Though outsiders may expect Upper East Side shoppers to be more commercially conservative than other parts of the City, there is a surprising amount of avant-garde output and boundary-pushing, all rubbing shoulders with the more obvious designer labels one expects to see in this well-heeled neighborhood.
However, mixed within the luxury apartments on the Upper East Side, you’ll find more variety than you may think. Here’s a selection of boutiques that are bringing downtown style, uptown–and reinventing uptown style in the process:
958 Lexington Ave
Roberta Freymann’s uniquely global view—she was raised in London, is based in New York, but visits ten countries a year in search of fashion inspiration—is what makes this Lexington Avenue boutique such an exciting place to shop. The designer is also careful to ensure her clothing is authentic, employing printers, jewelers, craftsmen and textile-makers from countries as far-flung as Thailand, Nepal, Argentina and India. Freymann’s clothing and accessories might be culturally diverse, but they are also consistently imbued with a sense of fun and flair: a truly unique shopping experience.
Peter Elliot Blue
997 Lexington Ave
This high-end boutique for men is quirky, not just because it sells full-length cashmere capes (for the gentleman that has everything), but also because it is focused on the color blue to an almost obsessive-compulsive degree. What this means is, if you’re tired of the traditional black tuxedo and want to stand out from the crowd at your next special event, you can get a midnight blue one custom-made here. While you’re in Peter Elliot Blue, feel free also to explore eleven kinds of blue blazers, an insanely huge selection of ties, as well as an enchanting range of children’s formalwear. Eccentric, but magnificent.
822 Madison Avenue
Proenza Schouler is unlike any other boutique on the Upper East Side thanks to a very “downtown” attitude, as well as its steel and stone storefront. This stunning creation of Lazaro Hernandez and Jack McCollough has only been open since July 2012, but it has already made a huge impact thanks to its beautiful–but always practical–bag and satchel collection, and clothing line that is somehow classic and futuristic all at once.
781 5th Avenue
With famous clients including L.A. Reid and ex-Warner Music CEO Edgar Bronfman Jr, Domenico Vacca caters to professional men who want to take some pizzazz with them every time they enter the boardroom. Awarded Best Suit-maker by both GQ and Departures magazines, Vacca has a worldwide reputation for exquisite tailoring and hand-made meticulousness. Domenico Vacca’s ladies line is also divine with a classic edge.
Diana & Jeffries
1310 Madison Avenue
Owner Diana Salen opened this boutique with her husband, Jeffrey, after realizing that finding age appropriate, but still-fashionable, clothes for herself after the age of 40 had become a herculean challenge. Diana & Jeffries believes that middle-age shouldn’t have to mean matronly, and understands implicitly the line between fashion-forward and fashion-faux-pas for ladies of a certain age. As such, this is a one-stop-shop for women everywhere who want to age gracefully without sacrificing any style.
BIS Designer Resale
1134 Madison Avenue
A haven for couture lovers, at BIS you can shop for the finest designer labels in the world. Don’t let the fact that the clothes and accessories in here are second-hand put you off–BIS doesn’t sell anything unless it’s barely used or like new. Only the best of the best are accepted here. Lovers of Prada, Chanel, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Pucci and Manolo Blahnik will be in heaven.
Image courtesy of: Maegan Tintari