When it comes to shopping, beauty and fitness, there’s no city with as much variety as New York. From discounted designer wares to cool new concept salons, we’ve got something for every retail activist on our 2011 Hot List.
With & Wessel
247 Elizabeth St., 917-261-5607
Fans of minimalist cool-weather dressing will fall in love with this new Nolita spot from Norwegian-born husband-and-wife team Stian Tolnaes and Catherine Wessel. Interestingly, 100% of the goods here are made from eco-friendly merino wool, right down to the bras and undies. The emphasis is on layering — neutral-colored tanks and bodysuits, louche cardigans, floor-grazing dresses and paper-bag pants are meant to be piled on. The shop’s goal is to change the way we think about the textile, and here everything feels like silk (not the itchy annoyance we often associate with wool). The best part? At $35 to $250, chic layering comes at a price that won’t give you chills.
Uptown designer flagship:
797 Madison Ave., 212-510-8371
Just a warning: This UES townhouse-cum-flagship is so inviting, you’ll probably want to move in. No bed? No matter! There are bags and boots and beautiful clothes to keep you busy. The space’s thoughtful restoration and impeccable design reflects Burch’s signature uptown-with-a-twist aesthetic, and it’s packed with a dizzying mix of texture, prints and color. The store is essentially a one-stop shop for all your TB needs, as it carries the full range of ready-to-wear, shoes, bags and accessories.
Haven for sneakerheads:
175 E. 105th St., 212-360-7683
Formerly a bar, this Harlem shop now hawks a top-shelf selection of sneakers. A self-proclaimed sneaker fiend, owner Rosemary Frazier carries a fine selection of limited-edition and hard-to-find kicks. Among the name brands you’ll find at the boutique are Nike, Adidas, Reebok, Supra, Puma and Ralph Lauren — and she’s always eager to introduce new brands. The store mostly caters to men now, but there are some women’s and kids’ shoes, too. Tees, caps and other street wear round out the merchandise.
Downtown designer flagship:
103 Mercer St., 212-977-9683
Stylish young things had been waiting with bated breath for wunderkind Wang to open a NYC flagship — and, as of February, they breathed a sigh of relief. The 3,500-square-foot SoHo store — much like Wang’s coveted aesthetic — is minimalist, with tongue-in-cheek twists (including that fox-fur hammock suspended from the ceiling). Vast and white, the space (formerly occupied by designer Yohji Yamamoto) serves as an ample canvas for the goods: A well-curated selection of Wang’s seasonal clothes hang simply along the shop’s periphery, arranged by color, while the bulk of his signature bags are displayed on the back wall, each shining on its own shelf, not unlike covetable pieces of art.
4 W. 16th St., 212-561-5392
This West Coast import is all about the blowout. No cuts, no color, no anything but the whir of hairdryers. It’s set up like this: Patrons can choose from six types of cocktail-named blowouts, including the Manhattan (sleek and smooth), the Mai Tai (messy beach hair) and Southern Comfort (big hair, lots of volume). The fact that it opens at 8 a.m. makes city gals’ lives infinitely easier (that and the fact that every blowout is $40 regardless of hair length or type).
Discounted designer wares:
107 Crosby St., 212-966-0909
Once upon a time, SoHo wasn’t dominated by mall stores and the Midwestern tourists who love them, and this small boutique harks back to those halcyon days. Owner Katherine Virketien stocks the charming space with goods from on-the-rise talent, but it’s the discounted past-season designer goods that keep the doors revolving. Scoring a pair of Loubs for $380 or a piece by Vanessa Bruno or Stella McCartney at 70% off isn’t uncommon here.
The Village Scandal
19 E. Seventh St., 212-460-9358
Cloche chic! This East Village shop is a milliner’s dream, offering a staggering array of headwear: flat caps, Gatsby hats, top hats, derbies, cowboy hats, Panama hats, fedoras, toques, Greek fisherman caps, berets and, of course, select vintage styles. Grab a drink at nearby McSorley’s before swinging by to try on hundreds of styles — the Village Scandal is open late.
‘Look, ma, I’m rugged!’ men’s store:
Palmer Trading Company
137 Sullivan St., 646-360-4557
Like any robust Americana shop worth its salt, PTC is filled with dark, woodsy furniture, leather chairs, even an American flag propped up in the corner. The store — opened last fall by flea market junkies Willy Chavarria and David Ramirez — stocks a well-curated (if pricey) mix of made-in-the-USA men’s leather goods, clothes, shoes and bags, as well as an inspiring selection of vintage ephemera.
2488 Broadway, 646-692-4510
Is there anything better than wandering into an independent boutique to browse, only to realize, “Hey, I can actually afford to buy something”? We think not, which is why this year-old gem is worth the trip uptown. Owner Yael Levertov stocks a mix of casual wear ($39 T-shirts) and romantic dresses ($68-$89) and everything in between. Once it’s on your radar, you’ll be making trips regularly: The shop gets new merch every single week.
Addition to the Meatpacking District:
34 Gansevoort St., 212-243-2600
This serene 1,800-square-foot store, which officially opened in March, is twice the size of the designer’s original Mott Street boutique and draws inspiration from a historic Parisian apartment — a change from the district’s mostly industrial spaces. The racks are predictably packed with Taylor’s signature delicate, silky wares — all flowy and springy and fantastically girly. Another hit: the spacious, softly lit fitting rooms and a designated sale area, with select items up to 40% off.
