J, M, Z at Essex St.
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Moon Rhee and Heyja Do, former owners of the shuttered Lower East Side boutique Dear:55, opened this avant-garde reincarnation in August 2009. The comfortable, chic space is scattered with jewels, pearls, and vintage shoes, and a sparsely feathered decorative chicken pecks at the hem of a white couture gown in the front window. The pair mix high-end pieces from designers like Comme des Garçons with vintage finds and retrofitted looks: A lace pinafore hangs loosely from a basic white tee, and holey metallic scarves and billowing gray jumpers approximate a gothic-Lolita look. A limited men’s selection includes offbeat, vintage-inspired styles—corduroy gaucho pants, cummerbunds—as well as basic staples, like roomy weekender bags.