What better way to celebrate the New Year than by refreshing the wardrobe or home? Plenty of recent arrivals on the NYC retail scene are waiting to tempt you with their wares. Here’s our pick of what’s trending in new shops, arranged by category.
It's All About the Clothing
When it comes to high-style haute couture, nothing beats Balenciaga, a venerable label now being designed by creative director Demna Gvasalia. The new Upper East Side flagship sports a factory-chic vibe, spare and white and fluorescent-lit, with aluminum-covered tables and the womens- and menswear hanging from conveyor belt hooks. A few blocks away, men, women and kids can literally get their kicks at Golden Goose Deluxe Brand, a long, narrow space filled with the famed spangled sneakers and colorful clothing, too. Urban cowboys and cowgirls can stock up on leather boots and garb from Frye, which has been handcrafting such goods for 155 years and showing ’em off in its new, woody, leather-upholstered Flatiron site.
Intimate, tree-lined Elizabeth Street is filled with charming shops, and one of the most charming is Sézane L’Appartement. A French brand making its U.S. debut—a cheery mosaic “Bonjour New York” welcomes visitors as they enter—it offers chic womenswear in a residential display, along with tables to consume complimentary coffee and cakes. If Sézane is a cute apartment, The Webster farther south in SoHo is an elegant townhouse—four stories of playful designer clothing like Dior and Céline, and accessories for him and her, presented amid art and antiques (also for sale, by the way). A few streets over, they line up waiting for the doors to open at EM PTY Gallery, which houses the super-hot, street-inspired label Off-White, along with rotating art exhibits.
In an increasingly microfiber and nylon world, leather luggage may seem out of date, but the supple, patina-rich duffels and suitcases at Ghurka on Madison Avenue may well change your mind; and if they don’t, there are always the handbags, wallets, backpacks and briefcases (in classic styles, subtly updated) residing on the individually lit shelves. Women who are into whimsy might prefer nearby Edie Parker’s riffs on 1950s purses: acrylic clutches adorned with stars, fruit or sassy sayings. Barely bigger than a tote bag, the boutique also offers charms and cellphone cases. Those into intimate apparel mustn’t miss Intimissimi, whose luxe Italian lingerie for her—plus pj’s for him—adorn a swank site in Midtown.
You may well wonder, “Is this a store or a museum?” when entering spacious Macklowe Gallery. Authentic Tiffany lamps and pieces of Art Nouveau furniture act as backdrop for the freestanding cases of ingenious antique and vintage jewelry (“designed for easy browsing,” company president Benjamin Macklowe says). Your tastes run to something more modern? At Vhernier, minimalist baubles glitter within a streamlined, coral-colored space, adorned with balloonlike hanging sculptures (an echo of the Milan jeweler’s signature piece: the Palloncino, a colorful cabochon stone atop a diamond string).
Candleholders that resemble a stack of piled stones and other sculptural objets d’art and furnishings—all designed by a former filmmaker—characterize the slightly surreal style of newcomer Konekt. By contrast, The Primary Essentials specializes in simple, almost homespun ceramics for table and kitchen, along with artisanal textiles and glassware.
In the shadow of the Flatiron Building stands the U.S. flagship of The White Company, a British lifestyle brand offering up linens, fragrances and tableware in a spanking white space (natch). White, sometimes decorated with metallic touches, is also the color of choice of the wireless audio equipment offered by Devialet. Settle into its showroom in Grand Central Terminal for a demo of its portable sound system, featuring astronaut helmetlike speakers.
Goods for the Kiddies
A sprawling, chandeliered shrine to the famed line of dolls and books, the Rockefeller Center headquarters of American Girl Place has a design-your-own-doll station (she’s shipped to you, after you customize the face and clothing) as well as a hair salon, where girls and dollies can get new ’dos and manicures together.
Books of Wonder is a New York institution with a new space. The beloved bookstore, which also sells posters and illustrations, now occupies a 2,500-square-foot Upper West Side corner, where it offers a constant stream of story hours, launch parties and signings almost every weekend.
Bonus: Understanding the Pop-Up Phenomenon
It’s not clear exactly when or where pop-up stores began, but certainly the concept of a venue selling a particular product or label for a limited period of time seems here to stay. Usually skimpy in looks but rich in special events or amenities (bowling alleys, food tastings, celebrity appearances), the pop-up creates buzz for a brand, offers a launchpad for new items or acts as a way for a company or website business to test the retail waters.
Several of New York’s hottest new emporiums began life as pop-ups, among them The RealReal, whose black-pillared outlet resembles a fashionable friend’s fabulously stocked clothes closet; menswear maker Drake’s, offering a mod bit of British haberdashery; and Anson Calder, specialist in contemporary leather goods, from lightweight laptop carriers to ultra-slim wallets built for smart-chip cards (because cash is so 20th century).
Pop-ups are by nature unpredictable animals—when they run out of inventory, they close—but a few have promised to stay around for this month. Bluefly.com, which sells designerwear at a discount, is offering bags, shoes and clothes by the likes of Prada, Valentino and Tod’s at its Midtown venue. The Arrivals, maker of sleek shearling, leather and cloth coats, has a presence in SoHo; on random days, buy a garment and get your pic taken by a fashion photographer. Louis Vuitton’s temporary site in Brookfield Place hot-stamps, on the spot, customized decals for the bag you purchase.