New York City is resilient. Even as the pandemic is still raging here and there, New Yorkers are trying to lead as normal a life as they can. As I roam the city streets, as is my wont, I keep coming across newly opened stores in many neighborhoods. With the vaccine now here, and with more doses to come, many people are predicting that life is going to snap back just as it did after the Spanish Influenza and World War I. The Roaring Twenties brought new fashions, music, literature, design and other changes — the release of pent up emotions (and frustration) made for heady times. One thing is for sure, people will be out and about (possibly still masked) looking for new clothing, experiences, and encounters.
Alexander McQueen has opened its first store in Soho. The store was conceived by the architect Smiljan Radic and the creative director of the house, Sarah Burton. A wave of McQueen boutiques around the world are opening, all with the same concept. I love the curtains in the front window. The netting is covered with hundreds of colorful couture-quality embroidered beaded butterflies and beetles. A McQueen touch, indeed.
We lost Alexander McQueen to suicide in 2010. Ms. Burton, his long time right-hand woman, took over. Her steady hand and creative abilities have consistently produced collections that reflect his legacy. And who can forget her sensational dress for Catherine Middleton’s marriage to Prince William.
The men’s area is as unique as the women’s. One of McQueen’s signature motifs, and he was one of the first to use it, was an image of a skull. This sweater has a distorted skull with knotted wool strings.
It is wide open with cases for accessories, and large stone boulders for display. The men’s suit in the background is actually backless. Another McQueen statement.
An all-fabric dressing room in an ethnic print hangs from the ceiling. It is one of the new design signatures in the new McQueen boutiques. The architect placed sleek modern design in a Soho cast-iron building with the classic support columns as statements. The sloping walls and airy ceiling add to the experience.
Clothing mixes sharp tailoring with Goth touches. Bags and shoes are displayed along the walls.
Statement making clothing is the norm here. You know it’s a McQueen when you see it.
There are unexpected accessories, like skull-headed umbrellas and canes, jewelry for men and women, and even blankets. The store is comfortable and cutting edge. A great collab.
Alexander McQueen, 71 Green Street
The quintessentialy British designer, Paul Smith, moved into a new airy space on Wooster Street. Known for his men’s wear, from impecable suits to cool casual wear, the boutique offers more than that.
Along with clothing, the store offers exhibits of paintings and pieces by local crafts people. The paintings, vases, and the vintage furniture all over the boutique are all for sale. Mr. Smith has good taste to share.
Accessories, books and small amusing pieces are idiosyncratic, as is Paul Smith himself.
The women’s space has a nice selection of clothing and accessories. In the plastic cases on the table are pieces of very cool book art, an amusing genre.
Luggage and bags are all over the store. Some of the many rugs made in conjunction with The Rug Company are on display along with more ceramics.
Paul Smith is known for his sense of color. His signature color stripes are found on bags, sneakers, accesories, books and even pencils. The clothing is wonderful, but mixing it all up is special.
The furniture here is for sale. It gets replenished from his huge collection. Among my favorite ceramic pieces are the candlesticks on the top shelf. The are made from vintage English figurative salt and pepper shakers. Classic with a twist defines the aesthetic in this store.
Paul Smith, 88 Wooster Street
Walking down Broadway, I crossed Prince Street, and was astounded to see that a new store had opened in the Dean & DeLuca space. It had been so depressing to walk by the empty store, thinking about all the wonderful products they had. Super World NYC has taken over the newly designed space.
The Canadian chain, Aritzia, owns it. Famous for their winter coats, the first installation is full of puffers. When I asked one of the staff what they would put in here in the spring, she said “they are working on it.”
The space is a block long. Cakes and pastries, cheese and charcuterie used to be along this wall. The new design is minimal and practical. I cannot wait to see what they figure out next.
There are long puffers, short ones, sleeveless ones, soft shine and shiny finishes. Hooded and hoodless jackets in many colors. There are also sweats on shelves and tables throughout the store.
At the back of the store is a small selection for men. The Aritzia stores only carry women’s clothing.
I think the cash desk is where the bakery department was located. Maybe they will add a small, cool espresso bar/cafe like the one they have down the street at the Aritzia store soon. It will be like old times.
Super World NYC, 560 Broadway
Pac Sun stores were found all over the country, but not a one in NYC until very recently. The brand is California-based and started up in 1980. It offers super casual clothing with a laid back vibe.
Half the store is dedicated to men. Although most of the customers are young, anyone looking for casual clothes can find interesting things. The range of t-shirts is extensive.
Graphic tees are a specialty. Pac Sun buys from many brands at different price points. Comic book characters, superheros, band and vintage tees are everywhere. Fear of God, The North Face and Playboy are some of the men’s brands that are found in the store.
You will find jackets in fleece and denim. Pac Sun carries a ton of loungewear and active wear.
Polo Ralph Lauren, Esprit, and Brandy Melville are some of the brands they stock for women.
Pastels and tie-dye are fashion statements this winter. You can find them here.
The stock changes all the time. The store can look a little bit different every time you visit. You never know exactly what you might find here. And that’s the beauty of it.
Pac Sun, 503 Broadway
Dagne Dover is a woman-owned business started by three friends. They had a pop-up on Broome Street for months, and have finally opened a permanent location on Lafayette Street.
The bags and accessories are designed to solve problems. There are plenty of pockets in all the bags to organize what you carry. There is a baby range that includes attractive diaper bags and changing kits.
Bags are made from leather, neoprene, and other fabrics for men and women. They are manufactured responsibly, and the company is working to become more eco-friendly. Sounds like a good idea.
Dagne Dover, 273 Lafayette Street
Hugo Boss is on the move, too. The Boss store on Broadway is well designed and has a great cross section of their clothing. The emphasis is on casual clothing, and there is a big sale on now.
There is a small collection of tailored clothing, and lots of accessories and jackets.
There is a small collection for women. Bags, shoes and other accessories are all here. The clothing is on the tailored side, but is fresh and modern.
Boss, 568 Broadway
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.