Our Creative Director Ian Caulder has just come back from New York and shares his inspiration and findings of the latest hot spots and trends in their retail landscape. His top 10 places to see give the perfect shopping, lifestyle and design guide from a creative’s view of the city.

 
 
 
1. BLIND BARBER [339 East 10th St] DRY BAR [4 West 16th St]: With the new growth in the grooming market we saw two contrasting approaches. Women demanding fast beauty with new brands like the Dry Bar offering a menu of quick makeovers that can be slotted in around a busy schedule. In contrast the emergence of the Blind Barber with a more relaxed social experience cleverly merges a leisure and retail experience and connects with the local community as a social hub, where you can hang out over drinks whilst having your beard trimmed and manicured to perfection. Both had quite contrasting ambiences with contemporary glamour for women, whilst men opted for nostalgia with a turn of the century barbershop leading to a secret hidden away speakeasy.


1. BLIND BARBER [339 East 10th St] DRY BAR [4 West 16th St]:

With the new growth in the grooming market we saw two contrasting approaches. Women demanding fast beauty with new brands like the Dry Bar offering a menu of quick makeovers that can be slotted in around a busy schedule. In contrast the emergence of the Blind Barber with a more relaxed social experience cleverly merges a leisure and retail experience and connects with the local community as a social hub, where you can hang out over drinks whilst having your beard trimmed and manicured to perfection. Both had quite contrasting ambiences with contemporary glamour for women, whilst men opted for nostalgia with a turn of the century barbershop leading to a secret hidden away speakeasy.

2. CLUB MONACO [160 Fifth Avenue]: This was the newest and most interesting development on the commercial retail high street taking over from the likes of J Crew and Banana Republic as a place for timeless cool. The recent makeovers to a number of key sites has total brand consistency where product and environment merges as one with consumer lifestyle. At the flagship they brought together a consumer lifestyle approach to the stores with a home styling feel layered with vintage found pieces as well as vintage home accessories you could shop, as well as a library to browse and café meeting place. The most interesting aspect however was the introduction of collaborations with small artisan jewellery and accessory brands showcased around the store along with vintage collections of Chanel bags and Rolex watches which added to the elevation of the brand’s aspiration as well as creating a depth of interest.


2. CLUB MONACO [160 Fifth Avenue]:

This was the newest and most interesting development on the commercial retail high street taking over from the likes of J Crew and Banana Republic as a place for timeless cool. The recent makeovers to a number of key sites has total brand consistency where product and environment merges as one with consumer lifestyle. At the flagship they brought together a consumer lifestyle approach to the stores with a home styling feel layered with vintage found pieces as well as vintage home accessories you could shop, as well as a library to browse and café meeting place. The most interesting aspect however was the introduction of collaborations with small artisan jewellery and accessory brands showcased around the store along with vintage collections of Chanel bags and Rolex watches which added to the elevation of the brand’s aspiration as well as creating a depth of interest.

3. BONOBO [45 West 25th St]: This is a bit more out of New York, but deserves a mention for its advancement in making commercial customisation of menswear product viable. By visiting the stores you are able to try on a large range of fits to find the perfect size and then select from a large range of fabric and colour choices. The trousers are then made up and delivered directly to your home. This benefits the retailer from not having to carry a vast amount of stock in all sizes and options, and it means the customer has the peace of mind that he can always get the perfect fitting garment without the ardors of shopping.


3. BONOBO [45 West 25th St]:

This is a bit more out of New York, but deserves a mention for its advancement in making commercial customisation of menswear product viable. By visiting the stores you are able to try on a large range of fits to find the perfect size and then select from a large range of fabric and colour choices. The trousers are then made up and delivered directly to your home. This benefits the retailer from not having to carry a vast amount of stock in all sizes and options, and it means the customer has the peace of mind that he can always get the perfect fitting garment without the ardors of shopping.

 
4. VALENTINO [693 Fifth Avenue]: This was a beautiful store if not a bit of a shrine and monument to fashion. Every detail was executed to perfection; being in the industry I immediately recognised how difficult some of these were to achieve. Its simplicity and understatement appealed to my design mind, but it did feel a little like a mausoleum.


4. VALENTINO [693 Fifth Avenue]:

This was a beautiful store if not a bit of a shrine and monument to fashion. Every detail was executed to perfection; being in the industry I immediately recognised how difficult some of these were to achieve. Its simplicity and understatement appealed to my design mind, but it did feel a little like a mausoleum.

5. CROSBY STREET HOTEL [79 Crosby St]: A new hotel by Tim & Kit Kemp situated in a quite part of Soho on an old parking lot.  It has a real individual boutique feel with a fresh contemporary style that is really relaxing to spend time there. Each of the bedrooms are individually designed which follows the trend for something special and a little more bespoke. The lounge bar is perfect for early evening cocktails and the pretty enclosed sculpture garden at the back makes an ideal place for a relaxed afternoon tea after a tour around the neighbourhood. 


