NYC'S NEW WAVE OF CONCEPT STORES
In typical New York fashion, a new class of concept stores has raised the bar for what you can expect from a clothing boutique. Cashmere knits sold amidst the rich scent of roasting coffee beans, and handmade sandals scattered across the floor of a sunny apartment have become the new norm. The idea is to evoke a feeling, edited enough to inspire, but personal enough to make one feel at home. Each new opening caters to customers who crave something with a story; breathing new life into traditional brick-and-mortar. With the abundance of stores in such close quarters, New York offers an unparalleled entrance into this kind of contextualized shopping experience. To help navigate these unique retail spaces, we’ve compiled a list to appeal to New York’s most discerning locals and visitors.
The Primary Essentials is the ultimate gift shop with a special selection of artisanal goods and objects for everyday life. Textiles, ceramics, jewelry, books, and more, sourced from independent craftsmen around the world, are expertly placed around the renovated brownstone of the Atlantic Avenue space in Brooklyn and the quaint shop on Market Street in Nolita. Lauren Snyder, founder of TPE, explains, “I always hope that customers will feel comfortable when they are in the shop. I want them to be inspired by their surroundings but at ease at the same time.” The Brooklyn location is larger, offering more space for furniture, pillows, and textiles, while the Nolita location is a bit more polished with a smaller selection of goods. The latter is situated along a row of small, similarly thoughtful stores and cafes. It’s a must-stop shop for gifts, planning dinner parties, or updating the objects around your home.
3 Centre Market Pl, New York, NY 10013; T. (646) 490-4060
The Real Real, has completely upended the consignment store concept, first with their e-commerce platform and then with the opening of their brick-and-mortar store. Julie Wainwright, who founded the website out of her home in 2011, decided to open a permanent SoHo location after seeing the success of a pop-up in 2016. Similarly to the way you search the site, you can sift through an edit of archival Comme des Garçons, vintage Cartier, and iconic Hermés, but the in-store experience provides additional services, and the ability to feel and try on the pieces. Wainwright says, “I hope customers appreciate the community element of the store, including the workshops, cafe, flower shop and the unique services we offer: free authentication and appraisal, tailors, repairs and more.” To help add a bit of context, the store features note cards scattered about with brief history lessons of iconic bags and designer bios.
80 Wooster St, New York, NY 10012; T. (212) 203-8386
Caroline and Michael Ventura live upstairs from their West Village store, which makes it unsurprising that the shop feels like a home. “We designed and hand-built our oak and brass bookcase, as well as the sliding cast iron and wood doors that separate the shop from the back office,” she explains of the space. Elements of the original building remain with modern design mixed in to offer the perfect balance of new and old both in experience and what they sell. Their selection of vintage and new furniture and textiles as well as smaller home goods feels one-of-a-kind, and that’s usually because they are. Most of their pieces are made by hand and assembled in the living room like space, taking the guesswork out of whether you might use these in your life. The West Village is a place for stumbling upon things, a match made in heaven for this treasure trove.
349 W 12th St, New York, NY 10014; T. (646) 517-2948
The Webster is a design junkie’s dream. Its serious interiors somehow take the seriousness out of high-end shopping with a playfulness that makes you feel part of the party. Each nook of the six-floor building is decorated to perfection: colored couches, plush carpets, and printed wallpaper serve as the backdrop to impeccably merchandised racks of the season’s best buys. The woman behind all of this is Laure Heriard Dubreuil, an entrepreneur who opened the first iteration of The Webster in Miami in 2009, inspired by the city’s escapist appeal and appreciation for art. In opening the New York location, Heriard Dubreuil has created a getaway as an answer to the city’s sartorial redundancy. Expect exclusive products, collaborations, art installations, and endless inspiration. 2508, 29 Greene St, New York, NY 10013; T. (212) 226-1260
Even on a cloudy day Hesperios seems filled with sunshine. The SoHo store, conceived by Autumn Hruby, is a pared-down selection of ceramics, unique books, and small stacks of her knitwear line eloquently placed along the walls. In the middle, there is a long marble table with wooden chairs whose spindles cast lively shadows on the light, wooden floors. The store was inspired by Hruby’s interests in art, food, books, and simple, well-made goods. She records her experiences with these things in a journal, which comes to life in the shop. Many of the pieces in the store have been created in collaboration with the brand, inspired by the people featured in her journal. Towards the back, there is a kitchen, with an intricate menu of teas and delicious Scandinavian treats.
23 Cleveland Pl, New York, NY 10012; T. (212) 226-2413
Words by Jenny Hartman