7,000 Pairs Of Shoes: Inside NYC's Coolest Mega Closet!

It's really very unfortunate that the Albright Fashion Library is just two doors away from our office. Imagine if your neighbor had a closet stocked with thousands of pairs of shoes (7,000, to be exact), red-carpet dresses from designers like Balmain and Balenciaga (plus, iconic archival pieces), and jewelry and handbags that you've seen in every magazine. Well, it's our reality. Super collector Irene Albright has got all that and so much more—uh, diamond-dusted paintings anyone? Her library is the ultimate resource for designers looking for inspiration, fashion editors, and celebrity stylists hungry for their clients' career-defining dress. Albright, who's known as "the editor to the editors," houses her collection in a monster closet; 7,000 square-feet of racks, drawers, hooks, and boxes filled with loot you could browse forever. We took a tour (that we never wanted to end), plus we grabbed all the inside deets from Albright and her equally fashion-forward daughter, Mina. Now that we know the address, our lunch breaks just got a lot longer.
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"As one of 10 stylists actively styling photo shoots in the late '70s, I found it impossible to not want to purchase the beautiful clothes after the shoot—I called it an investment. It served me well as most advertising campaigns consisted of similar requests. My home became a museum of the most divine objects of femininity."

Black suede dress by L'Wren Scott

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"Ah, a classic glass table with two beauties: A Balmain red sequined wrap. Lucky me, red is en vogue and it fits! Since I lost a bit of weight, I can now wear almost anything, which is dangerous as there's so much choice, and I am now competing with my daughter! The other dress is a white Givenchy—another favorite for its romantic, sexy vibe."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"Ode to Louboutin! I'm actually in Paris now and needed a little loving after a delayed, long flight to Paris. Mina, my daughter, was fast asleep, but that's not my M.O., so I ambled through the streets of Paris alone and fell in Louboutin on Place de Victories—but luckily, his craftsman was right next-door to fix my heel."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"Kenneth Jay Lane, a fabulous fake! He was (and is) the King of Jewelry since the beginning. Back in the '70s, I would be asked to dress celebrities in major jewels, which required armed men and security. This proved to be a lot of unnecessary work as Kenneth's jewels were perfect copies. So much so, that First Ladies and Countesses had the real gems but happily chose to wear his. Many had their real pieces copied...one didn't have to have great wealth to have great style. His pearl necklace worn by Jackie O. fetched $211,000 at Sotheby's. I better locate my vintage pieces and store them as I do my McQueens. Kenneth was also very generous; He graduated from my alma matter, RISD. I stacked the jewels in plastic bins—there are gazillions of them to go through, but it's well worth it—a pirate's trove and I own it!"

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"Mina, holding a Balmain nautical sequined dress we bought on our last trip to Paris. There are two of my favorites in that photo: My daughter Marina (Mina), and anything to do with men in uniform. Eric Neimand dressed Paula Abdul from the Albright Library in this for the X-Factor premiere in Hollywood recently."

Army jacket by Balmain

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"A little clutch bag can be diminutive yet sparkly and so refined. Just big enough for the sleekest of cell phones, and, of course, a red lipstick!"

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"I've always had a fetish for crosses. My parents did not get it. My first gift to myself was a cross bracelet, but I'm Jewish by birth and culture. I live in NYC, though, isn't everyone? I now wear Janis Savitt crosses—a present I love!"

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"This is a photo of my miles of shoes in a Pantone-color system. I get crazy when its out of order."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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Irene in her very enviable closet.

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"We auctioned these off in Australia as part of a charity gift. Pretty with a classic gold bow. How can one resist Valentino? He was a man who always understood women."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"This front dress is a Lanvin favorite—black with rhinestones and cut to the body."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"Many dazzling rings. One of many trays sitting on a piece of velvet as a last touch when getting dressed."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"Mina and me. The one accessory Shamask would allow on a photo shoot was a child. A true minimalist, I am wearing a black suede L'Wren Scott dress, and Mina is wearing a Balmain army-green wool jacket."

Irene and Mina stand in front of Justin Belmont's art, available at Not A Gallery and Mina NYC.

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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"A bit of yellow ruffled whimsy by Felicity Brown, a great piece of art."

Photographed by Amelia Alpaugh
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