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Shopping

Feeling at Home in SoHo - Jonathan Adler

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

In the heart of Soho, amongst the architectural haven of old New York and some new-age NYC resides a little slice of zen called Jonathan Adler. You may have heard the name many a time and may have even seen the store in other parts of the City, however, there is just something about the Soho location, apart from it being the first ever namesake store, and it's interior nirvana that makes your soul dance. 

Upon entering Jonathan Adler, aside from the itch of wanting every single objet d'art in sight, I was welcomed with a sense of calm and color. It was enough to make me feel as though I was anywhere but New York. Browsing through the lush furniture and smaller soft-accessories, I noticed that this was also a brand that was laced in a do-good ethos, with the fundamentals of pure fun. 

Starting off his career making clay pots and having Barney's as one of his stockists, Jonathan Adler vowed to never have a real job again. If I could work in a multi-tonal soft-furnishing paradise day in day out, I wouldn't consider it 'working' either. 

From large pieces of furniture to teeny, tiny accessories, Jonathan Adler has also had an impressive list of collaborations along the way. One of my favorites would have to be the RED collaboration which promises to donate 10% of the sales from the brand's Special Edition Tomato candle to someone living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Jonathan Adler Soho 2 by Homer Parkes.jpg

Mr Adler has found a way to create a unique shopping experience that stretches farther from the day to day transaction. It feels special and unique. From the service you get in his store to the joyous feeling you get from making a purchase, he has managed to add experiential retailing to his resume, and I for one forgot I was in New York. Job well done Jonathan! 

Heaven on 10th: Amelia Toro

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

Today marked Amelia Toro's SS16, New York Fashion Week presentation, and while the range was breathtaking as ever, I was more impressed by the whole brand and it's approach to fashion. Situated on 10th Avenue in Chelsea, Amelia Toro has carved herself not only a stunning location to showcase her brand, but is day by day, redefining what it means to be a womenswear brand. Having worked in the industry for over eight years, I am now able to notice a unique label, laced in ethics, when I see one, and it is this very idea that attracted me to Amelia Toro in the first place.

A key look from the Amelia Toro AW15 collection

A key look from the Amelia Toro AW15 collection

Upon walking into her store, you instantaneously feel a sense of calm and kindness. Store stylists are present and approachable, and you're able to touch, feel and try any piece on display. After the understandably, mesmerizing feeling, you cannot help but wonder, what is the story behind this unique, and gorgeous brand. Whilst going through the AW15 pieces, an employee kindly took me through what Amelia's approach to fashion really is, and upon learning, I fell in love all over again. 

Strong monochrome pieces, with hints of navy in Amelia Toro's AW15 range

Strong monochrome pieces, with hints of navy in Amelia Toro's AW15 range

Based in Columbia where all the designing and most of the manufacturing is done, Amelia takes pride in every single thread and fabric that is used. She runs a factory which not only makes these vivacious clothes, but takes the time to train each and every artisan to the highest level. Each piece of her collection is handmade and on the inside label, you will find the name of the artisan behind it. She believes in giving back to the community and employes men and women who are single parents, and are in need of an income. Amelia is a strong advocate of putting the meaning back into fashion and is extremely headstrong with her ethical actions in achieving this. 

Walking through the store gives you a sense of love, zen and admiration for a brand which takes pride in the process of design to display. The walls are painted in light, welcoming hues to compliment her collections, and her minimalist approach to furniture and fixtures, keeps your attention focussed on each, individual piece. A personal favourite is the black and grey palette above, fused with sharp prints, textures and holographic applique detail. 

Strong blood reds on a backdrop of charcoal black will see you nicely through Fall

Strong blood reds on a backdrop of charcoal black will see you nicely through Fall

It doesn't get much more zen than that folks, if you get a chance, do visit the stunning heaven-like store in Chelsea, if you're looking for silk and a story. Prices range between $650 - $3,000.

Amelia Toro

229 10th Ave, New York, NY 10011

www.ameliatoro.com

The Only Type of Sugar That Isn't Bad For You - Sugar Cookies

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

When it comes to genders, both males and females, each have a right to certain things. For ladies, one of those treasures is the right to good underwear. Situated on 20th Street, between the busy 6th and 7th Avenues, sits the intimate, lingerie, swimwear and nightwear haven, Sugar Cookies. 

This luxurious undergarment store has been in the charming neighbourhood of Chelsea since 2008. When I asked owner, Susanne Alvarado, why she chose this particular area, she smiled and said "I've lived here for many years, and saw a niche in the market...plus it's away from the main roads, which is a huge benefit as it makes for a more intimate and private shopping experience." I couldn't agree more! Underwear shopping can be a little daunting, much like trying to find the perfect jeans. It requires time, patience and help from an expert. With a background in underwear buying and retail, Susanne is the perfect host, and store manager. Her talents and experience shine through the visual merchandising, aesthetics and brands she offers in store. 

