- READER REVIEWS
Mon-Sat, 11am-7pm; Sun, noon-5pm
Nearby Subway Stops
N, R at Prince St.; B, D, F, M at Broadway-Lafayette St.
American Express, Discover, MasterCard, Visa
Since taking over the design helm at Balenciaga in 1997, Nicolas Ghesquière has restored the once-moribund French fashion house to cult status by injecting a taste for the avant-garde into the revered brand's classically wearable designs. Balenciaga's store underplays Ghesquière's characteristic daring, sharp lines; awash in cool grays, the cavernous, cave-like space pipes ethereal music that creates a Zen-like background to the eclectic fashions. Don't be surprised to find entire jungle scenes on short cocktail dresses or unfinished-looking coats with a kind of Mad Max quality. Equally unconventional shoes and accessories are in the back, and devotees swear by Balenciaga's signature, perennially "It" motorcycle bags, available here in multiple colors and sizes. Sales associates leave customers alone to browse, and quietly discern whether shoppers are serious—and worthy of wearing these striking creations—or merely grazing at the playground of the fashion cognoscenti.