October brought a raft of retail novelties to New York.
Nordstrom moved into its new space on 57th Street, and over on Madison Avenue several brands relocated into new spaces and newcomers opened their doors. The Nordstrom family was quoted as saying that their new store was built for West-siders, tourists, and commuters. But I think dedicated East-siders might want to go west and have a look.
I also love the new Missoni and Balenciaga statement stores, as well as the new boutiques up Madison Avenue.
Nordstrom‘s seven floors of women’s fashion flows through three buildings on the corner of 57th Street and Broadway. The facade in the one new building is a wave glass wall conceived by James Carpenter. Light and New York street scenes are extensions of the store itself. Carpenter, working with Dawn Clark of Nordstrom, has made a very new type of department store. The spaces are wide open; and flexible. The store also occupies two older buildings on the corners of Broadway and 57th and 58th streets, and the architectural design works well. Whether the landmarked Arts Students League and the storied Osborne apartment house will be overwhelmed by the new high rises and the wave wall when the protective scaffolding comes down remains to be seen.
The luxury handbag area on the second floor faces onto 57th Street. The selection is similar but different from other city department stores.
Luxury footwear is on the 58th Street side of the building. Nordstrom has a wide assortment, as shoes were the only category on offer when the family’s first store opened in Seattle in 1901. The wide open space is attractive and welcoming. A strong design statement to showcase the best.
There are different displays that seem to change frequently on every floor. They let you shop by mood.
Designer boutiques on the third floor are smaller than in other stores, but much more open and airy. The Valentino area sits in the middle of the floor, and it looks like the display fixtures can be moved around to create different vignettes as needed.
Boutiques for individual designers line the walls. Mesh curtain walls with minimal signage define the spaces and are part of the reason the light flows so luxuriously through the entire floor.
There is a good mix of luxury brands. And with the nicely proportioned ceilings and good lighting as well as natural light, the clothes look great.
Several brands do have built-out boutiques in the store, but they are the exception.
European and American contemporary brands are on the fourth floor. The same open plan concept defines this floor, too.
A concept boutique sits in the middle of the floor. Racks were moved around and the merchandise rearranged a few days after the store opened. This adds to the sense of discovery.
The fifth floor houses the denim collections, as well as an outpost of the cool sustainable retailer, the Reformation, and Everlane — an internet favorite.
If you miss the Topshop in Soho that closed recently, rejoice. You can find an edited selection here.
Head back down the elevators to the main floor. There are bags, some jewelry and a cosmetics department that flows into the 58th Street entrance.
There are 2 more levels below ground. The first one down has an excellent selection of well priced, fashionable shoes and sneakers.
There is also the Shoe Bar. A glass of champagne is an excellent way to relax while shopping. Nordstrom has seven dining spaces from Wolf, a high end restaurant, to Oh Mochi, a counter serving mochi donuts.
On your way out you pass through the terrific selection of contemporary handbags.
Sitting on a corner space at 57th and Broadway is a jewel box boutique with a selection of Nike sneakers and some clothing. There’s a lot to explore here. Nordstrom brings a service culture, from a shoe repair bar downstairs to a luxury beauty experience space, and a personal styling space. There is a large selection of children’s clothing, and of course, shoes, on the second lower level.
Nordstrom Women’s store, 235 West 57th Street
Head east to Madison and 59th Street and be surprised by the new Balenciaga boutique. They closed the one further up Madison, and moved into a bigger and much grander space. Sleek and sort of minimal, its open space is clean and sophisticated. The expansive space is broken up with green arrangements and seating areas. The life-like mannequins are a diverse group of men and women sporting Balenciaga in everyday poses that startle when you first spot them.
Women’s clothing and bags occupy the right hand of the store when you enter.
The displays are arranged by color. The clothing stands out and seems more approachable than in the last Madison Avenue boutique.
A wall of shoes and sneakers connects the men’s and women’s collections. There are sneakers galore.
Men’s clothing, bags and shoes hang in a light filled space. The clothes hang along the floor-to-ceiling 59th Street windows.
Balenciaga, 620 Madison Avenue
Missoni has also moved down Madison to the low 60s, and shuttered its 78th Street store. The new store is a semi-industrial design that mimics Missoni patterns in metal and other textures. It is modernly rich and opulent, designed by Patricia Urquiola. And as with most Missoni projects, the textures of the design and of the clothing compliment one another.
All the Missoni looks are here, Day to night, including accessories.
There is a home section at the back of the store, and pieces of Missoni furniture dot the store.
Men’s clothing is here, too, housed handsomely with more masculine touches. The pieces glow in the space. All the coats, jackets, shirts, pants and wonderful accessories reach out to you.
Missoni, 676 Madison Avenue
Monique Lhuillier has also moved her signature evening and bridal boutique on to Madison Avenue. Need some divine evening creations? This is the store for you. Long, short and in between, you will find beautifully designed and executed clothing.
Colors, patterns, embroidery, beading and lace are all on display. Romantic gowns about.
Shopping for a special wedding dress? Make an appointment at the luxurious bridal salon on the second floor.
Monique Lhuiller, 818 Madison Avenue
Nili Lotan just opened a second Madison Avenue location. The space is austere and clean. It lets the clothes speak for themselves.
The Israeli-born designer does contemporary cool clothing with an unfussy attitude. No ruffles here.
The colors tend to be neutrals. The fabrications for fall are both cottons and wools. It’s easy to wear and easy to mix together.
Nili Lotan, 715 Madison Avenue
Maison Atia offers a wealth of coats, jackets and accessories made of faux fur in New York. Started by Chloe Mendel, the daughter of furrier and evening dress designer Gilles Mendel and her business partner Gustave Maisonrouge, the house offers cheeky fun faux furs.
Colorful faux furs.
Long or short, patterns or printed, there are many varieties of fur on sale. The store is playfully designed. Sort of like the clothing.
In addition there are cute accessories, scarves, bags, hats, and more in many colors and textures of the faux fur.
Maison Atia, 833 Madison Avenue
It’s November, and there is a lot going on in New York, as there should be. Take a look at the new Nordstrom, East-siders included. The family made a big investment in the city, and have added something a little bit different. As have all the brands that have created new shopping experiences for us all.
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.