Fact: We love to shop. Creative, well-curated merchandise really puts the dollar-sign sparkle in our eyes. And as boutique owners get more innovative with their inventory, we're pegging targets on our radar where our enthused consumer tendencies can be put to good use. And despite all the bitter 2009 economy talk, it was a sweet year for new store openings, not to mention a handful of expansions on our pre-existing favorites. The best of the best popped up in New York, L.A., and, surprise!, Tokyo. Here we highlight our top ten, and raise our glasses to a new year of micro-economics!
New York City
Shopping is getting good in the L.E.S., and No. 8b is definitely one more reason to stroll downtown on pay-day. This offshoot of boutique No. 8 is a menswear-stocking sibling, armed with a variety of local and global labels in clothing and accessories, from Raf Simons for Eastpak to Natalia Brilli of Paris. Photo by Seon Kwon.
Featured in our SoHo shopping guide, Topshop is the ultimate state-side source for high-impact British street style. Lines by Kate Moss and Christopher Kane are featured among a sea of edgy, in-your-face separates that New Yorkers have long been aching for…and now get to have daily.
An unexpected alcove of emerald-green charm in the Meatpacking district, Philip Crangi's first boutique flickers subtly with jewels and precious metals of his craft. A long-awaited accomplishment in the business timeline, the designer modeled the shop after his own dwelling, with green velvet walls that transport one right out of the city and into an artist's imagination.
What to wear? What frame to place that photo in? What book to read to junior before bedtime? Fret not, trendy Cobble Hill shoppers! Burlap aims to answer all of those questions and more, with an ambitious mix of merchandise, from clothing to home décor. Oh—and children's books. Somehow, it's all done with a regulated dose of elegance and accessibility.
With an upside-down neon sign on the floor and a sparse selection of merchandise, the Tom Scott boutique on the Lower East Side is curiously enticing. Known for his high-end ridiculously hip knitwear, the designer stocks one-of-a-kind rarities from the current season. Any visit to his boutique is a chance to uncover a gem. But be warned: It'll cost you.
The newly opened flagship of interior designer Tobi Tobin is as darling as her name. A candy box of rustic furniture and all matter of ornaments to fill the empty spaces in your apartment, the shop features her linens, accessories, candles, flooring, and clothing collections. With such a warm retail space, don't be surprised if you stick around for longer than it takes to pick your favorite end table.
We let you know back in April when designer Kristin Dickson opened her Angelino Heights boutique—a special retail space to double as an art center and creative arena—and now we're back to let you know it's every bit as worthy of a visit as anticipated. The mix of beautiful clothing, decorative objects, and rare reading materials definitely offer something uncommon to the neighborhood.
Uprooted and relocated to West 3rd Street, Anzevino & Florence have brought some premium shopping to the neighborhood. From the minimalist interior of their boutique they offer up their signature menswear and womenswear lines, a diffusion line called Laugh Cry Repeat, and a cool Urban Outfitters T-shirt selection. Photo via Racked.
The Steven Alan label is a staple of the New York fashion market, and the designer-master retailer first extended his reach to the opposite coast in 2008, landing in L.A. to plant some new roots. In the first few weeks of 2009, he opened Steven Alan Outpost in Los Feliz—a spill-over shop that takes last season's merch and marks it down up to 70%. Suddenly those iconic plaids are so much sunnier!
Elsewhere in the World
An epic coming-of-age in the land of excess, especially when it comes to retail, Opening Ceremony Tokyo is an 8-level geometric mini-city of architectural installations and surreal shopping quarters. Arranged by theme, you'll encounter scaled-down dwellings fit for native tribes and Victorian snobs alike. The clothing is arranged as if part of an artist's vision—it's almost hard to imagine you're supposed to remove a garment from one of the conceptualized displays at all.
New York Expansions
Rag & Bone gave a boost to the mini empire with their third location at 119 Mercer Street (between Prince and Spring streets); 212-219-2204. http://rag-bone.com. Photo by Elissa Wiehn.