If you’re the type of girl who prefers buying your cropped sweatpants at the same place as your 100 percent real Chinese raccoon fur jacket, then consider Isabel Marant your new home. The French import finally hit Soho, settling into the downtown shopping mecca’s cult-couture Greene Street corridor. And while Isabel Marant is just a few blocks away from the hood’s fast fashion shops (Forever 21, Express, Old Navy, and not one but two H&Ms), the boutique’s real-deal embellished suede boots, silk harem pants and well-into-the-$1,000s fitted jackets are worlds away from the mass marketers.
And unlike her high-end neighbors (think Chanel, DKNY, Michael Kors) with outposts and flagship stores Uptown, Isabel Marant’s New York address couldn’t be farther away from the gilded, velvety boutiques of Avenues Fifth, Madison and Lex. In keeping with the art gallery roots of the neighborhood (or what’s left of them), the concept at Isabel Marant is akin to shopping for clothes in the same place you could just as easily be buying art. (And certainly it’d help to have a discretionary art fund to shop here.) And despite the fact that the closest beach to Soho is basically Rockaway, architect Nicolas Andre brings the sunny outdoors inside as the elements playfully embrace the store. The space is awash in natural light. High ceilings and cool stone floors add airy atmosphere, and soft wood abounds—alongside one store window, intricately cut blocks of wood form a structure that, at least abstractly, resemble rolling waves. In the center of the store, a slatted wood cocoon creates a quiet little cave in which to view the small collection of arts-and-crafts costume jewelry, suede booties and rough-hewn woven handbags.
Though individual pieces here average well into hundreds of dollars (good luck finding anything under $100—even a fabric military-inspired cross-body sack too small to hold much more than an iPhone was over $100), the inventory is predominantly casual. Isabel Marant’s collection feels arbitrarily curated, yet happily so—slouchy linen pants live alongside vaguely gothy metallic cocktail dresses that could stand on their own as evening wear or as day wear with black leggings and a motorcycle jacke (think rock 'n' roll safari chic). The feeling is less like shopping, and more like looking into the closet of a friend’s cousin’s independently wealthy boho girlfriend, who’s gorgeous with almost no makeup, has messy-perfect hair, listens to a lot of Rolling Stones, spends freely (independently wealthy, remember?), travels frequently to warm places and doesn’t believe in using an iron.
(Photo: Courtesy Isabel Marant)