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Luxury shopping in New York City has gained another formidable presence today, as the first Halston Heritage flagship opens on Madison Avenue and East 83rd Street. This marks a triumphant return for a brand that has roots in the glitz of Studio 54-era Manhattan. But if you're expecting disco balls, prepare for an attitude adjustment—the message these days is one of refinement and attention to detail.
We stopped by to take a look around this afternoon, and found a space that reads less like a shop front and more like an understated, comfortable, and unerringly chic townhouse. Upon entering, you're greeted with a view of two aisles of casual daywear, and a gracious staircase leading up to the second floor that houses a display of formal gowns. The palette is all shades of gray, interspersed with the bright colors of the brand's spring line and punctuated by the occasional potted orchid.
The current collection retains the glamour and effortless drape of the classic Halston look, but incorporates the tidy silhouettes and almost-neon colors of spring 2013. The overall look is one that recalls the history of a classic homegrown label without ever seeming dated, to great effect.
If the store resembles an elegant home, its entirely deliberate. The space is modeled after the residence of the late Halston himself, picking up on the designer's taste for simplicity, the floating staircase in his glamorous midtown apartment, and his storied love of orchids (he had an entire wall full of them). That being said, this is clearly a vision of Halston updated for the 21st century.
While the design of the shop reflects a haute minimalist aesthetic, it's also been adapted to suit the revitalizing campaign enacted by Ben Malka, the CEO of the company since 2011. Formerly of BCBG, Malka has made a concentrated effort to return the brand to its glory days, starting with the introduction of the Halston Heritage brand, and continuing the process with several store openings.—Becca Endicott
· Coming to Madison Avenue: Halston Heritage [Racked NY]