Connect with us

It Happens First in New York

From the cobblestone streets of SoHo to the trendy Upper East Side, New York continues to influence stores around the world




THE ALLURE OF THE Big Apple is its diversity, architecture, art and cutting-edge retail environments.

Our 2023 tour of New York retail begins at the doorstep of Glossier’s beauty boutique in SoHo, whose message in mosaic tile proclaims, “You look good.” Opened this past February at 72 Spring Street, the 3200-square-foot space references the city’s intricate subway system with large-scale mosaic murals by Miotto Mosaic Art Studios, vaulted ceilings, white subway tiles and the familiar wooden bench found in most subway stations. The customer journey includes a jaunt through an arched aisle way where beauty experts use digital technology to facilitate transactions. Customers then wait in a comfortable 500-square-foot lounge as their order is processed.

It Happens First in New York ABOVE: Opened in July, the 4520-square-foot Emporio Armani store accentuates the brand’s style of contemporary minimalism. 📷 Eric Feigenbaum, New York

Emporio Armani is just a few doors away at 134 Spring Street. Housed in an early 20th century building, the 4520-square-foot environment, opened in July, celebrates its historical background with original exposed brick walls, cast-iron columns and dark oak flooring. An open floor plan is anchored by dynamic presentation vignettes consisting of large geometric cubes, colorful triangular presentation pedestals and an Emporio Armani collection. The new store concept encapsulates Mr. Armani’s vision of a contemporary, open, minimalist space. The brand’s global flagship concept, which debuted in New York first, is scheduled to be installed in Milan next.

It Happens First in New York GLOSSIER

Catherine Holstein, the 2022 CFDA Womenswear Designer of the Year and Creative Director for Khaite, brought the upscale retailer back to its birthplace in SoHo with a 4000-square-foot space at 165 Mercer Street. Designed by her husband, architect Griffin Frazen, the store is a love letter to New York with elements referencing the building of the city’s iconic skyscrapers: concrete, steel and glass. Concrete perimeter walls frame a series of curved steel presentation panels throughout the store. A sliver of natural light punctuates the space, highlighting a live evergreen tree at the rear. Complementing the environment are custom-designed chairs by Japanese artist Shiro Kuramata.


It Happens First in New York KHAITE

A New York mainstay for almost 130 years, Abercrombie & Fitch opened a new flagship at 668 Fifth Avenue. The multi-level environment starkly contrasts its previous Fifth Avenue location with an open floor plan and brighter light levels, including illuminated walls, column sconces and chandeliers. Surface treatments range from textured walls to fluted glass partitions and wood trim. The store features women’s and men’s collections, Abercrombie Kids and its YPB (Your Personal Best) activewear.


It Happens First in New York THIS IMAGE: Glossier’s 3200-square-foot SoHo space blends arched aisles , vaulted ceilings and tactile materials.

Following the opening of the Hermès flagship last year, Versace is continuing Madison Avenue’s comeback with its new store on the corner of 65th Street. The 5000-square-foot boutique features marble flooring with Greek-inspired design, fluted wood wall panels, silk and gold-colored metal accents. Together with marble surfaces, the environment is consistent with Versace’s opulence.

It Happens First in New York ABOVE: Abercrombie & Fitch showcases a bright design, fluted glass partitions and textured wood features at its new multi-level flagship on Fifth Avenue.

The Gucci store opened in March on the corner of West 14th Street and 9th Avenue in the Meatpacking District, stirring emotions with references to Florentine architecture and New York’s industrial history. The 9000-square-foot space, evocative of classical Italianate architecture, seamlessly combines a Florentine-patterned concrete floor with a gridded metal ceiling suggestive of New York subway grates. A colorful circular staircase, trimmed in vegan leather, is a focal point leading to the ready-to-wear area on the second level. Sustainability is at its core with vegan leather, restored vintage mid-century furniture, LEED certification, 100 percent renewable energy and LED illumination.


Gucci, along with the other retail destinations mentioned here, demonstrates that New York is back to inspiring retailers around the world.

📷 Eric Feigenbaum, 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

Promoted Headlines





Most Popular