Inspired by ancient churches and packed with top designers, Bagutta Life is fashion at its most religious.
Longing for the high-concept design stores of Milan and Paris? In the great multi-designer-boutique tradition of Colette, Browns, and Corso Como, we now have a vastly expanded Bagutta, right in the middle of Soho. The store has been around since the eighties (its first celebrity customer was Raquel Welch), but the new, transplanted version is nothing if not impeccably 2003. Not only does it stock a roster that even the most devoted fashionista couldn’t quibble with (Dior! Demeulemeester! And you won’t have to go uptown to see what all this Rochas fuss is about), Bagutta Life will also carry furniture, fragrances, and children’s clothing. And it’s all housed in an ornate, two-story space, designed in the manner of a church in ancient Dubrovnik. Now if that’s not concept shopping . . . Amy Larocca
Details: Bagutta Life (72–76 Greene Street; 212-925-5216).
It’s the hottest news from Brazil since the bikini wax: Socialite-cobblerette Constança Basto opens a similarly sexy in-store boutique at Henri Bendel.
Henri Bendel has long been a Junior League favorite for its fabulous party dresses, well-stocked beauty floor, and range of designers young (Rick Owens) and old (Missoni). Now the Fifth Avenue fashion fun house is rounding out its wardrobe offerings with an in-store boutique for 25-year-old Brazilian shoe goddess Constança Basto, who has already proved, with a Hudson Street shop, that New Yorkers have taken to her shoes with the same passion with which they’ve embraced Brazilian waxing and Gisele.
A Rio society girl, Basto understands a thing or two about sex appeal: Spangly and tall, her shoes are just right for pairing with Bendel’s excellent Diane Von Furstenberg collection or, if you’re in that kind of mood, a little Agent Provocateur lingerie. It’s one-stop, tip-to-toe shopping. Amy Larocca
Details: Constança Basto at Henri Bendel (712 Fifth Avenue, at 55th Street; 212-247-1100).
Right on Target
The fashion crowd’s made an art of mixing high and low. But actually creating both? Leave that to Isaac.
It’s not that we haven’t been hearing from Isaac Mizrahi in the five years since he closed his eponymous fashion house. It’s just that hearing—he’s become a cabaret singer—is all we’ve done. This fall, however, fashion’s favorite neurotic returns to making clothes. Twice.
For Target, he’s done a line of classic American separates (khaki pants, knit suiting, the perfect white tank top) priced entirely in the two figures. And you don’t have to trek to Queens to see it: Target is opening a temporary shop in Rockefeller Center for six weeks starting September 4 to highlight the collection.
Mizrahi is also launching Isaac Mizrahi made-to-measure, a line of twenty or so ensembles that are available by private order only and are very, very expensive. “I like things that are $60, and $6,000,” he says, “but not really things that are, like, $600.” Mizrahi, who loves to mix his high and low finds, expects that the true Mizrahi aficionado will do the same. “It’s Audrey Hepburn, but in, like, a crop circle,” he explains of the chic-meets-cheap appeal. “That perfect $9.99 tank will look great with every cute $4,000 skirt you’ve got.”
“They satisfy all of my desires,” Mizrahi says of his new ventures. “In the end, I’m just bipolar.” Amy Larocca
Details: Isaac Mizrahi at Target (48 West 50th Street; 800-440-0680). IM to Order (212-807-7122).
The first West Elm shop offers hip, Zen-modern design at shockingly affordable prices.
Dumbo’s days as a fringe neighborhood are definitely long gone. As anyone in the market for a loft will tell you, the area is now home to dozens of shiny new million-dollar apartments and pricey vintage stores. Soon it will also have the first-ever West Elm store. West Elm, for those of you without a mailbox, is Williams-Sonoma’s groovy, lower-priced furniture and home-accessories catalogue that launched last year. The company’s soaring 5,000-square-foot space is a fitting showcase for the minimalist, Zen-modern furniture, home accessories, and textiles it sells. All at incredibly affordable prices: Breezy white curtain panels are from $22; sharp dark-stained wooden platform beds are about $200; chunky, low coffee tables start at $199; and attractive tone-on-tone sheet sets are mostly under $100. Don’t do Brooklyn? Get over it. There’s no better collection of home furnishings this inexpensive and stylish within city limits. Rima Suqi
Details: West Elm, November (75 Front Street, Dumbo, Brooklyn).
The Louis Vuitton boutique at Saks Fifth Avenue gets a chic makeover.
Saks Fifth Avenue’s five-year, $1 million renovation is almost complete, and it’s been the talk of credit-card carriers uptown. With in-store accessories boutiques for hot labels like Chanel, Tod’s, YSL Rive Gauche, and Prada surrounding the first-floor makeup area, it’s the ultimate luxury-goods promenade. The final touch? An enormous new Louis Vuitton boutique, which opened on August 1. Loyal LV lovers may remember that Vuitton occupied this very spot a couple of years ago, but now there’s ever so much more: women’s shoes, jewelry, watches, and a whole men’s section along with the company’s beloved bags, small leather goods, and luggage. All are beautifully displayed in a pleasant, softly lit, shopper-friendly nook. Rima Suqi
Details: Louis Vuitton at Saks Fifth Avenue (611 Fifth Avenue; 212-753-4000).
Fine and Dandy
Façonnable’s impeccably-made clothes are fashiony but not fey.
Twenty-one thousand square feet of casual Friday hits Rockefeller Center! On September 12, Façonnable opens in the former Sephora space, with three floors of brightly striped shirts and gabardine trousers for him, and narrow suits and spangly Christmas-party gear for her (velvet tux, anyone?). It’s quite an expansion over what the 50-year-old French company (it started as a tailor shop in Nice) has offered New Yorkers until now and should round out the Brooks Brothers–Thomas Pink–Ann Taylor circuit nicely.Amy Larocca
Details: Façonnable (636 Fifth Avenue, at 51st St.; 212-319-0111).