This hidden gem houses a range of price points and labels, starting from basics at $36 to silk robes at $500. She supports local talent and has a collection of beautiful silks and chiffons from New York based brand, Sapphire Bliss and digitally printed swimwear from NYC label, Graffinis, which embodies skylines of The Big Apple. Other collections include, Mimi Holiday, Huit, Chantelle and Simone Perele, to name a few.

Sugar Cookies offers you a relaxing and zen-like shopping experience, as well a complimentary bra-fitting service, and event space. From private corporate events, to bridal showers, bachelorette parties and even birthdays, Susanne is on hand as delivering a personal and fun-filled evening. What more could you ask for when it comes to underwear!

I'VE SEEN THE FUTURE, AND IT STARED BACK AT ME - REBECCA MINKOFF

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

 

To say the world is becoming a digital minefield is an understatement. However, when brands incorporate technology into a retail space, it can actually be more fun than daunting. I had the greatest of pleasure profiling the Rebecca Minkoff SoHo boutique, which is not only a tranquil shopping environment, but a store where you are encouraged to touch everything.  

The moment you walk in you are greeted with a light and airy atmosphere. There is a large mirror placed on your right, which with a simple touch, can interactively, take you through the SS15 Look Book and the Catwalk show. It is impressive that this large screen is placed near the entrance, as it instantaneously gives each customer the sense of luxury, as well as a peek into the future of shopping. 

The most impressive and digitally advanced part of this SoHo boutique, is the fitting room. Each item of clothing has an electronic tag, with all it's product information stored within. This nifty little micro chip is then picked up by a satellite in the ceiling, as you enter the changing room. Within seconds, the apparel you are trying on appears in the mirror in front of you, giving you the option to:

 

 

  • Change the lighting and ambience. 
  • Touch the item to reveal info, size availability and outfit suggestions. For example, a shoe, trouser and bag option to match your jacket.
  • Request another size or item from a stylist, who is alerted on his/hers personal iPad.
  • Remember your visit.
  • End session and start a new one.
  • Coated in a unique paint, the changing room will never read an item on the outside.

Described by one of the stylists assisting me; "it's like Uber for changing rooms!" I couldn't agree more. Stores like it make for a relaxing and zen, retail therapy session. Between the neon extravaganza for Rebecca Minkoff's SS15 collection, a range of stunning ready-to-wear pieces, and her futuristic fitting rooms, this is by far the best, interactive shopping haven, to date.

HEAD IN THE CLOUDS - REED KRAKOFF

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

To create fashion, is to create art; that is the first thought you have upon walking in to the Reed Krakoff, flagship store in SoHo. The moment you enter you are greeted with light, space and art. This is no ordinary shopping destination; this is a peaceful and stunning haven of goodness and zen. 

The store houses Reed Krakoff ready-to-wear collections, which include, clothing, accessories and shoes. It is also home to various art instillations; felt chairs are a creation by his wife, Delphine. My personal favourite, is a Ronan and Erwan Bouroullec “Clouds” instillation, located at the back of the store, it is made entirely of felt, and it literally feels like you are shopping in the clouds.

It's hard to imagine that there is a zen-like, shopping destination in New York's SoHo, with it's hustling streets. However, Reed Krakoff is placed a little away from Broadway, on Greene Street, and makes for a lovely afternoon of relaxing, retail-therapy.

If you need a little time away from your desk, and feel like treating yourself, escape to this stunning store and enjoy 60% off the current collection. (In store only)

Reed Krakoff 

93 Greene St, 

SoHo, NY

GETTING COACHED ON BLEECKER STREET

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

Last week I had the honour of shooting in the Coach heritage store on Bleecker Street. If you have ever walked down Bleecker Street you'll know what I mean when I say it is simply a Mecca of zen. Stunning designers, beautiful shops and cafe's, all on a road that looks like it belongs in another land, rather than New York. It oozes a sense of calm, style and bliss all in one! A favourite of mine along this strip is Coach; not only are the staff lovely, but the store itself makes for a relaxing, and pleasant shopping experience.

As well as reviewing the heaven of a store, I had the pleasure of wearing some of the key SS15 styles; suffice to say my birthday wish-list is brimming. 

Look 1

Look 1

Look 2

Look 2

Look 3

Look 3

Look 4

Look 4

The Coach SS15 collection is described as, "Celebrating a beautiful ‘oddness’ that’s born of American style and the attitude of New York City". Upon going through the collection I was inspired with the way the brand has encapsulated a sense of fun and street-wear vibes, whilst retaining their signature element of luxury.

