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Opening a second store in New York City is never a copy-paste job, and nowhere is that more evident right now when comparing jeweler Aurelie Bidermann's just-opened boutique on Madison Avenue to her first stateside store in Soho. "I wanted to target a completely different neighborhood than my existing boutique," the French designer told Racked via email while traveling in Europe (ah, the life).
"I love designing for the downtown crowd — they're casual, yet have an amazing sense of style, and I think they really embody the aesthetic of my brand," she continued. "The uptown crowd, on the other hand, tends to invest more in a statement piece, such as a pair of fine jewelry earrings or a charm they can add to any bracelet or necklace. Fine jewelry is becoming an increasingly important part of my business, so it's where my focus lies for my Madison Avenue boutique."
But just because Bidermann's targeting the more upscale "ladies who lunch" demographic doesn't mean her cozy store is devoid of any fun touches. "It was important to me that the space itself preserved the same vibe as my downtown location," so that's why the first thing shoppers see isn't jewelry at all — it's cacti.
"I absolutely love the cactus garden in my window display that can be seen from the street," she wrote. "So many of my designs are based off of things I've seen in nature, so why not bring nature inside? Plus, they serve as a fun medium for displaying jewelry!"
The display precedes an inviting pink wraparound couch that begs you to sit, inhale the scent of Bidermann's exclusive orange blossom candle (you can buy it in stores for $65), and have sales associates bring those fine jewelry options out on trays for you to peruse — a gold-plated hand mirror is waiting for you to study your bejeweled reflection.
We asked Bidermann, who's had an apartment in the neighborhood for the past few years, to share her crucial fashion favorites on the Upper East Side:
Central Park: "I love to stroll around Central Park whenever I have a moment to myself. It's so beautiful in the springtime, and since so many of my collections are inspired by my surroundings, it really sparks my creativity."
Barneys New York: "My favorite department store in New York! Who doesn't love a little shopping and lunch afterwards at Freds?" 660 Madison Ave
Via Quadronno: "Via Quadronno has the feel of a petit Italian café, but on the Upper East Side of New York. Plus, their paninis are amazing." 25 E 73rd St
Clyde's Chemist: "Clyde's is one of my favorite pharmacies on the Upper East Side. it's offers such a wide array of products from all over the world, so in case I ever run out of my products that I buy in Paris, there's a good chance I can find them at Clyde's!" 926 Madison Ave
Aurelie Bidermann: "Of course." 957 Madison Ave
Zitomer Pharmacy: "Zitomer has everything you could ever need, from makeup to clothing." 969 Madison Ave
Spa at The Carlyle: "I'm always so busy when I'm in New York, but whenever I have a moment to myself I love to visit the spa at The Carlyle Hotel." 35 E 76th St
Lisa Perry: "Her designs are so fun and playful â I always have the best time shopping in her boutique." 988 Madison Ave
Sant Ambroeus: "Its not just a coincidence that both of my boutiques are located near a Sant Ambroeus. It's my go-to for tea or a quick bite to eat with friends." 1000 Madison Ave