Springing to Life on Madison

Featured image
Madison Avenue on a cloudy February day.

I don’t know about you, but I am so over winter. There have been too many heavy grey days. I am also so over the “damp.” Thankfully, there are hopeful signs if you look hard enough. I am seeing bits of buds on trees and the crocuses should be popping up soon. And better yet, spring is arriving in stores. Lot’s of it. And more and more is on the way!

Madison Avenue in particular is having their own spring-like moment. Leases have been signed up and down the Avenue and it “seems” like the rents have started to tame. Some new stores are already open and more are being renovated and redecorated. It’s blooming stores this season. And shoppers are swarming them.

Clothing is a Soaring Space
Clothing in a soaring space at Kirna Zabete.

It is about time that Kirna Zabete opened a store on Madison. The multi-brand boutique has been in Soho for over twenty years. With outposts in the Hamptons and Palm Beach, this store is a no brainer and local fans are already checking in. The previous occupants had operated two floors in the soaring space, but now it is an imposing single story.

A Very Edited Capsule of Clothing on Madison
A very edited capsule.

Each Kirna Zabete boutique has a different mixture of brands and types of clothing. Beth Buccini, the owner and buyer, understands the clients in the different venues and chooses items suited to their tastes.

Colorful Clothing With a Touch of Feathers on Madison
Colorful clothing with a touch of feathers.

The mix of clothing is very different from other stores on Madison Avenue — it definitely feels more curated. As are the bags and other accessories. Casual to evening, there is an interesting selection available.

Knits Are Part of The Mix
Knits are part of the mix.

You won’t find many basics here. Knits are a trend this season, and these sweaters are all unique.

Evening Looks and Jewelry on Madison Ave
Evening looks and jewelry.

A small selection of evening wear is simple and tasteful. Jewelry is from a variety of smaller and interesting designers — all well chosen.

Books and Home Products on Madison
Books and home products.

Shoes and boots are found throughout the store. At the back is a selection of books, candles, small items for the home and gifts. Many of the items make interesting gifts.

Kirna Zabete, 943 Madison Avenue

Signature Rock-Chic Looks on Madison Ave
Signature rock-chic looks at Zadig and Voltaire.

Zadig and Voltaire has opened another store on Madison. This one is rather large, and has gone into the ex-Tom Ford boutique. The feeling could not be more different. The clothing skews towards casual, but casual evening clothing is also available.

A Mix of Tailoring and Knits
A mix of tailoring and knits.

The looks also have attitude. What started as a primarily knitwear business has added pretty much all categories of clothing over the years. And color is integrated into the mix.

Sneakers and Boots In The Window on Madison
Sneakers and boots in the window.

Their boots and sneakers have attitude, too. Santiagos, or cowboy boots, are a French obsession, and Zadig is a very French brand. They are starting to offer sandals for spring. The owner’s family were partners in Lacoste, manufacturing everything, so of course there are many knits.

Dresses, Coats and Bags in Zadig on Madison
Dresses, coats and bags.

They even offer puffers and other coats now. Prints are also a specialty.

Bags and More Bags on Madison
Bags and more bags.

Bags are also a growing category. They come in many shapes and sizes. Jewelry, sunglasses and scarves are also for sale. The brand has expanded recently in Paris, adding the chic Chateau Voltaire hotel on the Right Bank to the portfolio.

Knits And Casual Clothing for Men on Madison
Knits and casual clothing for men.

Men are not forgotten. There is a head to toe selection of shoes and apparel that will keep the guys rocking, too. And don’t forget about the kids. There is now a new collection just for them.

Zadig and Voltaire, 845 Madison Avenue

Clothing and Accessories on Madison
Clothing and accessories at Anine Bing.

Anine Bing is another brand on the move, opening a larger store a block or so down Madison. The boutique takes a home-like approach to display — from trucker hats on the fireplace to display cases in a mix of styles.

