by Andi Teran
A pair of white leather 3-D flowered ballet flats. A 1970s Yves Saint Laurent blouse rimmed with giant Carmen Miranda ruffles along the neckline. These are the pieces people stop and ask you about. But when they inquire, "Where did you get that?" is when thing's get tricky. It's tough giving up a good secret.
Last September, stylists Morgan Yakus and Karin Bereson began selling an array of new and vintage designer clothing and accessories out of a nondescript storefront on NoLIta's Centre Market Place. Both ambitious collectors—with Morgan being a former seller at both the Chelsea Annex and Portobello Markets and Karin having worked with clients including Bill Blass and The Fader—the two kept in touch over the span of 10 years until arriving at the right time and place to open their own boutique. They opened the store for one reason: "We're masochists," Bereson jokes. "I'm a stylist and my partner was a stylist. It wasn't enough to be beat up by other people; we decided to have even less time, less money, and less of a life." Still undecided on a name in the first few days of business, they ended up using its address, No.6, and have been entertaining a steady flow of stylish friends and passersby ever since.
What sets No.6 apart from other stores of similar stature and inspires such a devout following comes down to the owners…and their honest-to-goodness good taste. "What we've finally hit on, and what we keep hearing, is that it's the easiest store to walk in and find something, put it on, and walk out in it," Bereson says. And because of their stylist backgrounds, she says they're used to pulling out clothes for people they don't know. "It's very personal."
The entire stock—both European and American—is a rotating assortment of distinct one-off vintage pieces, eclectic jewelry, shoes perfect for every occasion, and hard-to-find independent lines that could easily pass as vintage. All items are road-tested, too, with both partners trying every item on before putting it up for sale.
The inviting space, replete with white walls, dark floors, vintage ephemera, cheeky curios, and comfy leather couches and benches is courtesy of Yakus and Bereson along with artist/designer/publisher Duncan Hamilton. "What we wanted is what we exactly seem to have; a store where people can come in and just hang out," Bereson explains. The soundtrack is anything from Kraftwerk to Devendra Banhart to the Talking Heads, and makes for the easiest vibe for browsing Jacqueline Schnabel's woven sandals and peep-toe heels, or Mina Stone's attention-grabbing balloon dresses, or simply trying one of Gerard Tully's animal head rings on for size.
And then there's the vintage. One recent visit turned up a dainty 1930s Victorian-inspired blouse (great with a pair of Camilla Staerk gunmetal gray stovepipe jeans), a few Mexican peasant dresses for end of the summer beach romps, and a body-skimming yellow cocktail dress popping with red flowers. An oversized ram's head necklace and battered leather belt likely didn't last more than a day or two after we saw them. But the most picked up item in the store-the aforementioned pair of 3-D flowered ballet flats straight out of Paris-has already inspired a waiting list.
No.6, 6 Center Market Place, 212-226-5759.
A mysterious, stylist-run shop makes good on good taste.