The holidays may actually be something to celebrate this year. The Thanksgiving Day parade is back. And stores just keep opening up or have decided to convert from pop-up to permanent. What a difference a year makes! And not all the stores are BIG brands. Smaller businesses are booming because some of us have finally grown tired of doing all our shopping online; and are eager to get back to buying in person.
Stores are stressing “shopping experiences.” And the ones who don’t are going to risk losing customers. The smaller stores are leading the way, showcasing what they love. Store design and decoration is a definite factor in creating a mood, as is a selection of great products for all taste levels.
These new stores on Madison Avenue are just a small sample of the newest New York has to offer.
LTD by Lizzie Tisch started out as a pop-up. Ms. Tisch had done pop-ups before. Rumor has it that this store will become permanent. It’s filled with a plethora of fabulous finds, propelled by the owner’s sense of humor. Brands who cannot afford a home on Madison Avenue stand out here. Need a perfect hat or some home decor? You will most likely find it here.
Everything is colorful and eye-catching. The store is a melange of clothing, accessories and home goods. Many different brands, including Greg Lauren and The Elder Stateman, Lisa Eisner and Miss Haversham are in the mix. You can browse through the many treasure filling the shelves and walls.
Much of the product is not found elsewhere in the city. The one-of-a-kind approach to merchandising a store makes for a real shopping experience. You will never get bored poking around LTD.
LTD is first and foremost a store with attitude. Pillow and ceramics attest to this. The over the top decor also adds to the sense of fun.
End of History glassware is part of the collection. They have a store down on Hudson Street, but it is nice to see them uptown. Scarves, luggage, jewelry, and pillows are tempting.
All the pieces have a distinctive touch. Beauty products are tucked into the shelves too. It’s not quite a mini-department store, but it is a cabinet of marvelous curiosities.
LTD by Lizzie Tisch, 828 Madison Avenue
Blue and Cream has had a store on Bowery and First Street and in East Hampton for years. They’ve opened another very cool store on upper Madison. Before the pandemic, the store was full of blouses, dresses and cool-girl wear for women, and an assortment of men’s clothing. Since the pandemic, the look is a bit more loungy for both men and women. However, they are one of the stores that keep a good percentage of their styles in the stockroom. If you are looking for something special, just ask.
Stock is rotated from store to store by the season, too. In the summer most of their customers are out in the Hamptons, and so is the clothing. There is a big selection of coats now as the temperatures cools. The jewelry is edgy, with a laid back vibe.
Lounge sets for men are given a prime place. Brands include Zimmerman, For Love and Lemons, R13, NSF, Stone Island, Aviator Nation — Blue and Cream exclusives from many brands. Shoes come from Nike and Golden Goose. The vibe is sort of cosy street-wear with a city edge.
Men’s and women’s clothing is mixed together, and can be worn by any sex. A small selection of clothing for the kids is also for sale.
Blue and Cream was always known for its vintage-y graphic tees and rock tees for men and women. A hip selection of jeans is also in the mix. Different sizes and more patterns and styles are in the stock room.
Tie-dye is a favorite this season, and there is a nice selection here. If you are looking for the cool pieces every season, check out the Blue and Cream close to you.
Blue and Cream, 1196 Madison Avenue
Repurpose has an interesting mix of items for sale. It is a nonprofit organization that resells luxury items from donors and new items from brands that donate some of their profits to the causes chosen by Repurpose. This year’s grant winners are World Central Kitchen, NAMI New York, and Women in Need. Repurpose supports organizations that support the health and wellbeing of women and families. It’s a bit of a throwback, as many consignment stores for charities closed after resale sites like The RealReal and Vestaire drew customers away with the promise of cash instead of deductions.
On one side of the store there is women’s clothing and accessories. From Valentino and Hermes to contemporary brands like Veronica Beard and Tibi. There are children’s and men’s clothing on the website, too. Cocktail dresses, daywear and casual clothing are all for sale.
Shoes come from brands like Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, Prada and more. And they are lightly worn. A particular pair of Prada-embellished sneakers tempted me.
The concept will be a permanent pop-up. They may remain in this space, but if the landlord needs them to move, they will find another pop-up location. There are not a lot of luxury handbags, as those are still being sold or consigned for cash. But there is still plenty here to tempt.
On the other side of the store are the Brand Sponsors. Kes, a contemporary clothing line, is on the left. Aside from Brand Sponsors there are also Retail Brand Sponsors like A.L.C, Arte Bage and J Brand.
SITA is another brand sponsor with a designated shopping space that donates part of its profit in exchange for selling space. They do clothing that transitions from loungewear to work and travel. With a percentage of the sales of the new clothing, and 100% of the donated clothing sales going to the grantees, Repurpose is a mindful way to shop.
Repurpose Wardrobe, 1122 Madison Avenue
Felix, an Argentinian brand, has added a boutique on Madison. Their collection, for men and women, is very casual clothing mostly from natural fibers, grown in Argentina. The clothing is made there, too.
Shirts and dresses are staples. With winter on the way, they now stock ever-so-soft alpaca ponchos, scarves and sweaters. Prints are a new addition this season.
There is a selection of accessories for women, including shoes, hats, bags, and soft blankets.
Men’s clothing is at the back of the store. The colorful scarves are, of course, unisex. Shirts come in chambray and corduroy. The men’s sweaters are at the very back of the store.
Felix, 1069 Madison Avenue
Another relaxed brand that is new to Madison Avenue is Roller Rabbit. The brand had closed it doors in Tribeca and on Lexington and relocated to this open space. Roller Rabbit is all about patterns, and lots of them. Formerly know as Roberta Roller Rabbit, the line was inspired by a scrap of fabric found in India and the tale of a rabbit in search of something bigger.
The clothing is for women and children. The products are all made with artisanal fabrics in a sustainable manner. Being colorful is the point, as is the joy of print. The clothing is timeless in a feminine way.
Pyjamas and robes make up a good deal of the items in the boutique. Home goods like sheets, quilts, pillows and even sleeping bags are also part of the mix.
There are solid pieces for sale, too. Not many though. Print bags of all sizes and shapes are also here.
Even the dressing rooms reflect the brand spirit. The prints all clash in a very artful way. But that is the point. A feel-good store is a good addition to New York’s shopping mix.
Roller Rabbit, 1196 Madison Avenue
Sleepy Jones is a night style brand, unless you live in PJs all day. Pyjamas, robes, throws, sleep shirts and more are their stock in trade. I love the fact that the staff wear the product.
The boutique is tiny, and the color assortment is kept to a minimum so the look is precise. The presentation is amusing, with a definite point of view. Sleepy Jones romances a commodity.
If you lived in PJs through the pandemic, you might want to replace your tired pairs with some crisp new ones. The styles have a preppy feel; no attitude or sweet ruffles allowed. They are classics.
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.