One of our favorite style sanctuaries, SoHo’s Via Bus Stop, stocks an eclectic array of directional designers. While a selection from Ann Demeulemeester (a new addition this season) can sate the fashionistas’ thirst for deconstruction, the capelet with a bow closure by Anne Valérie Hash and Georgina Goodman‘s two-toned demi-boots could nicely punctuate that special woman’s wardrobe with a bit of moody romance. At Kirna Zabete, a seminal downtown retailer since it opened several years ago, (currently housing young powerhouse brands like Lanvin, Proenza Schouler, and Rick Owens) the ultra-luxe Gutzees mink sleeping mask could give the A-list globe-trotter a lavish incentive to take a beauty nap. Near Canal on Greene Street, Cloak‘s new store is not only home to its deftly tailored menswear, but a present from its library would thrill any pensive academic stylista. A soon-to-be-released Cloak library card will gain you access to vintage editions of literature by Edgar Allan Poe, Sylvia Plath, and ’30s issues of National Geographic magazine; its focused selection of art books, including titles on Daido Moriyama and Diane Arbus, are on sale. End your SoHo retail sojourn at Format, where an order of a Molteni & C porcelain chandelier in any Pantone color can add a spark of modern Baroque to any home.
For music-minded men on your list, head east. In the Lower East Side, a visit to Foley and Corinna‘s retail outpost for men (featuring vintage pieces mixed in with current labels) might yield a grungy cable-knit sweater or a retro-infused Rachel Comey item to elicit a smile from an introspective lyricist. Further up on Crosby Street is Atelier New York, where you can pick up a Neolithic-style necklace / key ring by Rust, a Mihara Yasuhiro four-finger glove in calfskin, and Carol Christian Poell leather boots with a hook closure to outfit that achingly stylish rock star.
In the East Village you’ll find exquisite stocking stuffers and uncomplicated options. At John Derian, rolled up Rogues Gallery T-shirts are good basics while Megan Park‘s exquisitely hand-labored ($400) scarves can add an exotic dash to any wardrobe. With a bloodhound’s sense of smell, follow the intoxicating scent westward on Bond Street to soothe your olfactory nerve at Bond No. 9, where 60-hour candles are infused with 80 percent of the essence normally found in a bottle of their fragrance. Next door at Bond 07 by Selima, pick out some status-y sunglasses from Laura Biagiotti, Christian Roth, or one of Selima‘s chic, prescription-ready frames for your myopic loved ones. At Odin, witty, colorful, and monochromatic Richard Allen sculptures of a pig or an intense blue picture frame are perfect additions to a design junkie’s shelf. But to humor a brooding art buff, go online. The site cerealart.com has corralled a list of celebrated contemporary artists who have translated their highbrow aesthetic into everyday items for the hoi polloi. Our picks include the Yoshitomo Nara clock, Marcel Dzama salt-and-pepper shakers, and Dalek shower curtains. Also online is Somme Institute, where a gift of the A-Bomb can reclaim that flawless, youthful skin.
In the West Village, Fabrica presents contemporary Mexican artisans: chic items from Omorika are options for the stylish career woman, while the deer antler-accented metalwork of Gabriela Cruz Garza’s silver jewelry and the serenity of Yuri Zatarain’s (Donna Karan is a huge fan) ceramics and sculptures are must-haves for that worldly individual. In the Meatpacking district, Destination offers a heavily and intricately crocheted John Rocha black coat for a woman needing to make a grand entrance, while a chic, casual lady can find comfort in a hand-painted silk top from Bantam. Around the corner at Dernier Cri, grab a Robert Cary Williams tank tee adorned in tiny holes, paillettes, and small chains, or go for Mawi‘s lariat necklace, a dangling confection of jungle-green yarn plaited with miniature gold chains.
For accoutrements with a storied past, head to 29th Street where you can book an appointment at The Studio, Jean Claude Mastroianni‘s lair of vintage opulence. Zero in on his impressive historical pieces: an authentic Coco-owned Chanel bag, an albino leather ’60s Gucci bag, and vintage watches from Patek Philippe, Boucheron, and Cartier. Nearby, the Julia Friedman Gallery, which has been temporarily (open until December 31, 2005) transformed into "the Gift Wrap/set/boutique," an artistic endeavor selling unique products such as packing tape, books, and clothing from creative minds such as Derek Sullivan and Feral Childe.
To secure a date on New Year’s Eve, get that special lady an appointment at Damian West’s lavish hair oasis at 237 West 4th Street, where Marisa Tomei and Keri Russell have their manes pampered. And finally, head up to VBH on the Upper East Side; a gift of a glittery clutch is as chic as it comes.
Anne Valérie Hash capelet
Robert Cary Williams’ T-shirt
Georgina Goodman demi-boots
Molteni & C chandelier
vintage Cartier watches
Bond No. 9 candles
Mihara Yasuhiro four-finger glove
Damian West Salon