5. CROSBY STREET HOTEL [79 Crosby St]:

A new hotel by Tim & Kit Kemp situated in a quite part of Soho on an old parking lot.  It has a real individual boutique feel with a fresh contemporary style that is really relaxing to spend time there. Each of the bedrooms are individually designed which follows the trend for something special and a little more bespoke. The lounge bar is perfect for early evening cocktails and the pretty enclosed sculpture garden at the back makes an ideal place for a relaxed afternoon tea after a tour around the neighbourhood. 

6. SAXON + PAROLE [316 Bowery at Bleecker St]: This award winning restaurant with chef Brad Farmerie’s take on a traditional grill is currently one of the in places to eat so book ahead. Its collection of eclectic atmospheric rooms fuses a regimental cavalry barracks aesthetic with a regimental colonial town house, which might sound strange but works beautifully. It has a buzzy, relaxed and friendly atmosphere with outside seating areas and a great cocktail bar area as you enter. The front room has a fireplace with portraits of horses and walls of horse blankets, and downstairs was a cavern wine cellar with circular booths to create a cosseted private club feel.


6. SAXON + PAROLE [316 Bowery at Bleecker St]:

This award winning restaurant with chef Brad Farmerie’s take on a traditional grill is currently one of the in places to eat so book ahead. Its collection of eclectic atmospheric rooms fuses a regimental cavalry barracks aesthetic with a regimental colonial town house, which might sound strange but works beautifully. It has a buzzy, relaxed and friendly atmosphere with outside seating areas and a great cocktail bar area as you enter. The front room has a fireplace with portraits of horses and walls of horse blankets, and downstairs was a cavern wine cellar with circular booths to create a cosseted private club feel.

 
7. HU KITCHEN [78 Fifth Avenue]: We discovered this totally unexpectedly, but fell in love with its approach offering ‘food for humans’. The ethos is to offer honesty and integrity about food - no false messages and promises of being ‘healthy and natural’ in order to sell them. They source quality ingredients and go back to a way of preparing food that is more human, and a natural way of eating that is balanced, delicious and enjoyable.


7. HU KITCHEN [78 Fifth Avenue]:

We discovered this totally unexpectedly, but fell in love with its approach offering ‘food for humans’. The ethos is to offer honesty and integrity about food - no false messages and promises of being ‘healthy and natural’ in order to sell them. They source quality ingredients and go back to a way of preparing food that is more human, and a natural way of eating that is balanced, delicious and enjoyable.

8. KATE SPADE [789 Madison Avenue] JACK SPADE [56 Greene St]: On the luxury side of town we loved the Kate Spade townhouse as it captured elegance and glamour, and a breakaway from the more dry premium brands. It was very polished design with layers of interest to keep the customer engaged, despite its small ground floor footprint it really drew you up into the many layers of the world of Kate Spade. Although less grand we also loved Jack Spade which is a rich cosseting boutique of new vintage collectivism.


8. KATE SPADE [789 Madison Avenue] JACK SPADE [56 Greene St]:

On the luxury side of town we loved the Kate Spade townhouse as it captured elegance and glamour, and a breakaway from the more dry premium brands. It was very polished design with layers of interest to keep the customer engaged, despite its small ground floor footprint it really drew you up into the many layers of the world of Kate Spade. Although less grand we also loved Jack Spade which is a rich cosseting boutique of new vintage collectivism.

9. ABC CARPET & HOME [888 Broadway]: This is an absolute must for anyone visiting New York and should number in the top ten ‘must see’ stores in the world. It is a quirky, eclectic mix of fashion and home lifestyle -  the VM is simply unbelievable you just never want to leave. In the newly refurbished store across from the carpet store it now offers a new café restaurant and bar which was beautiful in their signature style, although we found the seating service off putting so again book ahead.


9. ABC CARPET & HOME [888 Broadway]:

This is an absolute must for anyone visiting New York and should number in the top ten ‘must see’ stores in the world. It is a quirky, eclectic mix of fashion and home lifestyle -  the VM is simply unbelievable you just never want to leave. In the newly refurbished store across from the carpet store it now offers a new café restaurant and bar which was beautiful in their signature style, although we found the seating service off putting so again book ahead.

 
10. SHINOLA [Tribeca 177 Franklin St]: This was a very beautiful store in Tribeca where you enter into a small café that leads into a double height room, with beautiful crafted accessories and lifestyle product displayed in a gallery style space. Although the store and product capture timeless contemporary and craftsmanship, the most interesting part is the brand’s provenance. A collaboration of partners returning to American craftsmanship re-employing out of work craftsmen in their Detroit factory. It engages new values of pride and old manufacturing skills in making products that are not only beautiful and meaningful, but made to last reigniting America’s past success.


10. SHINOLA [Tribeca 177 Franklin St]:

This was a very beautiful store in Tribeca where you enter into a small café that leads into a double height room, with beautiful crafted accessories and lifestyle product displayed in a gallery style space. Although the store and product capture timeless contemporary and craftsmanship, the most interesting part is the brand’s provenance. A collaboration of partners returning to American craftsmanship re-employing out of work craftsmen in their Detroit factory. It engages new values of pride and old manufacturing skills in making products that are not only beautiful and meaningful, but made to last reigniting America’s past success.