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Tucked away behind party central Lord & Taylor is a little shop that's looking to pack a major punch into how New York City views retail. This week marks the opening of Bene Rialto, a marketplace that aims to bring fashion, art, and media together in a five-story townhouse that straddles Fifth Avenue shopping and Garment District resources.
The first three floors are dedicated to shopping, with accessories and menswear on the ground level and womenswear on two. While you might have heard of a label or two (luxe activewear line Alala is prominently featured), Bene Rialto specializes in finding the undiscovered, whether that's at a Los Angeles trade show or a Brooklyn flea market. And rather than merchandizing product to create a "curated edit," each brand is displayed distinctly separate from the others.
Shoppers can discover new handbags from Ela and Eponymous New York, jewelry from Julie Barkan and Nancy Nelson, and leather goods from Slightly Alabama. Women can browse through apparel from designers like Nha Khanh and Ann Yee, while men can try on Ministry of Supply. And should a local store owner happen to pop in and see a brand they like, the management team can assist with brokering a deal for them to carry it. Frequent visiting is encouraged—brands will rotate every three to six months.
Along with retail on the third floor is a display of local art, as well as what will eventually function as a "blogger lounge," where local media can work and chat away from the bustle of the coffeeshop (and with free java, to boot). The fourth floor will operate as a private showroom, housing brands that aren't show on the floors below, while the fifth floor will become an event space with an open kitchen to host workshops and seminars for fashion (and even food).