On The Town
by Rebecca Prusinowski, Paper magazine contributor, 11/09/2010
OC Concept Store
655 Madison Ave., 212-759-9220, Upper East Side, Manhattan
We've seen our fair share of luxury in this town, but the new OC Concept Store takes the cake when it comes to plush shopping experiences. Founded by Swiss entrepreneur and jewelry designer Orianne Collins, the bi-level Madison Avenue boutique brings together the best of the best in art, home, lifestyle, beauty and accessories. It's in the same vein as Colette, but with Collins' personal stamp and rolodex of world-class creatives.
Let's start with upstairs. If you can peel your eyes from the one-of-a-kind pop art pieces by Brazil's Romero Britto, have a look at the lavish T.T. Trunks nearby. These Parisian custom-made trunks would be perfect for storing Vanessa Noel's stretch crocodile boots (an OC exclusive, priced at $25K)—or for transporting a few bottles of OC's Mont d'Hor champagne. If you're more into sport than sipping bubbly, however, we suggest KIS Keep in Shape's gold-plated fitness gear (Madonna uses it), Ruby's slick motorcross helmets, or a glass foosball table by b.lab Italia.
Collins selected some of the industry's most exalted timepieces to feature in store. The flashy TechnoMarines have been a hit with jetsetters and celebs, but the limited edition watches by Richard Mille, Audemars Piguet and Chopard are for a discerning few. These showstoppers—and Collins' own line of dazzling jewels—are shown downstairs near the caviar bar, the tray of $11,000 fountain pens and the other wonders we could never afford.
But that's not the point. The idea behind OC was to introduce these international gems, to inspire and amaze. You don't have to be Daddy Warbucks here—just appreciate quality and enjoy the discovery.
90 Prince St., 646-350-3620, SoHo, Manhattan
Fall, such a lovely time of year...crisp air, hot cider, swirling scarves, Moncler coats! That's right, 'tis the season to stock up—or simply get inspired by—the Italian brand's luxe outerwear. Lucky for us, the company recently opened its first New York store. Located on Prince Street next to Nespresso (molto conveniente!), the boutique offers Moncler's complete range of men, women and accessories—including the magnificent Gamme Rouge line designed by Giambattista Valli and Gamme Bleu by Thom Browne. So much puff, fur, chic—we don't know where to start!
How about the new Moncler S line for women, displayed immediately to the right upon entering? This capsule collection—created in collaboration with Japanese designer Abe Chitose of Sacai— reinterprets the brand's signature ski apparel with feminine details such as fringe, ruffles and modern cape-like silhouettes. Farther back in the boutique, in a nook to the right, you will find Gamme Rouge—Moncler's super-sumptuous selection of women's knits and coats. Though this season's collection is less embellished than last, there's still no more glamorous way to combat the cold than Gamme Rouge. (Note: the NYC locale does not stock much GR at present; more of the line will be represented come spring). Finally, in the rear of the store, you can browse Thom Browne's Gamme Bleu. The collab between the Euro, sports-focused Moncler and the American suit-specialist Browne has been a compelling one since launching two years ago, and Fall 2010 is their most excellent work yet. There are quilted down coats in plaid and '70s ski stripes, beaver-trimmed blazers and snug knitted cardigans—equal parts daring and dandy.
The Sock Hop
248 Elizabeth St., 212-625-3105, NoLIta, Manhattan
Seeking a more refined alternative to the surly Sock Man on St. Marks? Sure, we kinda love the curmudgeon, but The Sock Hop on Elizabeth Street stocks an A+ selection of socks and hosiery—in a delightful space to boot. From the ferocious pair of Henrik Vibskov Grit Cross tights in the window to the vintage '40s fishnets by Victory Lace, The Sock Hop mixes contemporary fashion-based brands and heritage names alike. For the ladies, we heart Falke's sexy patterned stockings and the quirky designs of Hansel from Basel and Ozone. The handmade silk thigh-highs and purple mohair leggings from Italian Maria La Rosa are sumptuous, and let's not forget Happy Socks from Sweden!
Beyond their socks for men—Psycho Bunny and the venerable Fox River among them—The Sock Hop sells classic American-made leather goods, suspenders and outdoor bags that gents might enjoy. Proprietor Vincent Nasserbakht is partial toward traditionally crafted brands, and the shop's display gear reinforces the sensibility—vintage toolboxes, an old ladder, a work bench for the cash register. It makes for one charming NoLIta newcomer—and a must-hit for the sockophiles among us. Whether you're seeking a classy over-the-knee look with "a hint of color" or an electric pair of cashmere leggings, The Sock Hop has you covered.
815 Madison Ave., 646-439-0381, Upper East Side, Manhattan
There's been a great deal of fanfare surrounding the new Lanvin flagship, and there is little to add beyond the obvious: it's exquisite. Three-thousand five-hundred-fifty square feet of luxuriant fixtures and furnishings. Three floors of sumptuous Lanvin furs, shoes, bags, jewels and dresses (including bridal). A veritable bastion of chic. But are you surprised? Since his appointment as creative director in 2001, Alber Elbaz has captivated the industry with Lanvin's strong, modern beauty and masterful design work.
So rather than ramble on about the multitudinous artistic touches (like the noir closeup of Madame Lanvin's face along the ground floor wall) or detail each distinctive room within the Madison Avenue townhouse (the black fox fur bench, the zebra skin rug...), we give you our five favorite impressions from the Lanvin flagship:
1) How cozy it is. Too many high-fashion flagships feel austere or intimidating. Lanvin, by contrast, exudes intimate warmth. Chalk it up to the snug 1920s French appartement floorplan rendered on the ground level. Or to the top-notch lighting—a sweeping two-story cathedral window, various chandeliers, track lighting that expertly highlights each stone on a chain bib necklace. Either way, there is a comfortable elegance throughout.
For the complete list of Paper's favorite Lanvin attributes, visit Papermag.com.
4 Prince St., 212-966-2716, NoLIta, Manhattan
Luscious NYC carries a delicious mix of undergarment labels that emphasize quality, fit and—oh yes—sex appeal.
After working in wholesale for the likes of Saks Fifth Avenue, Bloomingdales and Macy's, owner Jennifer Rodriguez followed her passion for underpinnings. "I'm obsessed with lingerie," she declared. "But swimwear and intimates can be difficult for women. I want to help them find something that fits well and is flattering. Women carry themselves in a whole different way when they're feeling good about what they've got on underneath." That might mean the perfect bra, underwear, corset, slip or chimese by New York's own Jenna Leigh, French label Chantelle, Marie-Jo from Belgium, Ella MacPherson or Stella McCartney, among others. There are more basic designs by trusty brands Wacoal and Cotton Club, but that'd be missing the point here—visit Luscious for its sumptuous lingerie with decorative flourish.
Same goes for the swimwear. Rodriguez does a great job of stocking functional suits that offer support, can be reversed, and don't cost a fortune, but the flashier bikinis by Beach Bunny, Delfina and Brette Sandler are the most fun.
For more shopping coverage, visit Papermag.com.