Must-See Meatpacking District
by Christina Parrella, 09/01/2014 [Updated 04/29/2015]
DVF. Photo: Nathan Kraxberger
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It’s easy to pinpoint the moment that the Meatpacking District began its transformation into one of the City’s luxe shopping areas: the debut of Jeffrey in 1999. Jeffrey Kalinsky, a one-time Barneys shoe buyer, opened the highbrow clothing store here in part because of the dirt-cheap rent (around $20 per square foot compared to today’s $350–400 range, which is sure to rise with the opening of the Whitney). In the period that followed, the district, which was still characterized by the blue-collar meatpacking industry, welcomed plenty more big names in fashion. Cutting-edge brands Alexander McQueen, Stella McCartney and Yigal Azrouël would soon open here—though each of those would leave later for other pastures. In 2007, the Diane von Furstenberg flagship opened. With a building that was store, office, design studio and home (penthouse digs for von Furstenberg) all in one, the brand established a presence in the area that further catalyzed a thriving fashion business.
Luxury brands have continued to stream in, turning the area into a shopping mecca that caters to a wide clientele. There’s jeans purveyor Rag & Bone, the understatedly chic Joie and the ever-so-elegant Catherine Malandrino. In 2012, high-end shoe labels Nicholas Kirkwood and Christian Louboutin opened, bringing a sense of exclusivity to the area. Louboutin’s first men’s-only store, which stocks extravagant shoes and sneakers, launched here that same year. The luxury demographic became more pronounced when sought-after international imports, like Swiss loungewear label Hanro, opened US outposts in the neighborhood.