Fashion meets art exhibit:
Daphne Guinness at FIT
The Museum at FIT 227 W. 27th St., 212-217-4530
If you loved “Alexander McQueen: Savage Beauty” (and who didn’t?), this is an immediate must-see. A McQueen pal and idiosyncratic high-fashion icon, Guinness co-curated the exhibit, which showcases approximately 100 garments and accessories from her personal collection. Expect eye-popping designs from the likes of McQueen, Alaïa, Karl Lagerfeld for Chanel, John Galliano for Christian Dior, Dolce & Gabbana, Rick Owens, Gareth Pugh and Valentino. Guinness’ own designs are also on display. Through Jan 7.
Drugstore on steroids:
Duane Reade Wall Street
Sushi chefs! Smoothie bars! Manicurists! Just business as usual for Duane Reade’s monster Wall Street location, which opened this summer. At 22,000 square feet, the store stocks more than antihistamines and body lotion — in fact, there’s an array of decidedly upscale products and services that includes manicurists and hairstylists for blowouts and “hair analyzing.” Then there’s the food — sushi chefs assembling spicy salmon rolls, a vast smoothie bar, and a soda machine that dispenses all 130 varieties of Coca-Cola beverages.
Local designer on the rise:
When we first discovered Dusen Dusen in ’09 (amNewYork gave the brand its first piece of press ever!), its backpacks were sold at one boutique in the East Village: Duo. Now, two years later, the label — helmed by Fort Greene gal Ellen Van Dusen — has blown up, with backpacks and fabulously fun garments (many of which employ chic prints) being sold around the city. Urban Outfitters even sells the backpacks now,and Madewell picked up a few pieces for its Hometown Heroes pop-up. (Julie Gordon)
135 W. 20th St., 646-559-2721
The California-based staple, co-founded by L.A.-based trainer Barry Jay, opened its first East Coast outpost in June, and it’s guaranteed to make you break a sweat. Housed in a 3,500-square-foot studio, each hour-long class can accommodate up to 40 people (split into two groups) and offers a mashup of cardiowork and strength training, but it’s always different: Some days you’ll run for 30 minutes on joint-friendly Woodway treadmills before you switch to free weights; other days you’ll alternate back and forth every five minutes. It has a clubby feel, with dim lights and Top 40 songs pulsing through your body, and you can burn up to 1,000 calories per class.
Antique wedding and engagement rings:
173 Elizabeth St., 212-334-6383
For couples not so into cookie-cutter committal bling, this charming LES jewelry shop offers options sure to make any vintage enthusiast’s heart beat a little faster. The inventory changes, since the selection is antique, but the prices are right. According to the shop’s website, a 1930s five-diamond wedding band runs around $410, while a deco diamond and sapphire ring is around $900. So girls, if you haven’t grown up debating the virtues of pear versus princess and actually want to stand out, this is the place.
Splurge-worthy home décor:
63 Pearl St., Brooklyn, 718-522-7100
New furniture haven Olga Guanabara opened up shop in a former Dumbo art gallery. The space doubles as a studio for Brazil-born co-owners Richard Velloso and Renato Yoshima, who named the shop after their chocolate Lab Olga. (“Guanabara” is Tupi-Guarani for “the bosom of the sea,” but you knew that.) Prices aren’t cheap: Big-ticket items made from reclaimed materials (such as hand-made dining tables) go for $2,500 to $10,000. But there plenty of smaller items, including alpaca throws and Brazilian pillows. (racked.com)
204 First Ave.,212-228-5201
This store isn’t new, but it carries a killer selection of vintage clothing and accessories — most of which are priced in a fair $10 to $50 range, with exceptions made for rare finds. The selection of thrifted threads is large, but if you search, it’ll likely pay off: Last time, we found a soft T-shirt from the original Sam’s Town hotel in Vegas, a black sequin shell and a beat-up brown leather rucksack.
New (Canadian) kid on the block:
1055 Madison Ave., 212-472-1505
Sweden brought us H&M, Spain gave us Zara and now the latest fast-fashion spot comes courtesy of Canada. Opened earlier this month, the temporary location offers a dizzying array of men’s and women’s apparel, accessories and beauty. Stand-out pieces for fall include brightly colored neoprene jackets ($99), fashion denim ($14-$59) and colored cashmere ($69-$99). This specific location will be around until December, and the store’s official NYC flagship on Fifth Avenue is set to open its doors on Nov. 3.
Gym class to try now:
LaBlast at Crunch
We always admire Crunch for their commitment to keeping fitness fun, and our new favorite get-fit class plays off the ballroom dancing craze. LaBlast (held at various locations) was created with champion dancer and “Dancing With the Stars” pro Louis Van Amstel (who’s been known to pop in to teach from time to time). The upbeat class fuses various dance genres to burn fat fast — no experience or partner necessary (and no commentary from a trifecta of finicky judges).
Unexpected collaboration frenzy:
Missoni for Target
Recession or not, it’s a thrill to see large-scale retailers team up with top designers to create affordable collections with couture sensibilities, such as Giambattista Valli for Macy’s, Nicola Formichetti for Uniqlo and Alber Elbaz for H&M. However, the biggest uproar this year was caused by Target’s September collaboration with Missoni, the storied chevron-heavy Italian fashion house. Not only did the merch sell out in less than a day, it crashed the retailer’s site in a matter of minutes. It also had stylish New Yorkers flocking to nearby Jersey and Connecticut to try and score a piece (or 10), only to be met with barren shelves. The next big collab on our radar: Jason Wu’s sure-to-be-epic collection for Target.