Racked is no longer publishing. Thank you to everyone who read our work over the years. The archives will remain available here; for new stories, head over to Vox.com, where our staff is covering consumer culture for The Goods by Vox. You can also see what we’re up to by signing up here.
New York City has more stores than anyone could physically tackle, but somehow we always keep returning to the usual suspects. To break out of the rut, we've asked some local shopping and fashion gurus to provide their hidden retail gems—those unique stores around our fantastic city that we might not all know about. Cue the Beatles: We're about to get a little help from our friends.
Image via The Scented Salamander
Amanda Lepore is definitely a fixture of New York City nightlife. Anyone who has set foot inside a Manhattan nightclub in the past twenty years has probably been graced with her larger-than-life presence. Lepore's red lips, barely-there outfits and penchant for clutching a flute of champagne are her most recognized assets (depending on who you ask). The transgendered icon has been rocking lace and leopard and sky-high stark black patent leather pumps since her nightlife inception. The man behind her evening attire goes by the name of Garo Sparo and he can be found deep in the heart of the East Village. Lepore has been his dedicated customer for over fifteen years.
I met Garo Sparo in 1995 at Hotel 17. I was one of his first clients. Back then he used to make me leopard bras and 1950's lingerie. Over the years I've stayed with him because of his beautiful corsetry and evening gowns. Most of my clothes are custom made and Garo Sparo's boutique understands my style. Even though Garo is booked by appointment only, he has a beautiful showroom in the front for all curious eyes. Everything is a one of a kind. I'd definitely consider myself a devoted follower
· Garo Sparo [Official Site]