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According to “Sex and the City” style guru Carrie Bradshaw, a woman has a right to shoes.

Steve Madden’s new women’s store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side (Lexington Avenue at 86th Street) is a thriving sanctuary for Carrie-minded shoe addicts, a refuge where shoe-shame doesn’t exist. “It’s a place for every woman to feel feminine surrounded by beautiful shoes and accessories,” says project architect and designer Victoria Benatar of Victoria Benatar Architect PLLC (New York), “a place that creates a connection between the customer and the product.”

This 800-square-foot store moved out of its space across 86th near Lexington when its lease ended, creating the opportunity for an updated, sophisticated look. “The old store catered to a younger crowd,” Benatar says. “I wanted this environment to draw women of any age group.” And to sell shoes, according to Benatar, a store should make all women feel sexy.

To create that sex appeal in such a narrow space, designers maximized the display area with shelving systems of interweaving curves and straight lines on the walls. These intertwining shapes encourage shoppers to venture farther into the space and personify what Benatar characterizes as the complex curves of a woman’s body. “Elements like an angled, mirrored storefront, curved display wall and oval tables and cashwrap achieve a feminine and sinuous flow,” says Benatar.

The shoes on the shelves are lit in front of white and pink backdrops to look almost regal, like delicate pieces of art any woman would want to own. And with plenty of pink leatherette seating, she’ll be comfortable while trying on those cheetah-print flats.

New Yorker Carrie Bradshaw admits her first great love is the city. But shoes come in second.


Client: Steve Madden, New York – Albert Attias, retail developer; Dana Yanniello, director, construction and operations

Design/Architecture: Victoria Benatar Architect PLLC, New York – Victoria Benatar, architect

General Contractor: Sherri Builders, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.

Outside Design Consultants: Berry Plans, New York (construction drawings); Cline Bettridge Bernstein Lighting Designers, New York (lighting)

Fixtures: Sparks, Philadelphia; Seetin Design, Brooklyn, N.Y.

Flooring: Flowcrete Flooring, Conroe, Texas

Audio/Visual: ECI Communications, South Plainfield, N.J.

Ceilings/Furniture/Wallcoverings: Sherri Builders, Atlantic Beach, N.Y.

Lighting: Lido Lighting Inc., Deer Park, N.Y.

Signage/Graphics: Alto Signs, Philadelphia

Upholstery: IWD Systems Inc., Bronx, N.Y.

Photography: Dana Meillijson, New York




MasterClass: ‘Re-Sparkling’ Retail: Using Store Design to Build Trust, Faith and Brand Loyalty

HOW CAN WE EMPOWER and inspire senior leaders to see design as an investment for future retail growth? This session, led by retail design expert Ian Johnston from Quinine Design, explores how physical stores remain unmatched in the ability to build trust, faith, and loyalty with your customers, ultimately driving shareholder value.

Presented by:
Ian Johnston
Founder and Creative Director, Quinine Design

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