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Though it shares the same owners, Free People has a more flamboyantly bohemian vibe than its corporate cousins, Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. This lively brand, long carried by Bloomingdale’s, caters to individualistic, free-spirited twentysomething women with its updated flower-girl designs. From the orange-trimmed display tables to the fuchsia shag rugs to the wildly colorful sequined-flower artwork covering the walls, the bi-level Fifth Avenue showroom is a visual feast. And the apparel is an equally adventurous kaleidoscope of patterns and textures. Embellishments like tassels, studs, and lacy hems decorate light-as-air silk tees and rugged cotton skirts. Embroidered tunics, chunky woolen sweaters, and True Religion ripped jeans lend themselves to layering and creative combinations. The store’s higher-end We the Free emblem features relaxed-fit tees and sweatshirts with an edgier, tomboyish look. But perhaps most eye-catching are the accessories: fringed scarves, brightly striped wallets, knit glasses cases, and knapsacks with Holly Hobbie–type patterns make for youthful, quirky gifts.
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