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.
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.
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.
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.
You won’t find many basics here. Knits are a trend this season, and these sweaters are all unique.
A small selection of evening wear is simple and tasteful. Jewelry is from a variety of smaller and interesting designers — all well chosen.
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
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.
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.
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.
They even offer puffers and other coats now. Prints are also a specialty.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
A space for shoes is in a corner under the mezzanine that holds men’s wear. The platforms are this year’s Versace statements.
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 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
Prints are also a new look for the collection. This season features different kinds of animal prints.
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.