A New Year is finally here, and with it new shopping experiences in new boutiques for different tastes and budgets; including tried and trendy labels, both familiar and new to New York. Smaller European brands are discovering small spaces in Soho and established brands are opening new locations. Shoppers are discovering new ideas and new and stimulating experiences. Some are tech driven, like the ability to connect with Yohji e-shop salespeople through a telecast in a dressing room, or a novel screen to call up the pieces you want to try on at Reformation. And some of the experiences are culturally driven — like stoner culture at Palm Angels and California surf vibes at Aviator Nation.
Any way you slice it, retail is evolving in a sophisticated way and getting better and better at serving up customers a storm of new notions.
Yohji Yamamoto has opened a concept store with selections from some of the many lines he designs. Along with the collection for men and women, Y’s, LIMI feu, power of the White Shirt, Y’s For Living and more. All of them amplify the designer’s signature looks that are featured on LED screens.
Carolyn Bessette Kennedy famously wore many of Yohji’s looks beautifully. Grays, black and white shirts are his favorite colors. He never met a shade of gray he did not like. Strong sculptural shapes are also a brand signature.
Patterns can be subtle or bold, from jacquard sweaters to subtly patterned coats. And the white shirts, that have long been an important part of the collections, come in many shapes. The Japanese designer has been creating one-of-a-kind looks for almost 50 years.
Yohji also does accessories and gifts well. Jewelry and objects for the home are available, too. And in the dressing rooms, there are beacons with links to the brand’s website and sales staff.
Men’s clothing goes from hoodies and tees to spare tailoring. A jacket in denim looks especially good.
Many of the sweaters have a handmade feel to them. The clothing may seem a bit austere, but there are many unexpected touches and details that make it especially appealing.
Yohji Yamamoto, 52 Wooster Street
If Yohji’s clothing makes a statement with a lack of color, Essential Antwerp lets color speak for the brand. The designers find brights and prints are essential for their creativity.
All of their stores sport pale pink interiors. The clothes would seem even brighter if the walls were white. There are prints of different scales, and plenty of colorful animal prints. Even the knitwear exudes color.
This season’s fave colors are pinks and greens, with orange thrown in. Warm citrus-y colors. One of the two partners spent five years in India, which might explain her love of pinks and prints.
The clothes are slightly eccentric, but popular. There are over thirty of the brand’s boutiques in Europe, Asia, and now the U.S. And it is as sustainable as possible, even offering a yearly sustainability report.
If wearing super-saturated color head to toe is not your style, the accessories might add a pop of colors to an outfit. Or mix a colorful sweater with black pants or a skirt.
There are a few racks with clothing in darker colors. But the prints that hang with them are still very vibrant. And Essential Antwerp does not shy away from using sparkly fabrics and plenty of lurex for holiday looks. These clothes are essentially happy.
Essential Antwerp, 74 Wooster Street
Reformation has moved from its Howard Street store over to a much larger space on Greene Street. The Los Angeles based brand was built on the idea of sustainability. They even built their own factory to fully control every detail.
The brand has figured out a way to make denim with fewer chemicals, and use less water in the process. There are plenty of stylish styles made from their responsible denim. There are sequins for the holiday season — although I am not sure how sustainable sequins are — but the fabric used for the pieces is deadstock (i.e. leftovers).
Reformation does sweaters in all weights, and also lots of tees. The cottons are organic, and the wool for the sweaters is regenerative wool — meaning that the farms that produce the wool take care to improve the soil and increase biodiversity. The store is also tech driven, with special screens to call up your picks.
The brand has been offering more and more footwear. And bags. They are nicely made, and not terribly expensive. Everything in the store is easy — to look at and to wear.
Dresses are also a brand specialty. Many of them are long and flowy. Wedding and bridesmaids dresses are also a key part of the assortment. The dresses are simple and modern, and, again, they are very well priced.
The store is usually full of customers. They like the designs, the eco-responsibility, and the prices. Always a winning combination. Gen Z and Millennials prize socially responsible companies. And why not?!
Reformation, 62 Greene Street
Also new to New York is the Italian avant-garde luxury streetwear line, Palm Angels. The creative director is an Italian photographer who became fascinated with Los Angeles skater culture in 2011; his photos were published in book form by Rizzoli in 2014. It was decided to launch a clothing collection in 2015 and the rest is history. Of course, a stylized palm is the brand’s logo.
The men’s collection was so successful that a woman’s collection was soon added. While most of the pieces are decidedly casual, women get some special dressy pieces. The label is quite large and does collaborations with brands like Moncler, Tod’s, Barbour and many more.
The boutique is on two levels. Downstairs houses the all-important sneaker collection, with kicks for men, women and kids.
And the designer price-point children’s collection is right around the corner. Some of the styles are for very stylish babies, and the rest are for children, up to size 12. The entire family can dress in relaxed street-wise pieces.
The ski collection is new this season. The skis and helmet are made in Italy, and feature the full Palm Angels signature. Snowboards are also available. Add a logoed puffer and stand out on the slopes this year.
And women can also stand out this season in signature gold leather pants. Streetwear continues to grow in popularity due to the casualization of dressing and innovative design.
Palm Angels, 70 Greene Street
Aviator Nation is a teen favorite. Inspired by ’70’s vintage hoodies and sweatpants, the made-in-California garments are subtly distressed. And a band of stripes in different hues are also a signature.
There are outfits for guys and girls. And a wildly colorful decor that also takes inspiration from the ’70s. A lot of the looks are also surf-inspired. Easy dressing, California style.
A wall of the ’60’s and ’70’s record jackets is also a brand signature. As are smiley faces. The clothing is fairly simple in design, but the store is not.
There are hoodies and sweatshirts, sweatpants, puffers and jackets. What changes is the decoration on the pieces. There are stripes, rainbows, bolts of lightning (a teen thing), logos, and vintage patches on all the pieces. And there are many colors for each style.
There is also a small collection of denim and some plaids and animal prints; and even a small cashmere collection.
And then there are the accessories. They are all logo-branded, and include trucker hats and beanies, backpacks, and socks. Life-style style lived colorfully.
Aviator Nation, 93 Mercer Street