Thursday, March 20, 2008

Shopping on Bleeker Street & in the Meatpacking District

Checking the racks at Reese.
By Jamee Gregory

Spring is in the air. Early Daylight Savings bring us a few extra weeks of long, sunny afternoons, just the thing to inspire a trip to Bleeker Street and a visit to some new Meatpacking District shops. The weather was just right as Lisa Selby set off with me for a shopping spree. Always cautious, we were armed with umbrellas even though the morning looked bright.

Our first stop was Christian Louboutin’s boutique, nestled at 54 Horatio Street. Even though the Madison Avenue branch of our favorite shoe store is closer, it lacks the charm and sweet green-flowered sofas of this cozy outpost. We are tempted by patent leather mules with bows on the toes in the neon colors of spring. Hot pink looked terrific.

So good, in fact, that we hit Jeffrey’s for matching Nars polish in “Schiap” short for Elsa Schiaparelli, the famous designer known for her love of shocking pink! We also left with Lancaster’s sun protecting lip balm from France, preparing for Easter vacation.
Jamee in front of Christian Louboutin. Lisa in front of Louboutin's corner.
Tracy Reese's colorful collection. Cheery clothes and bright decor inside Tracy Reese.
Our next stop was Tracy Reese’s boutique on Hudson where her younger line, Plenty, offers cheery prints for summer. Fresh and easy shifts and party dresses would brighten anyone’s wardrobe.

Charles Nolan’s eclectic Gansevoort Street shop was filled to the brim with everything from shell salt shakers, to books, to jot pads and clothes and in-between. The merchandise, brilliantly displayed, sits beside a tree covered in ribbon, a tabletop artfully arranged, a mannequin resting on a bench. The festive atmosphere, hand-picked offerings make this a shop a must.The sweet sales lady gave excellent directions as we marched towards Bleeker. Lisa left with a coral draped tank and I’m still considering a metallic silver hoody.
Clockwise from top left: Outside Charles Nolan; Shoes, books, accessories artfully displayed; Multi-colored Hanky Panky's, red lacquered chairs; Ribbon tree; A chic mannequin all in white decorates the fitting rooms.
Trina Turk, on the same street, offered bold printed tanks, swinging shifts and colorful bikinis. Orange was everywhere. We loved the mannequins in swings and the wooden tree growing inside. Distracted by a white crochet dress we are shocked to see rain falling, hard and fast.

Luckily we find a car and drive off to Tartine, an adorable restaurant/café on West 11th, recommended by my daughter, Samantha, who now lives in the West Village. We are enchanted by the charming room, covered with small tables. A glass case, covered with wine bottles and filled with mouth-watering pastries completes the décor. Intense conversations are taking place and we order pissaladieres, tomato tarts with goat cheese. They were so delicious, covered with perfect tomato slices fanned around the delicate dough.
At Trina turk (clockwise from top left): Lisa enters, orange is the hot color; Bikinis, in bold prints accent the bright sofas and chairs ... forget monochromatic displays!; The display boldly mixes stripes and florals ; A tree grows in the Meatpacking ... right through the ceiling!
More from Trina Turk: Sunglasses galore accent orange walls; A model sits and swings.
Even if you hate shopping, this intimate little spot is well worth the detour. We leave, after espressos, carrying apple tarts. “Just warm them,” the cashier suggests, as we head for a very rainy Bleeker Street.

Lulu Guinness is our first stop. Charm bracelets with red lips, clutch bags in satin that look like Scrabble boards, small handbags in the shape of baskets and houses filled the cabinets. We find perfect change purses that say “Glamour Girl” and tubular travel bags in engaging prints, perfect presents.
Lulu Guinness display of original, artistic hand-bags, each one a work of art. The window at Marc Jacobs, covered with hundreds of blossoms, creating a wall of flowers.
Next, we’re dazzled by the window displays in Marc Jacobs, walls covered with the heads of flowers, announcing spring! What could be cheerier? We think the Hilary tee-shirts are eye-catching! Rows of green Wellies fly off the floor as shoppers suffer from wet feet.

Next stop, Cynthia Rowley where I fall for a burlap skirt covered in ric rac. We admire the pink shades on Tommy Hilfiger’s store and the terrific French country antiques in Les Pierre Antiques.
Clockwise from top left: Cynthia Rowley's window display; My newest purchase, Cynthia's ric rac skirt; Cynthia Rowley's goodies  display.
Juicy Couture’s jazzy new outpost is cheerfully decorated with wooden floors and racks of bright separates, offering much more than track suits.

Coach’s store carries the Legacy line, recreating chic Bonnie Cashin designs, like long linen pouches with piping, pockets, and hardware. My mother always loved her classic designs and so do I. They’re just right with this season’s clothes.
Coach Legacy's array of Bonnie Cashin bags in terrific colors.
We pass Magnolia Bakery where lines of Japanese tourists form to sample the famous cupcakes Sarah Jessica Parker craved in “Sex and the City.” All that butter cream frosting looked good!

We finish our visit with a look at James Perse’s tee-shirts, the Biography book store, Olive and Bette and Ralph Lauren, where equestrienne sweaters and prints caught our eye. Slightly damp, we hail a taxi and return to the Upper East Side, thinking what fun it would be to live downtown!
Juicy Couture window and wall decorations in the two-story shop.
Clockwise from top left: Cupcakes galore at Magnolia Bakery; Olive and Bette for young separates; Raph Lauren's jewel box of a boutique, well-stocked and full of surprises!; Whimsical Hillary tees stacked up at Marc Jacob's.