Bleecker Street is one of the most charming shopping destinations in New York — and spring is the perfect time to get out and discover what’s new. Three new stores have just opened and are part of a shopping resurgence in the West Village. Come, take a peek with me into the shops (yes, actual brick and mortar stores!) and I’ll show you why they are special.
A little background — I adore shopping and exploring all that New York has to offer. So much so, that I have a business that designs shopping experiences of every stripe, where we visit stores all over Manhattan and Brooklyn.
This week I am at my happiest walking around the West Village; enjoying the blue skies, the cool breeze, festoons of flowers, flowering trees, and the old New York atmosphere. Stroll down Bleecker with me; stop in for a cupcake at Magnolia or get some real artisanal gelato at Gran Gelato. Maybe even stay for lunch or grab dinner at San Ambroeus or Buvette.
Il Bisonte is a Tuscan brand that was founded as a work of love in the 1970s. Its designs are timeless, original and sustainable. The store is full of bags, accessories, and furniture that celebrate Florentine craftsmanship. The pieces are handcrafted with a devotion to detail the says Made In Italy.
Il Bisonte has always manufactured in a totally sustainable way. That is part of the beauty of the product. Local cowhide is chosen for its suppleness, and the tanning is done using traditions developed in the Middle Ages and handed down over centuries. The leather is tanned using vegetable tanning. No harmful chemicals are used. The leather is aged, and this process produces a soft, supple leather that lasts. The process discharges no harmful substances into the ground or atmosphere, and never has.
Il Bisonte bags acquire a patina as time passes. The vintage wallet and coin case above show how beautifully they age. Each piece will age slightly differently as every piece of leather has its own personality. The brand also uses every scrap of leather to make a variety of small and covetable pieces. Waste not, want not.
The Home Collection offers cutlery, glass holders and picture frames, photo albums and other pieces.
A shoehorn, luggage tags, cardholders, passport cases and even an eye mask make for elegant travel.
The brand now offers signature furniture as well. The director’s chair can be ordered in a variety of colors, and comes with a tie on leather magazine holder that hangs to one side.
Classic bags are updated in bright colors, and you can find headbands and bracelets as well.
New bags have locally sourced hardware. The store has a full line of belts as well.
New shapes that are more structured are also available in seasonal colors as well as the classic neutrals.
There is a full collection of bags, briefcases and accessories for men as well. And gloves. The chic stool below the briefcase is also available to order for your home.
Bags are also available in canvas. The transformable bag comes in distinctive stripes reminiscent of summers in Forte dei Marmi, as well as solids. Shoulder bags or handbags. Travel bags morph into backpacks, or the fold up into a neat rectangle and snap shut.
New to the collection are sunglasses. Wallets, key cases, beauty cases, notebooks, key rings and coin cases also come is a very wide range of colors.
There is a full customization station at the back of the store. Small items include bracelets and leather bow ties. Personalize your items with phrases and initials.
One of the best things about Il Bisonte is that they stand behind their product. Everything is carefully made to last a lifetime. The brand offers lifetime maintenance and a repair service that is located in the boutique. That is true sustainability.
Il Bisonte, 381 Bleecker St. or www.ilbisonte.com/us-en/
Down the street, LoveShackFancy has just opened a dream of a shop. The owner, Rebecca Hessel Cohen, has always been inspired by vintage. When she was planning her wedding, she couldn’t find any bridesmaid dresses she loved. So, she decided to design some herself and had them made. Those dresses morphed into a Victorian inspired collection. The boutique is a shoppable mood board. Inside and out you will find yourself absorbed by the original decor and practical whimsy.
The LoveShackFancy shop is a lifestyle idyll. Period furniture and details abound. Clothing hangs on rails and from the walls. The more you poke around, the more you will find.
You can rummage through the racks, or work with one of the extremely helpful sales staff. Dresses, blouses, tops, skirts and even pants can me mixed and matched to create your take on vintage.
Sometimes it is difficult to figure out what is actually vintage and what is new. That’s part of the fun!
Tucked among the clothes are jewelry, stationery, hats, bags and belts, as well as beauty products.
There is also a FULL Girl’s collection. It comes in 18-24 months to 12 years old. You can do a Mommy and Me look, or just pick up something pretty for your kids. There are soft and cuddly dolls and stuffed animals tucked into the vintage-inspired pillows and quilts.
Hessel Cohen loves lace, and you will too. Lace and embroidery are modern takes on vintage originals. The clothes have a modern boho fit, seeped in color and romance. Floral prints abound.
There is a series of dresses inspired by vintage night gowns. They come in solids, hand dyes and some florals. The pieces are too pretty to stay at home.
There is some one-of-kind vintage that is available, and it can be customized for you. Accessories can be customized as well. The wall of ribbons is not purely decorative, though they do add to the atmosphere. They are also used for customization.
Pick up some vintagey sweaters and add a plastic beaded bag to round out your look.
The vibe of the clothing goes from proper to simply sexy. It’s how you style it. You need to feel all the fabrics, and touch the laces. The garments are a labor of love.
And as you head out the door, stop and enjoy the wicker covered bike. The boutique is one of a kind.
LoveShackFancy, 390 Bleecker St. or www.loveshackfancy.com
Cross the street and walk a block, and you will find Edon Manor. The store has a very tightly edited collection of shoes and bags that are of the moment. They carry the right pieces from the right brands. The space is carefully designed, and resembles an English garden room. The store is a shoe lover’s dream.
It’s hard not to want just about everything in the store! The pieces are carefully chosen, and a perfect for the New York lifestyle. Each piece has individual style.
Edon Manor carries many niche brands in depth. I love the Dries shoes, for day and for evening. The collection is colorful and original. Color and details really make the difference.
Belt bags are the bag of the season. The neutral Givenchy bag has a ladylike take. The shoes and boot from Givenchy and Alexander Wang speak fashion softly.
Everyone wants boots this spring and summer. The Chloe take on a western boot with cutouts is cool, and the Pierre Hardy color spliced bootie is simply sharp.
But then all of the Hardy shoes are sharp and chic. The designer specializes in clean lines and nuanced designs.
Straw bags are a must-have this summer. This one from Loeffler Randall goes well with the Valentino Rockstud wedge espadrilles or the Proenza red leather sandals.
There is a great selection of Givenchy sandals and slides. All you need is some tanned feet.
Are you looking for a really comfortable sandal, but want something with style? Isabel Marant, Dries Van Noten and Nicholas Kirkwood all hit the the right note.
Should you be a sneakerhead, Edon Manor has a lot to chose from. There are chunky sneakers from Chloe, Givenchy and Pierre Hardy.
Or you can make a fashion statement in lace kicks from Chloe, chain details from Alexander Wang or high tops from Isabel Marant.
Edon Manor also offers a curated selection of Celine sunglasses. Spare and chic, like the shop itself. It’s a store you will want to shop in again. Everything in the boutique makes a statement that just whispers cool.
Edon Manor, 371 Bleecker St. or www.edonmanor.com
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.