Re-Tales: confessions of a shopaholic

Shoe York

imageMove over Park Avenue, there’s a posh new neighborhood in town – 10022-SHOE. That’s right, Saks Fifth Avenue’s newly expanded high-end (eighth floor) heel emporium is so big (8,500 square-feet to be exact), it has its very own zip code. If that’s not outlandish enough, you can even commemorate the occasion by collecting their limited-edition shoe-adorned stamps. More than just a fancy address for pumps, 10022-SHOE also offers in-house shoe repair (should you break a heel running to the register), a VIP back room for private “head-to-toe” shopping and a ritzy café – all the creature comforts you’ll need to feel right at home. But what you’ll really be blown away by are the 10,000 jaw-dropping designer footwear styles – nearly double the amount the flagship formerly carried on the fourth floor.

The Willy Wonka of footwear, 10022-SHOE carries such an abundance of styles it will put you in catatonic state. From the moment I set foot inside, I felt like a kid in a candy store. Picture a striking 70-foot-long curving wall centerpiece covered with hanging, hand-blown Murano glass bubbles and spacious seating banquettes organized by designer. As for the merch, expect a dazzling museum-like display of 38 world-class designers such as Marni and Miu Miu, along with an impressive roster of new tenants including Azzedine Alaïa, Brian Atwood, Costume National, Derek Lam, Gianvito Rossi, Jonathan Kelsey, Nicole Brundage and Sergio Rossi. If you can’t stomach blowing all your rent money on a $785 pair of Christian Louboutin pumps, there’s always the sweeter $5 candy version at Charbonnel et Walker, the adjacent all-chocolate café.

Truth be told, I was so paralyzed by the sheer plethora of patent-leather platforms, men’s-inspired booties, sky-high sequined stilettos and suede knee-high boots that I sadly headed home empty handed. Pathetic, I know.

  • 10022-SHOE
  • Saks Fifth Avenue, 611 Fifth Avenue (between 49th & 50th Streets)
  • 212-753-4000
  • Mon.-Fri., 10am-8pm; Sat., 10am-7pm; Sun., noon-7pm
  • saksfifthavenue.com
  • $200-$4,000
  • 60 days for an exchange or refund with receipt
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Filed: Shop Talk

Speaking Beauty

imageWhenever I head to the cosmetics counter for a makeover, I can never replicate the same sultry look at home. While I’ll admit I suffer from selective hearing, it’s just that I simply forget all those detailed application steps the makeup artist says to do. Even those fancy color-coded face charts don’t help. But that was before I discovered Stila Cosmetics’ talking compact – a clever 4-pan eye palette that literally talks you through every step out loud. With the simple press of a button, I can now recreate those smokey eye looks I love… without the fear of looking like Krusty the Clown. 

More than a gimmicky gadget, Stila’s Smoky Eye Palette is like having your very own professional makeup artist on call… minus the ’tude and hefty bill. Simply flip open the silver lid, press the tiny button inside and a tongue ’n cheek fifty second voice recording from a Stila makeup artist plays, guiding you through the 5-step application process, along with recommendations on what brushes to use. Should the battery conk out, there’s even a handy manual with pretty illustrations and expert tips. Even the compact itself is covered with an eye-catching hologram that winks when tilted forward.

Girly packaging aside, you’re only paying $38 for four of-the-moment shimmery shades including base (an icy champagne for the entire eye area), slate (a silvery gray for lids), kettle (a dark gray contour shade) and ebony (a smoky black brown for lining inner rims). Just be prepared to splurge on the three “suggested” Stila brushes, since they’re sold separately from the kit. You also better add your name to Sephora’s waiting list (the last shipment sold out in 2 weeks) if you want to snag a speaking palette when the next delivery arrives in September.

A fun and futuristic way to wear makeup, Stila’s speaking eye palette gives new meaning to the term “beauty talk.” As my recently turned 40 year-old friend Ellyn said, “What’s next… a compact that tells me it’s time to get a facelift?”

  • Stila Smoky Eye Palette
  • 1-877-SEPHORA
  • sephora.com
  • $38 per palette
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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Get the best of what’s next in your city with Gen Art Pulse!

What: Every Monday and Thursday, GenArt.org sends out a FREE email newsletter filled with information about the best of what’s next in fashion, film, music, the visual arts and more, in your city. Since you don’t have time to hunt for what’s cool, Gen Art does the legwork for you.

Who: As the nation’s leading arts and entertainment organization, Gen Art has first dibs on the best emerging talent in fashion, film, music and the visual arts. They’ve helped launch big names in fashion like Zac Posen, Rebecca Taylor, Chaiken, Milly, Twinkle and Shoshanna to name a few. Their newsletter gives you behind-the-scenes access to the people and places everyone is going to be buzzing about… before anyone else knows what’s up.

