Of all the stores that have popped up in the meatpacking district, Henry Beguelin (18 Ninth Avenue, in the Hotel Gansevoort; 212-647-8415 or henrybeguelin.com) may be the most appropriate: In a nod to the neighborhood’s underground-club past, it’s all leather, all the time. The mannequins are leather; the floor is embossed leather in a crocodile-skin pattern; and the counter is upholstered in pony skin. The whole place smells, blissfully, like leather.
Beguelin’s designs are best described as “hippie chic.” The company, founded 25 years ago on the Italian island of Elba, hand-sews buttery-soft leathers into everything from jewelry ($160 for a leather bracelet with silver accents) to home furnishings and luggage ($1,950 for a wheeled suitcase). Many items are embellished with tribal beads, shells, hand embroidery, and braiding, lending an African vibe. The bags ($450–$1,000) have developed a cult following among those into discreet luxury—they don’t have screaming logos, just a simple stick figure, the “tribal man.”
Women’s shoes start at $295. Curiously, there are no stilettos—but fun flats and a great clog will make navigating Ninth Avenue’s cobblestones much easier.