Moving on Madison Avenue

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A quiet winter afternoon on Madison Avenue.

Yes, Madison Avenue is on a roll. Stores, luxury and contemporary, are putting down roots. And many more moves are planned for the future. Brands from Europe are taking bigger spaces than they previously had. And stores that are thriving down in Soho and Nolita are opening new branches uptown. The scope of the fashions offered has broadened to include a lot of casual dressing in addition to “designer duds.”

It’s all good. New York retail is in growth mode in 2024. And men have not been forgotten on Madison Avenue. The day of the classic suit and tie uniform might be waning, but there are plenty of options now for men to look pulled together in a casual way. And when it comes to stores, sometimes more is more.

Bags And Shoes On The Ground Floor
Bags and shoes on the ground floor.

Valentino has reopened on Madison Avenue in the Calvin Klein space originally created by John Pawson in a former bank (the building was originally designed by J.E.R. Carpenter in 1927). The decor was created by an in-house team and features liberal use of the signature Valentino Red color. The first floor is primarily intended for shoes, bags and other accessories.

Shorts Mix With Decorated Looks
Shorts mix with decorated looks.

The brand had previously had a luxurious boutique on Fifth Avenue decorated to the max by British architect David Shipperfield, and a smaller store further up Madison. Substantial display units divide the first floor into a series of rooms. This space houses a mixture of the RTW looks.

Shoes And Sneakers Line The Walls
Shoes and sneakers line the walls.

Shoes and sneakers are also on display on the ground floor. Shoes, sandals, boots and sneakers are all available. Casual to dressy, all the styles are here.

Plenty of Dressed Up Looks
Plenty of dressed up looks.

The second floor is devoted to women’s clothing. All sorts of it. A massive red lacquer installation divides the center of the floor.  It provides an interesting foil for the various looks in the collection.

Casual Clothing Along The Walls
Casual clothing along the walls.

The other side of the installation has a series of closet-like display areas. Valentino offers everything from denims and other casual looks to chic suits and dresses, to evening looks.

The Dividers Closet-Like Display
The dividers closet-like display.

This pair of closets are full of glam evening gowns and glittery accessories. Valentino dresses a number of A-listers, and the new store displays the clothing with panache.

Signature Capes and Embroidery
Signature capes and embroidery.

There are plenty of day looks, too. Denim shirts and pants and a pink embroidered shirt and shorts are go-to looks for the chic at heart this season.

One Of The Luxurious Private Fitting Rooms on Madison Ave
One of the luxurious private fitting rooms.

On the 60th Street side of the building there are two spacious private fitting rooms. Just the spot to try on a wedding gown or another confection, and have it tailored to fit.

A Room In Valentino Red And White
A room in Valentino red and white.

There are several side rooms as well. This room offers some of the signature pieces featuring handmade fabric roses sprinkled on the garments. And there are also pieces in the Valentino Red.

A View Towards The Stairs To The Mezzanine on Madison Avenue
A view towards the stairs to the mezzanine.

There is a mezzanine between the two soaring floors that serves as an exhibition space. Currently painting by the late Mario Schifano are featured. The brand works with Magazzino Italian Art to curate the exhibitions. An interesting addition to a retail store.

Bags And Jewelry In a Precious Display
Bags and jewelry in a precious display.

Back on the ground floor on the way out, a stone screen-like display features more bags. There is a liberal use of onyx and marble throughout the store; an interesting contrast to the raw power of Pawson and Klein’s original space. Men’s clothing is found on the lower level. I look forward to exploring that space at a later date.

Valentino, 654 Madison Avenue

A Sheer Look For Spring
A sheer look for spring at Anne Fontaine.

Anne Fontaine, the Parisian brand known for shirts, has moved on Madison too.  Taking over the Paule Ka space has given the brand a great space to display their enlarged collection. When the brand was launched it offered well-designed white shirts using luxurious fabrics.

Arranging The Shirts in Ann Fontaine
Arranging the shirts.

Some of those shirts have become classics, and continue to be sold, on the rack to the right (above). More colors have been added to the collection. Neutrals, black, blue and red are among the color groups available.

The Curtain at The Back of The Boutique
The curtain at the back of the boutique.

And new categories such as pants, dresses, jackets, shoes, bags are now found in the store. There is also an off-price rack hidden behind the curtain. The jacket with the appliquéd flowers is a best seller.

