A Fashion Upgrade in Noho and Soho

Featured image
The setting sun trying to break through the clouds.

It’s hard to keep up with all the new stores opening downtown. Brands from Rome and Japan, London and New York are boasting looks that go from super casual to dressed to the nines for both men and women; and at pretty much every price-point. One New York store in particular was founded by a refugee from Eritrea in East Africa who supports other refugees with his enterprise.

New York has always been about the mix. The mix matters because many shoppers cross-shop. Some shoppers who can afford to shop exclusively in designer boutiques actually pick and choose where they buy. They may mix mass market brands with contemporary pieces, and add in designer finds. And some shoppers who can’t afford designer duds splurge for a fabulous entry-level designer product to pair with their lower price finds. I think we all know by now that head-to-toe dressing can be a bit boring.

Luxe Dressing In The Window in Soho
Luxe dressing in the window at Valentino.

Valentino has been very busy. While opening a new flagship on Madison, the brand closed its Soho boutique on Spring Street in Soho and instead renovated the Intermix space on Prince Street. That store is now open for business.

Ottomans In The Shoe Department
Ottomans in the shoe department.

It is smaller than the Spring Street space, and much smaller than the new Madison Avenue boutique. And as you can already see, there is much less of the signature Valentino red. An airy space in the center of the store houses women’s sneakers and shoes.

Denim, Shorts amd Dresses in Soho
Denim, shorts and dresses.

One side of the boutique is home to women’s ready-to-wear. While the uptown store was full of new merch, the rails in Soho were pretty sparse. There were a few outfits in tweed, and some very casual pieces including shorts and denim.

A Selection of Men's Wear
A selection of men’s wear.

The selection for men is at the back of the store. The looks are more streetwear-driven and casual. And there is a small selection of sneakers and shoes. The new logoed sneakers are here. And men’s shoes get trimmed with rockstuds, too.

Lace Trims in Shades of Blue in Soho
Lace trims in shades of blue.

The women’s daywear is often very feminine. There is a lot of lace and eyelet this season, mixed in with casual fabrics. The other side of the boutique features accessories. The bread and butter handbags have a lot of shelf space.

Handbags and Accessories
Handbags and accessories.

There are more handbags at the entrance to the shop, along with a case full of jewelry, sunglasses, small leather goods and perfumes. Perfect entry level purchases. The staff is friendly and attentive as well, making for a comfortable shopping experience.

Valentino, 98 Prince Street

Clothing With Attitude in Soho
Clothing with attitude at AllSaints.

AllSaints, a contemporary London brand, is nearby. When the brand launched thirty years ago, it’s DNA was more goth oriented, with a nod towards punk and rock. Their logo is a stylized ramskull. Leather was an important part of the collection then, as it is now. The leather pieces are all very well priced.

Printed and Embroidered Women's Clothing
Printed and embroidered women’s clothing.

Women’s clothing is on one side of the shop. The shapes have become gentle and easy, with shots of color appearing through the collection.

Sneakers, Clogs, Boots and Shoes
Sneakers, clogs, boots and shoes.

Dresses, shirts, blouses, seaters, dresses and tees are available for women. And there are many different styles of footwear, from casual to dressy. Boots and shoes can be flats or heels.

Accessories And Tall Cowboy Boots
Accessories and tall cowboy boots.

The range of accessories is quite extensive. Bags and small leather goods come in a good assortment of colors. A rack towards the right is full of different styles of leather jackets.

A Men's Corner in Soho
A men’s corner.

A small selection of men’s clothing is located back by the dressing rooms. Tees, boxed tees, lightweight jackets and shirts surround the two club chairs with touches of industrial design.

Shirts, Jackets, and A Table Stacked WIth Denim in Soho
Shirts, jackets, and a table stacked with denim.

The rest of the men’s clothing is in the front half of the store. There are myriad shirts, from flannels and plaids to cotton and leather. Blazers are about as dressy as it gets for men.

AllSaints, 402 West Broadway

Men Layered Up
Men layered up at Gu.

An interesting new concept has been conceived by the Japanese company, Fast Retailing, the owner of Uniqlo. Gu is specifically designed for teens and young adults. The quality is good, and the prices are very affordable. The clothing is ultra casual. Just how the end customer likes it. This spring season, Gu likes wide pants and a layered look.

