J, M, Z at Bowery; F, V at Lower East Side-Second Ave.
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Nikki Laura Cohen drew up a business plan for opening her own boutique as a class assignment before graduating from Parsons in May 2007. “It was,” she says, “a really good plan”—an understatement, considering the Long Island native set up shop less than a year later and now pulls styles for young celebs like Natasha Bedingfield, Dreama Walker, and Minka Kelly. The store is youthful and girlie, with pink-and-white candy-cane sticks supplanting traditional flowers in a glass vase, bubblegum-pink furniture, and a leopard-print rug. Cohen handpicks her favorite fashion-forward pieces from a group of around fifteen New York, Californian, and European designers, yielding unusual finds like a black silk-taffeta Pencey dress with a white feathered hem, Radenroro skinny leather pants, or an Elizabeth and James top with zippers running up the sleeves from wrist to shoulder. Iro knits, voluminous Robert Rodriguez skirts, and Béatrez coats are popular picks in cooler months, while spring favors flouncy Caroline Hedaya cocktail dresses and LNA tees. A glass case near the register houses jewelry from New York–based designers, including Sarah Hearey, Rachel Leigh, and Nash (by Fred Segal’s daughter, Nina).