Why: You’re a trendsetter. You go to openings at the coolest galleries in town, check out indie movies fresh out of Sundance and rock labels that no one else in your city has heard of yet, just like Gen Art. Constantly stay on top of what’s cutting-edge with Gen Art’s newsletter—your guidebook to living the ultimate lifestyle. Gen Art Pulse: of-the-moment information that’s short, sweet, and above all else, fun.

How: Click here to sign-up for your city edition of Gen Art Pulse now! 

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Filed: Beauti-Fixation

Haute Coats

imageIn L.A., it’s not who you are, it’s what you drive. In New York, it’s what you wear. And since the Big Apple was blessed (or cursed) with four seasons, we need to make our style statements with our coats. With fall/winter on the way, it’s crucial that I’m covered in outerwear that’s not only stylish, but also warm enough to fend off those frigid temps. That’s why my closet is crammed with Mackage (13 at last count) – a luxe Canadian coat label with an insane international following.

Touted for its ultra-flattering fit and unusual mix of fabrics, Mackage actually makes blustery weather fun and bearable. Created by design duo Elisa Dahan and Eran Elfassy during their elementary school days, Mackage has since been churning out dozens of cutting-edge leather and wool collections. Designed for fashion conscious femmes who want to look and feel fabulous no matter how low the mercury level dips, Mackage is more geared toward an attitude than an age. No wonder these haute coats are even coveted by leading Hollywood babes from the likes of Jessica Biel and Halle Berry. Known for its signature details such as waist-cinching belts, textured wools, leather piping, asymmetrical zippers, exaggerated collars and moody color combos (black, midnight blue and fog grey), Mackage is easily spotted from a block away. 

The latest styles to swoon over this season include a mod, thigh-grazing get-up with a built-in scarf and bell sleeves (the Demie, pictured above), an A-line beauty with a belted leather back and extra wide pleats, a chic wool cape adorned with a matte gold belt buckle and patch pockets and a jaw-dropping 3/4 length flared design with princess sleeves, which I snagged for myself. As if that’s not reason enough to raise your heart rate, there’s even a series of sleek, down-filled puffy coats (not to be confused with those bulky sausage styles) and a knockout knitwear line featuring sexy, oversized cardigans, turtlenecks and tube dresses. And since each classy cover-up seamlessly translates from year-to-year, you won’t feel pressured to constantly stock up to stay in style. But then again, throw on a Mackage and I’ll bet you can’t buy just one.

  • Mackage
  • 212-391-5287 (USA) & 514-388-5287 (CANADA)
  • mackage.com
  • $280-$785
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Filed: Clothes Encounters

Material Girl

imageWhen it comes to shopping for clothes, I’ve always favored small, boutique-y environments over busy chain stores. Call me high-maintenance, but I like getting special attention from sales staff such as frequent phone calls informing me about all the latest merch, free alterations and the ability to buy anything on layaway. Judging from the friendly vibe at Helianthus, a hip East Village hideaway, which recently popped-up on LaGuardia Place, I’m hoping to get even more of the same star treatment.

An unassuming street littered with casual eateries catering to the NYU crowd, LaGuardia Place is the last locale I expected to find a hidden shopping gem like Helianthus. Stocked with a well-edited mix of girly gear with an urban twist, Helianthus is a true shopper’s paradise thanks to prices that won’t break the bank. Owner Grace Wong, a recent FIT design graduate who apprenticed for Anna Sui, initially opened Helianthus (which is Greek for “sunflower”) to showcase her soon-to-be-designed clothing label. But since business has been booming from day one, those plans were temporarily put on the backburner. So for now, Helianthus’ racks are hanging with a bevy of established and indie brands from the U.S., Europe, Japan and Korea.

Expect an eye-opening palette of purple, shimmery silver and charcoal grey silhouettes that perfectly complement the hot pink plastic chairs and matching trash bin. Get a jumpstart on your fall wardrobe with flirty, punk-influenced ’80’s ensembles ranging from blousy ruffled tops by Alisha Levine, knee-grazing knits by Ulla Johnson, silk halters by Samantha Treacy and buttery leather carryalls with gold hardware by Bulga. And for jewelry junkies, there’s a gargantuan glass display filled with rhinestone-encrusted headbands, pendants with skulls and pretty chandelier earrings. Throw on a pair of patent leather skimmers, a bunch of silver studded bracelets and a wide cinch belt and you’ve got the Cyndi Lauper look down to a science. Multi-colored hairdo not included.

  • Helianthus
  • 552 La Guardia Place (btw Bleecker & West 3rd)
  • 212-677-6888
  • Mon.-Sat. 11-8pm; Sun. 11:30-7pm
  • helianthusny.com
  • $100-$400
  • exchange or store credit within 7 days of purchase
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Filed: Shop Talk