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Owner and designer Katherine Kwok honed her sewing skills in college, creating custom-made gowns for the ballroom-dance team. In 2008, she opened this LES boutique, mixing her own label, Virketyne, among discounted new and vintage pieces from high-end designers. The shop attracts a clientele of trendy downtowners, many of whom wander in while waiting for a table at Clinton St. Baking Co. across the street. Although Kwok’s background is in costuming, the in-house line is understated and often vintage-inspired, with pieces like a faded blue cotton jumpsuit or lace-trimmed tunic. Racks of new apparel are filled with sample items from burgeoning lines along with crowd-pleasing labels: gauzy prints from Charlotte Ronson, silk-muslin dresses from Diane Von Furstenberg, a lacy black skirt by Marc Jacobs, or a cocktail frock by Catherine Malandrino. Tops from Cynthia Rowley and Vivienne Tam are sandwiched between well-preserved vintage items like a forties halter-back gown or a bright-red shirtdress. Kwok’s handpicked accessories include unusual hand-silk-screened ties from Cyberoptix in Detroit and brass trinkets shaped like tiny houses. But it’s the row of discounted, barely worn pumps in the window—from the ranks of Jimmy Choo, Christian Louboutin, Manolo Blahnik, and Dolce & Gabbana—that draws the most admirers.
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