Neutrals Fill The Store
Neutrals fill the store.

The Danish model turned designer offers primarily what she herself would wear.  And judging from the current size of the business, lots of women want to wear what she does. Again, the look is a clean and casual one executed in primarily neutral shades.

Jewelry and Casual Chic on Madison
Jewelry and casual chic.

The L.A. based brand also has a collection of casual jewelry. And along with lots of tees, there are printed and solid sweats, and other very laid back tops.

Shoes At The Back of The Boutique
Shoes at the back of the boutique.

One of the first items Bing sold was a studded short boot. It sold, and sold, and it is still part of the collection. Like the clothing collection, the assortment of shoes and boots has grown.

Denim Is Part of The Collection
Denim is part of the collection.

Denim styles, both jeans and jackets, are also strong sellers. Customers like the fit, and the jeans pair well with all the blazers and casual tops.

Cozy Sweaters and Handbags on Madison
Hanging by the cozy sweaters and handbags.

Handbags are shown in the case along with more hats. There is also a signature fragrance. Anine Bing stores are all over the States and Europe, with even some stores in Australia. It seems to be an easy look to wear.

Anine Bing, 801 Madison Avenue

Sleek Clothing and Lots of Bags
Sleek clothing and lots of bags at Versace.

The Versace store is a cool new addition to Madison. They took over the boutique that Givenchy abandoned, and spent quite a while renovating it. The result is a stunning space which bears no resemblance to the Givenchy look. From the logoed marble floors to the fluted walls and columns, it is an open and elegant space.

Women's Clothing for Spring
Women’s clothing for spring.

The collection contains many tailored pieces with a sexy edge. There are luxury sweats and casual pieces, but even they are infused with the Versace attitude.

Statement Shoes With a Peek Into Men's
Statement shoes with a peek into men’s.

A space for shoes is in a corner under the mezzanine that holds men’s wear. The platforms are this year’s Versace statements.

Keeping It Short For Spring at Versace on Madison
Keeping it short for spring.

There are some shoes that are not platforms. The signature Medusa prints are in evidence and tiny Medusas even adorn the loafers and heels. And, of course, the bags.

The Men's Selection Upstairs on Madison
The men’s selection upstairs.

The men’s collection is quite large. And of course there are Medusa print pieces in it. Along with butter soft leathers and suedes, Versace men get sweaters, tees and jackets. The other half of the mezzanine holds the men’s sneaker and shoe collection.

Bags in a Shiny Setting on Madison
Bags in a shiny setting.

The light-filled front of the boutique is filled with an assortment of handbags and accessories. The silk scarves are best sellers. The only missing thing is the Home Collection. Maybe that will come soon.

Versace, 747 Madison Avenue

Clothing and Bags in St John
Clothing and bags at St. John.

St. John is back. The family owned business changed hands several times, along with their direction. In the aughts, the clothing was worn by lawyers and politician’s wives. They recently hired a new creative director and the looks are being updated again.

Clothing and Bags on Madison
Polite clothing and bags.

Back in it heyday most of the fabrications were knits. There are still knits in the new line, but many other types of knits and wovens have been added, along with leather.

A Salon Like Setting on Madison Ave
A salon-like setting.

The boutique is sort of narrow and deep. At the back is a semi-circular mirrored room with comfortable seating. There is a large assortment of clothing and several models of handbags.

Many Choices For Evening
Many choices for evening.

There is also occasion dressing, much of it subtly sparkling. The clothing remains conservative, but updated. Because much of it is still knit driven, it is very soft.

A Revamped Look For The Collection on Madison
A revamped look for the collection.

Prints are also a new look for the collection. This season features different kinds of animal prints.

Colors Speak in The Boutique
Colors speak in the boutique.

Tiger and leopard prints mix with florals. You will still find the nubbly boucles, but now they are joined by other textures and patterns. It’s good to see a legacy brand doing a revamp.

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

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