Mad About Madison
A host of designer brands are setting up shop in a thriving retail area right outside The St. Regis New York.
By Regina Molaro
Far from the bustling energy of Manhattan’s SoHo shopping district, or the iconic, high-end Fifth Avenue, is a stretch of upscale shops located on Madison Avenue in the 70s blocks.
Just 20 blocks away from The St. Regis New York, this thriving neighborhood of designer stores offers style, comfort and convenience in a friendly, relaxed area. Quaint, tree-lined streets and a variety of ornate buildings make up the neighborhood, which reflects a sense of opulence, Old World architecture and charm. The neighborhood continues to lure top designer brands and is ideal for leisurely shopping and uncovering truly exquisite finds.
From Gucci and Prada to Christian Louboutin and Carolina Herrera, many elite designers have already set up shop along Madison Avenue. Michael Kors recently debuted a large lifestyle store between 66th and 67th streets, and a number of store openings are slated for fall 2012—including a renovated Asprey and Belstaff’s first American endeavor. Vince and Rebecca Taylor are among the many other hip designers flocking to this shopping mecca.
“International investors are flocking to New York City, perhaps due to the economic instability in Europe,” says Annah Pelin, concierge at The St. Regis New York. “There has been a flurry of commercial real estate transactions, especially in prime addresses like Madison Avenue. I think luxury designers and retailers see this as an opportunity to expand into the U.S. market.”
“The neighborhood has a relaxed atmosphere and some wonderful restaurants,” adds Yuta Powell, proprietor of the chic European-style boutique that boasts her name (yutapowellmadison.com). This savvy businesswoman has been working in the neighborhood for 18 years. After owning Givenchy and Carolina Herrera fashion franchises in the same area, Powell debuted her own shop in May 2008. “I think the area is more alive today—it has a different temper and vibe than it had years ago, and every year more high-end stores are coming in,” she adds.
Francoise Alessi, boutique manager of Diptyque, a home and body fragrance retailer (diptyqueparis.com), agrees. “The neighborhood has everything, from five-star restaurants to great hair salons, spas, clothing designers, jewelry stores, shoes, children’s clothing and niche perfumers like us,” she says.
What’s in Store
Located on Madison Avenue between 75th and 76th streets, Powell boasts an extensive collection, which ranges from elegant dresses, knitwear and luxurious leather pieces to stylish skirts, pants and kimono-like jackets. A complete range of accessories includes cuff bracelets, chunky rings and statement necklaces as well as handmade shoes. Superior quality, originality and a desire for expressing a personal sense of style are essential to the shop’s elite clientele. Powell’s eclectic collection also includes unique items created by talented craftsmen and independent artisans. “We cater to a woman who has a keen understanding of her own personal style and is confident enough to pursue it,” Powell says.
“Yuta Powell is fast capturing a niche market of bespoke clothing in New York,” Pelin says. “Her clothing is being worn more frequently by socialites and high-powered New Yorkers.
Her willingness to customize her garments adds a service that is not typically seen in ready-to-wear retail. Also, a Yuta Powell piece might be recognized by those in-the-know, but it’s not fashion that is logo-stricken from head to toe.”
Located a few doors up from Yuta Powell, Diptyque’s captivating scents welcome guests as they first enter the intimate fragrance emporium. This elegant yet modern location opened two years ago, offering luxurious candles as well as a bath collection that includes soaps, shower gels, eau de toilettes and colognes, body lotions, solid perfumes and roll-on fragrances.
Founded in 1961 in Paris, the brand has been guided by its rich heritage. A serene atmosphere embodies this charming shop, which has a sleek decor and a striking palette of black, white and gray hues. Artistically packaged, Diptyque’s collection is ideal for gifting. “Quality, elegance, integrity and craftsmanship [are] what separate Diptyque from other shops,” Alessi says. “Made from the finest raw materials, motivated by the desire for an unexpected harmony, the creations express themselves in unusual ways.” Amenities include private shopping as well as complimentary gift wrapping, shipping and delivery.
Pelin says that Diptyque’s expansion on Madison Avenue seems as natural as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.”
“The Madison Avenue shop is an experience not to be missed,” she explains. “Diptyque sources and blends the finest ingredients, making for the most gorgeous scents.”
Just down the street on Madison Avenue is Nanette Lepore (nanettelepore.com). While Nanette Lepore is renowned for its bold prints and perfectly tailored fits, the Madison store is airy and open, with sleek, vibrant clothing displays and unique jewelry and accessories throughout.
Nearby Pat Areias (patareias.com) offers belts featuring buckles that are cut by hand out of sheet silver and hand-forged—a true work of art. For upscale hair accessories, visit Alexandre de Paris (alexandredeparis-accessories.com), an elegant shop filled with jeweled hair accessories.
Regardless of what exceptional fashionable treasures you’re seeking, this stretch of Madison Avenue offers it all—right outside your doorstep.