A Wall Of Clothes For The Guys
A wall of clothes for the guys.

This is the only Gu store in the country. The brand has hundreds of store in Japan, Taiwan and China. For now, the clothing sold in the US is sized for Asians. There are signs around the store informing customers to try things on to make sure that they fit correctly.

Crop Tops and Cargo Pants For Spring in Soho
Crop tops and cargo pants for spring.

There are lots of wide pants for women, too, this season. Gu has zeroed in on that trend. Drawstrings, shirred waists, high rise and cargos. All the pants are paired with cropped tees, with not a skirt in sight.

Well-priced essentials.

Tees and sweaters for girls line the walls. With girls tees going for $9.90, it is easy to see why they are selling. There are also crochet-like sweaters for men and women.

This Season's Looks For Girls
This season’s looks for girls.

Sweats and shorts are important categories too. Much of the clothing is pretty unisex design-wise, but it is cut differently for women and men.

Shoes Socks And Accessories
Shoes, socks and accessories.

A small selection of shoes is available. Behind the shoes are a lot of socks, and back by the cashiers, there is a rack of jewelry, and several shelves of lounge-wear and pyjamas. This season Gu is doing a collaboration with the New York Botanical Garden. Socks and PJ’s are done with charming prints.

Gu, 579 Broadway

Pink and Blue Fill The Front Of The Store
Pink and blue fill the front of Guest in Residence.

Guest in Residence has opened across Houston Street in Noho. The cashmere collection is the creation of top model Gigi Hadid. The sleek store carries cashmeres for men and women.

The Store Is Decorated Like A Home
The store is decorated like a home.

There are basic styles, and not so basic ones, too. There are also cool pieces like narrow track pants and comfy hoodies. And crop tops are in the mix this season.

Styles For Men And Women Hang Together in Noho
Styles for men and women hang together.

As many of the styles are classic shapes, some of the styles are unisex. If a woman wants a very oversize fit, she can buy a men’s size. There is proper sizing for everyone.

Bright Colors And Stripes Stand Out
Bright colors and stripes stand out.

And the men’s styles also include the wide stripes in hot colors, and the same shades of pinks and blues that are used for women’s sweaters.

A Fireplace Near The Dressing Rooms
A fireplace near the dressing rooms.

Scarves, hats, socks, and even items for babies are stocked. Pieces of art are dotted all over the shop.  If the clothing is easy to wear and comfortable, the decor is clean and easy on the eye too.

Guest In Residence, 21 Bond Street

Coats, Hoodies And Varsity Jackets in Noho
Coats, hoodies and varsity jackets at Livewear Curated By Áwet.

Livewear Curated By Áwet is an interesting collection of fashion, art and furnishings collected and curated in a large space. The various designers are BIPOC brands that were chosen by Áwet. The designer is a refugee from Eritrea (a northeast African country on the Red Sea coast) who uses the business to support refugee communities and more.

Women's Clothing is Arranged Around The Store
Women’s clothing is arranged around the store.

There is thoughtfully sourced womenswear from different designers, along with handbags and other accessories.

Furniture and Accessories From Emerging Designers
Furniture and accessories from emerging designers.

Interesting hand crafted furniture, glass and ceramics, art and other accessories are found all around the large shop. Some of the stone pieces have a brutalist feel to them. Everything is clean and modern.

A Corner Filled With Men's Clothing and Art in Noho
A corner filled with men’s clothing and art.

Clothing and shoes for men are for sale, too. And many of the coats and jackets are unisex, and come in men’s and women’s sizes.

Jewelry and Unisex Blazers Neatly Arranged
Jewelry and unisex blazers neatly arranged.

Modern jewelry and metal pieces have a sculptural feel. Some of the artisans make interesting boxes and other table top decoration. Paintings adorn the walls and are available for purchase.

Accessories For Life And The Home
Accessories for life and the home.

The sunglasses come in interesting textures and colors and can be loaded with prescription lenses. New items are always arriving, and the spring merch is starting to be displayed. The clothing and objects are all unique designs; and pretty much every item sold is sure to support young designers.

Lifewear Curated By Áwet,  57 Bond Street

Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.

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