Dressy Options in Black and White
Dressy options in black and white.

And there are a lot of dressy options these days. Lace, embroidery and feathers decorate these black pieces upstairs.

Silver, Blue and White Outfits
Silver, blue and white outfits.

The blues were grouped together with silver and white pieces. Many of the offerings are after-five statement pieces that take a somewhat casual approach to event dressing.

Looking Down From The Mezanine
Looking down from the mezzanine.

The store also offers in-store and online styling services to help customers pick what is best for them. The boutique is an expanded world of shirts and blouses.

Anne Fontaine, 723 Madison Avenue

Classics For An Easy Life
Classics for an easy life at Sunspel.

Sunspel is a British brand that is over 100 years old. It was one of the first companies to ever produce tee shirts, and is known for its casual clothes. Shirts, sweaters, polos, and easy shirt jackets are brand staples. And there are collections for men and women in the store, though the looks are unisex.

Some Of The Many Tees
Some of the many tees.

The tees can have long or short sleeves. And there are sleeveless tees and tanks for women as well as sweater vests like the pink one above. The colors tend to be neutrals.

Shoes, Sweaters and More
Shoes, sweaters and more.

There are coats and trenchcoats for sale. And the sneakers, or trainers as the Brits say, are available in neutral colors pair with the clothing. Shirts in cotton and linen are also in stock for spring.

Shirts and Sweaters on Madison Ave
Shirts and sweaters.

This rack of women’s clothing are cut for the boys in women’s sizes. Everything is easy to wear and made from luxe natural fibers.

Sweaters For Every Season
Sweaters for every season.

The knits come in wool, cashmere, cotton, linen and silk blends. There are also luxury sweats. If well made, classic pieces are what you need to round out your wardrobe. Sunspel is a good place to look.

Sunspel, 781 Madison Avenue

Casual Men's Clothing On Display
Casual men’s clothing on display at Officine Générale.

Officine Générale has expanded its store count to include this new installment on Madison Avenue. The French brand designs casual chic clothing for men and women. The easy-to-wear sportswear with a French touch is preppy, but not dull.

Coats, Jackets and Sweaters In The Window
Coats, jackets and sweaters in the window.

There is plenty of tailoring, but it is on the soft side. The ageless designs are made using the best Italian, British and Japanese fabrics. The vintage inspired pieces don’t date.

Denim Mixes With Tweed
Denim mixes with tweed.

The decor uses vintage pieces like the Jean Prouvé Trapeze table above mixed with vintage chairs and interesting sculptures, a brand visual signature. The jeans are made from Japanese selvage denim, and come in a range of colors. A fragrance and candle based on the scent of burnt olives is also a new offering.

The Women's Collection Is Classic With A Twist
The women’s collection is classic with a twist.

The women’s collection is currently about 40% of the business, and is growing. Practical and comfortable, the outfits are at home at the office and on the town. The brand has just introduced handbags and shoes are due to follow.

Neutral Colors Fill The Store
Neutral colors fill the store.

Neutral colors are a constant, but pops of color will be coming for spring. Officine Générale always delivers a consistent message, something its customers appreciate. They have a loyal following; and for good reason.

Officine Générale, 849 Madison Avenue

Jeans Arranged By Color
Jeans arranged by color at Still Here.

Still Here is a premium New York denim brand, designed here but made in Los Angeles. The denim is 100% cotton, and the jeans come in a range of colors and washes. They also offer jeans with various fabric insets and hand-painted stripes.

Shelves Full Of Denim on Madison Ave
Shelves full of denim.

The jeans come in 14 different shapes and fits. They are not your typical basic jeans, but rather an everchanging collection of trend-inspired pieces.

Casual Clothing and Underwear
Casual clothing and underwear.

Their first boutique opened on Elizabeth Street. It only carried denim jeans. The brand has grown, and now offers denim shorts and skirts, tees, sweaters, jackets, leathers and coats. Coats, vests, and tees are mixed into the rack above.

Jeans, Sweaters and More
Jeans, sweaters and more.

Sweaters are folded in the shelves above the jeans. And some of the jeans have wool waistbands that coordinate with shirt jackets. There are also faux leather jeans and jackets.

The Airy Entrance
The airy entrance.

Many of the non-denim pieces are unisex, and are sold for men and women. You can easily put together some cool and comfortable denim based outfits … here.

Still Here, 905 Madison Avenue

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

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