives from the store are at the Greenwich Polo Club every Sunday in season, not only to showcase the brand but to educate those who might “have questions about the sport,” Pope says.
Customers can also settle into the store’s lounge area where polo coverage is featured on a flat screen or check out Casablanca on social media. (More than 4,000 follow it on Instagram).
It’s all about a connection, and on this late-winter afternoon, when the air holds that promise of spring, thoughts have already turned to the field.
“It’s really lucky when you’re able to stand outside on a Sunday afternoon under the blue sky and call it work,” Seibert says.
Cultivating an appreciation of the game in others is where Casablanca shines.
As Seibert says, “You can come in here and get everything you need — barring a horse — and go out and play tomorrow.”
He pauses, then adds with a laugh: “To be fair, I could even get you a horse if you need it. We know enough people.”
Casablanca Polo is at 133 Greenwich Ave. in Greenwich. For more, visit casablancapolo.com.