There is a lot of movement on Madison Avenue these days. Some of it was planned recently, and some of it, like the new Hermès boutique, has been in the works for years. In 2000, Hermès moved from 57th Street to the three-story building that once housed The Limited’s New York flagship. The grand staircase remained, but the building was refitted with all the Hermès touches, including soft leather hand rails. Hermès grew, and a small men’s boutique was opened across the street. Hermès grew again, and plans were made for a totally different sort of experience. That has now opened marked by a flurry of block parties.
The Bank of New York building was combined with two adjoining townhouses to up the square footage in style. While part of me misses the soaring ceilings and open windows in the old space, the rest of me loves that fact that there is so much more to discover in the new store. Of course, the design is impeccable. With walls of Hermès leather and sinuous yet soft staircases — what’s not to love?
Other stores have joined Hermès in opening on Madison. As the city percolates to life, many more changes are bound to come.
There is a major sculpted staircase in the new store, too. It traverses four floors of selling space (the fifth floor is reached by elevator). The store is broken into discrete selling spaces; the scarf department is located at the southern entrance.
There is a small space for jewelry on either side of the arched doorway between the buildings, with the addition of many displays of jewelry all over the store. Men’s ties sit beyond the jewelry. The decor is, of course, bespoke. The floors have a discrete H pattern.
There are many amusing and fun accessories on the ground floor. Boxing gloves made from Hermès leather? Why not. Did you know that Hermès takes on private commissions? Spectacular turntables, canoes, automobile interiors, interiors of yachts and private airplanes, surfboards and more. Pretty much whatever you dream up, they are happy to bring to life.
Equestrian pieces are located at the back of the ground floor. So is the world of dogs. From a pup tent to barrel beds, and collars and leads, everything you might need to pamper your pet is here.
Men’s clothing is located on the second floor. The clothing is complemented by sleek Hermès designed furniture. The pieces are casual with a twist. Should one want a suit, a bespoke one can be designed.
The men’s shoes are casually luxurious too. Kelly buckles adorn some of them. The sneakers are made from the finest leather.
Here are some more of the spaces for jewelry. The fine jewelry department is larger than in the former store. Shopping is personalized. The store is happy to provide refreshments served on signature china.
And there is a furniture department. If you cannot find what you like, feel free to commission a piece. Blankets, throws and pillow are also for sale.
China, cutlery, glassware and tabletop accessories are on display, and for sale. The patterns change regularly. And Hermès was one of the first brands to make eating utensils designed for Asian food.
Babies have their own department, not kids, just babies. Whether for gift giving or your own family, it’s easy to spoil the very young. And maybe create new customers in the cradle?
Women’s clothing and shoes are on the third floor. From heels to sneakers and boots, everything is beautifully made. As other brands have dramatically raised prices, Hermès prices are about the same as they were five years ago. Practically a bargain. Maybe that is why the department was always jammed?
The clothing for women is also classic with a twist. The colors this season are relaxed and neutrally. The clothing is all made from the best and most luxurious fibers and fabrics.
Surpisingly the bags are located on the fourth floor. The bags themselves are for display only, with signs indicating this. Of course most of the bags must be ordered. Hermès is having a bit of a supply chain issue, too, so be prepared to wait for your bag. At the back of the floor there is a full service bar.
A roof garden is located on the fourth floor too, with the Hermès “mascot” firmly tied down. There is seating around the garden, and seasonal plants. Hermès offers a truly unique shopping experience in this new and reimagined space.
Hermes, 706 Madison Avenue
John Elliot opened a store in the old Asprey space. The wide open spaces house men’s and women’s clothing oozing street-wise style. You won’t find suits here. You will find sleek, relaxed dressing.
The L.A. based designer does denims and sweats with ease. Fuzzy sweaters are a street style thing this year, and the ones here are in both angora and mohair.
The clothing is made in Japan, Italy and Los Angeles. There is a collection of books for sale, too. The store in Soho has a dedicated library, but here they are scattered about.
There are all sorts of sneakers, slip-ons and boots for men and women. Comfort is a keyword. John Elliot’s business has been growing by leaps and bounds, and he keeps opening new stores.
Women’s clothing is easy, too. There are sweatshirts and sweatpants, woven pants, skirts, sweaters, bombers and trenches, and lots of cropped tops.
Women can wear fuzzy sweaters as well. Some nice leathers round out the collection. The leather puffers are beautifully done. Finish it off with pieces from the M.A.R.S. jewelry collaboration.
John Elliot, 853 Madison Avenue
Paige, a Los Angeles denim specialist, now has a post on Madison too. The owner/designer was a top fit model, and used her expertise to start a denim line back in 2006. The business grew and the company now sells much more than just denim.
The men’s collection got larger too. It ranges along one side of the store. The racks are full of jeans, shirts, tee shirts and knits, with some stylish jackets thrown in.
The men’s collection is casual and clean lifestyle clothing. The boutique is very defined and minimalist.
Women’s clothing starts with jeans, and mixes in other knits and wovens. Because Paige was a fit model, the jeans fit. There are prints and feminine flourishes, as well as comfy sweats. Women also get to choose from shoes and boots.
Aside from jeans, there are many other types of pants and joggers. Take a look at the well designed and flattering sunglasses for men and women.
Paige, 958 Madison Avenue
Altuzarra has moved up Madison Avenue to 75th Street. Two stores were combined to provide a light filled shopping space. Joseph Altuzarra founded his label in 2008, and offers young luxury clothing.
The clothing in the boutique has a relaxed, sporty feel. Altuzarra has built a designer brand on his terms.
The designer has a multicultural background, and it shows in his prints and embellishments. He has certain signatures that are used from season to season.
This season’s collection features a lot of knits and sweaters too. The sweathers on the table are a chunky cashmere cable knit, tie dyed in Shibori, a brand signature. A multi-cultural mix for sure
There are lighter weight pieces too. Atluzarra likes cold shoulders and interesting cut outs.
Bags and other accessories are displayed around the boutique. The designer won the CFDA Accessories Designer of the Year in 2017. His handbags are detailed and fun, as well as being best sellers.
Altuzarra, 959 Madison Avenue
M.M. Lafleur is a female owned business that produces clothing that is dedicated to help women, while being sustainable. All the designs are thought through so that the wearer looks effortless. The brand partners with many different organizations who work to make the world a better place.
The brand is dedicated to making clothes that are easy to care for and easy to wear. They choose fabrications that are machine washable and wrinkle resistant. They want to make the customer’s life easy.
The boutique is pocket sized, but filled with interesting accessories, jewelry, home products and lots of books, as well as a well rounded collection. The clothing is designed for all body types, and their stylists will help you chose the right fitting garments for your life style.
M.M. Lafleur, 1225 Madison Avenue
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.