I rush to the window. Oh no! It’s snowing ... no it's raining! Life isn’t fair, not on the day I’ve planned to go downtown shopping! Sullenly, I have breakfast, rush to the gym, and discover sunshine on my way home. By 10:30 I’ve met my neighbor, Lisa Selby, and we’re heading down the F.D.R. towards SoHo. Leaving our Louboutin’s uptown, we wear jeans and boots, ready to walk.

First stop, Marc Jacobs, at 163 Mercer, where we visit Jessica Delgrange, whose father, Philippe, owns Le Bilboquet, my favorite lunch spot on East 63rd. The boutique, entered through large window-paned doors, is an Aladdin’s cave, filled to the brim with the best of Marc Jacob’s clothes, shoes and bags. Next we visit the whimsical Marni Boutique at 161 Mercer, where crochet clutches, sunglass holders studded with pins, a black lace skirt, an art deco print, and other bohemian dresses with a thirties inspiration catch our eye, particularly a grey sweater that has its buttons and pockets down the back!

We head for 100 Prince Street, stopping at Miu Miu, where we see our friend Giovanni, who pleases Lisa with a short, black-satin strapless cocktail dress and an elegant black satin trench. We admire the Marie Antoinette-like bubble skirts in silk brocade with urns and the scrolled baroque wedges, etched in gold, along with the high- suede heels with crests of black flanked by golden mermaids, Minnie Mouse slippers with beads on their toes, and clogs with grommets. Downtown boutiques have much trendier merchandise!  Intermix at no. 98, boasts a much wider array of jeans than its sister store on Madison, Lisa finds a gold mini that looks just like Sienna Miller's at a reasonable price.

On Greene Street we check out the brand new Paul Smith store at 142. The beautifully designed boutique with red floors, wooden shelves and the brightly colored menswear, gifts, and women’s clothes is worth a stop. Anna Sui, at 113, is where we both get into trouble. I fall for a sleeveless denim dress, with low pockets, high collar and a little red bow, that looks very Chanel. Lisa finds a red and gold cocktail dress, perfect for Christmas parties. At 98 we duck into Vivienne Tam’s chic shop and  soon leave with a silver turtleneck and a lace coat.

Time is flying and we’re hungry. Nothing beats Cipriani Downtown (pictured below, right) for food and fun. Beets and goat cheese, pasta, a bellini and a skim milk expresso provide refueling, along with breadsticks and meringues.

The crowd is young and attractive. We love eating outside, under heat lamps, watching the parade.

Soon we’re ready for Prada at 575 Broadway. The gorgeous bleached-wooden floored store is a dramatic backdrop to Miucca Prada’s wild creations. Skirts in leopard, jumpers made of mink, blouses covered with miniature spoons, forks and scissors vie for our attention along with bright fire-engine red satin cocktail dresses. We admire metallic bags, a skirt in a grey feather print, an orange skirt banded with mirrored crystals.

Our last stop, Kirna Zabete, turns out to be the best for me. I find the perfect Prouenza Schouler cocktail dress, a confection of plum and black velvet and lace, Just right to wear to the Union Club and to Tom Ford’s bash at the Rainbow Room, an almost impossible- to–dress-for double-header! Heading back home, thrilled with our visit, it feels as if we have been away for a week!

Photographs by Eric Anderson.









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