A DIAMOND IN THE ROUGH - ANNA JEWELLERY

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

They say diamonds are a girls best friend, however, wouldn't that make jewellery her soulmate? Well whoever she is and whatever she thinks, jewels certainly make my heart flutter and soul dance. Some may say I'm a magpie; for those of you who know nothing about birds, magpies tend to be attracted to anything remotely shiny. Being a somewhat, easily pleased bird, I try and keep my eyes open to all that is around me. It is when I am walking around with beady-eyes, that I stumble upon treasure troves like Anna Jewellery.

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Anna Inspiring Jewellery started off as a small boutique in Vienna, Austria, by Anna Singer. With a background in luxury accessories, Anna grew the business from strength to strength over a course of six years, resulting in three international stores, including Munich and New York. When stepping into her clean-lined store on Washington Street, you can see from the offset that Anna has had a hand in the aesthetics. The visual merchandising would send a fashion editor off the rails, and the attention to detail is any woman's dream. The relaxed and zen atmosphere is filled with scents of jasmine, bergamot and the sweet smell of luxury.

It takes a few moments to come back to your senses when you've just walked into retail heaven; if it were up to me I'd do Yoga around the jewellery! Upon asking Anna where she gets her inspiration from, she smiled and said "it's everywhere for me... magazines, travel, old journals, architecture and symbolism". The delicate art to her bracelets, necklaces, rings and earrings is magnificent. The price point starts at $20 and goes up to more luxury, haute pieces which end at $150,000. You also have the option to create your own bracelet from scratch; from picking the length, material and colour of your wristband, to engraving your choice of charm; the brand really does offer state-of-the-art, service and quality.

Valentine's Day may be behind us, but this is one store which would be happily received on any day, month, occasion or year. A store that gives you tranquility and zen when you shop is definitely a store worth stalking! 

IF YOU DON'T KNOW, NOW YOU KNOW - 3NY

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

 

Getting 'free world-wide delivery' may be the future of online shopping, however, there are still some under-the-radar brands that are worth leaving the house for. 3NY, located on a quiet street in SoHo is a unique boutique, filled with a majority of American labels, and a handful of Parisian fashion. The buy for 3NY is separated into three categories; Luxury, with names like, DolanIssue and Finders Keepers. Contemporary, featuring, Love & LibertyMy Tribe and JOA, and thirdly, Emerging Talent, which houses, WildfoxThe Cue and Snowman. Upon finding this gem of a store, I felt like I was in Paris, the home of the unique, and most beautifully curated shops. The aesthetics are clean and minimalistic, leaving the clothes to do the talking. It's boutiques like this which give you the traditional experience of shopping; a calm environment, a collection of the best brands, a zen-like atmosphere, good customer service, tailored to meet your needs, and the opportunity to relax while you browse.

The story behind the acronym brand is to represent the 3 types of women in New York and their individual styles. First you have The Classicist, who loves a bit of tradition. After which comes, The Maverick; she makes her own rules and creates her own trends. Lastly, you encounter, The Eclectic who stays true to herself and pushes all boundaries. Boasting a lovely range of RTW and accessories, the price point ranges between $50-$1,000. 3NY is a must-see shopping destination in NYC, whether you're escaping a heavy day at work, or strolling there in your lunch break, be prepared to return to your desk in a meditative and zen state; purchase in tow. 

PACKING FASHION IN MEATPACKING - DVF

Sabi Datoo-Lalji

 

Having an adoration for all things fashion can not only be straining on your wallet but also on your mind. Allow me to elaborate; in this digital age we reside in, you can order almost anything to your door. It's a great era to exist in as I can literally do a grocery, laundry and toiletry shop without taking off my neon house slippers. However, when it comes to shopping for fashion, I am still a huge fan of walking into a store, browsing through rails, touching fabrics and trying bits on. This is not to say I never shop online; when needs must and all that, but I do love the experience of buying in store. The downside, at times, is that in order to enjoy a relaxing afternoon of retail therapy, you need to find a time and a place to do it in, otherwise it is just a Saturday afternoon at a jam packed Bloomingdale's, where you duck your head out the door to get air, before braving the sale rail for the tenth time. I am what you would call a very 'happy shopper', I try and remain calm and zen and somehow manage to come out alive! However, there are times when I would just love to walk into a beautiful shop, admire the walls and decor (because I can actually see them) and enjoy browsing in a calm and relaxed environment. 

Ladies (and gents if you're here too) I bring you Diane Von Furstenberg in the Meatpacking District. Located on Washington Street, it is by far one of the most beautiful shops in New York City. The visual merchandising makes for a delightful browse, the sales assistants are as helpful and non-overbearing as ever, and above all it is a very tranquil place to shop! I have been in a countless number of times for either a spot of window shopping, buying a gift or for events and never have I felt more calm and zen-like, whilst straining my wallet (in a good way of course) 

Diane Von Furstenberg's "The Woman I Wanted to be" is in stores now

Diane Von Furstenberg's "The Woman I Wanted to be" is in stores now