Small is Big in the West Village – New York Social Diary

The West Village is happening. Again. The neighborhood has a little bit of everything. Small brands, growing brands, expansions, and newcomers are all setting up shop down in the village; which is once again now more like a “village” and less of a tourist destination than SoHo or the Upper East Side. The boutiques tend to be smaller and pop up in all sorts of spaces — old buildings, newer ones, and those in between.
As we continue to shed our masks and the lifeblood of the city slowly returns, we are seeing more people on the streets and in stores. It would be nice to put the past two years behind us so here’s to hoping that COVID continues its retreat. Plus, spring is just about here and soon all the tree-lined streets in the Village will be covered with fresh green foliage and the flowers will be blooming.
Atelier, or Atelier New York Women’s Store, is a welcome addition to the New York fashion scene. It has been around for years. The woman’s collection was housed in the men’s boutique across the street. If you miss Barney’s and its avant garde approach to fashion, then this new boutique is for you.
Margiela, Rick Owens, Bottega Veneta, Comme des Garcons, Miyake, The Row, Thom Browne, Isabel Marant, Marni and many other brands are available here. The store features two airy floors.
The looks go from minimal to over the top. And they are always cutting edge. The boutique also has a branch in Flushing. With independent multi-brand boutiques getting harder to find, exploring this one was lots of fun.
Shoes and bags are a big part of the mix. The ones pictured here are from Bottega Veneta. There is a good selection that I have not seen in other stores. They also sell Brydo, Creed and Aesop products. The stairs to the left lead to the second floor.

Upstairs has more of everything. On both levels each designer is housed in a separate area, making the collections easy to browse. Accessories and jewelry are arranged around the store.
The design of the store is minimal, but warm. The staff is welcoming; and helpful. But it is the selection that makes the store unique in the city. And its location on Eighth Street sets it apart. A very welcome expansion.
Atelier New York Women’s Store, 29 West Eight Street
A few blocks away on Bleecker Street, a new crop of stores has opened. Hudson Grace is based in San Francisco, and is opening stores in different parts of the country, including the Hamptons.
The brand was started by two veterans of Williams Sonoma and Gap. The store mixes new pieces with vintage finds, for an eclectic look. The pieces feel more one of a kind than mass produced.
The best Italian balsamic vinegar, olives oils, preserved lemons, specialty salts and peppers sit with a selection of salt and pepper mills, kitchen towels, placemats, napkins, and specialty cleaning products.
The store has a large selection of scented and unscented candles. Hudson Grace offers their in house brand as well as luxury scented candles from the French brand Cire Trudon. All sorts of candle sticks and candle holders dot the store. A artful selection of books is housed on a big table.
There is also flatware, serving pieces, barware and glasses. Although there are several styles of dinnerware, the pieces are mostly white. It unifies the display and allows the design to speak.
Hudson Grace, 405 Bleecker Street
AT, Another Tomorrow, has opened a few blocks down the street. The collection is wide ranging. The style is clean and modern. Most of the pieces are made in Italy with responsibly produced fabrics in sustainable factories. The store design takes advantage of the large windows.
Spring pieces are starting to arrive, and some winter-resort items are still available. The clothing is nicely detailed and sophisticated. The look is relaxed, and not girly. It’s hard to find that this year.
Books and a working table are at the back of the store, with a rack of older pieces.
A wall contains a selection of cosmetics and copies of the brand’s magazine. The magazine offers articles on sustainability and some petitions, with information on the issues highlighted and who to contact if you want to get involved. Brands do have a purpose and take real stands these days.
Another Tomorrow, 384 Bleecker Street
Maria Cher, an Argentinian brand, has arrived in New York. The Bleecker Street boutique is the first to open, with more on the way. The collection is designed and made in South America.
Prints and solids make up the collection. The looks have a masculine-feminine feel to them. There are ruffles and lace, but they mix with stricter pieces. The prints tend to be more feminine.
The shoes and bags are made from Argentinian leather. Cottons and wools are also sourced from South America. South American fashion is just starting to arrive in the U.S. Buenos Aires has its own spirit.
Many of the stores on Bleecker Street are located in small 19th century townhouses. At the back of this petite boutique is a cast iron fireplace cover. The Resort collection is housed here.
These boutiques also have back yards, with small gardens. It is part of the charm of the West Village. The collection speaks with its own language, and is a fresh addition to the city’s contemporary fashion scene.
MARIA CHER, 378 Bleecker Street
Goodlife is a very casual collection for men and women. Most of the collection consists of knits, T’s, sweats, sweatpants, with some woven twill pants and denim shirts added to the mix.
The women’s styles are similar to the men’s, and hang at the back left of the boutique. The store is small, like Maria Cher, and it too overlooks a pretty back garden.
They make bags for women, totes for men, as well as logo hats. Goodlife started as a direct to consumer brand, and now wholesales and has opened its own stores. 95% of the pieces are made in America.
When Goodlife began, one of its aims was to reduce any negative impact on the environment. They have started a program called the Goodlife Loop. Bring our old pieces back to the store, and get a 20% discount toward your next purchase. The clothing is then recycled and made into new pieces.
Not everything is made from recycled fabrics. The company believes in using quality fabrics, like Supima cotton. The stacked T’s on the shelves are all Supima. The brand’s elevated essentials are just that.
Goodlife Clothing, 375 Bleecker Street
Little Words Project‘s motto is “It’s cool to be kind.” The brand sells inexpensive bracelets with sayings like “Be Nice,” “Badass,” “Good Vibes,” and “Grateful” spelled out on white or gold letters.
The idea is to inspire kindness to oneself and to others. When you buy or are gifted a bracelet , you register it online on the brand’s website using the tracking tag that comes with it. After you wear the bracelet for a while, you can pass it on, and then track where the piece goes.
Each peg on the wall has a different saying on it. You can also do bracelets with custom words. The beads can be crystal, stone or gold filled, with a choice of colors. The letters can be in white or gold.
The bracelets make a nice gift. There are also self care and wellness items for sale as well as books, cards, candles, and other small, cute things. Need a gift? You will find something amusing.
Registered customers can comment on the website. You can see your word and those of others. LWP also donates part of the profits to many different female-focused charities.
This is a novel approach to communications. The customers seem to be real fans, from the sound of their postings. Many of the fun things are for sale on Instagram, too. A sweet idea for a new business.
Little Words Project, 374 Bleecker Street
Barbara Hodes is the owner of NYC Private Shopping Tour, offering customized tours in New York and Brooklyn.


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