Confession: I’m reading Harry Potter. The worst part is, I’m not even reading the new one — I’m only on Book 3. I think I might be the only person left in the universe who hasn’t already read them all, but these buggers are rather addicting. The point is, as I write this, I’m trying very (very!) hard not to play Dumbledore to these new retail wizards and draw colorful analogies about how the first year at Hogwarts is really a challenge, and how I hope the rest of the Muggles don’t find out how fantastic they are, and so forth. Because I’m not sure they would all appreciate it. So, without further ado, I present the best stores to open since last year’s “Best of NYC” issue: The torch has been passed...
Phillip Lim Flagship, 115 Mercer St.
Like the indie docs of last year, indie designers have lately been giving the fashion houses a run for their money. As the unofficial king of the independents, Lim’s past year has had the feel of an overnight success story — two critically acclaimed collections, a sold-out collection for Uniqlo, and a rousing CFDA win — but in fact his approach has been deliberate and well-crafted, not a stitch out of place. His conscientiously romantic pieces have made him the obsession of many a young (and not-so-young) fashion editor, and the store’s interior reflects that thinking-woman’s feminine aesthetic with soaring ceilings and a bright, open atmosphere. Oh, Phillip. Will you marry me?
Honey in the Rough, 161 Rivington St.
This urban boudoir is a tribute to 1940s chic with a touch of brazen sass, and its name has been on the lips of LES residents since the second it opened. Not only does the store play host to an impressive selection of vintage jewelry, its roster includes some incredibly hard-to-find designers like Samantha Pleet and the epic Tsumori Chisato.
Leontine, 226 Front St.
The third sister in the trio of stores that includes Albertine and Claudine (both on Christopher Street), Leontine may be charting some unexplored territory (South Street Seaport), but once you make the trek, the vibe on the streets seems remarkably West Village/Tribeca-esque, all cobblestones and big windows. That, and Leontine, as the largest of the three siblings (don’t take it personally!), has the widest array of frocks, vintage goods, and chic staples, including Alice Ritter, Christina Hattler and Rodebjer.
Alter, 109 Franklin St.
An homage to DIY fashion (though they’ll probably kill me for saying that), the owners of this Greenpoint space (that’s right, Greepoint!) fashioned their first collection, ‘This Old Thing?’, out of vintage menswear pieces. While their new store still focuses on their brand of deconstructed-reconstructed chic, you’ll also find the prerequisite Cheap Monday t-shirts and jeans, vintage, and, oh, a DJ booth. And their blog.