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Think there’s a career in eyewear design in your future? Get a taste of it at New York City’s newest Illesteva store, which quietly opened on the Upper East Side this week ("We always open without a grand opening," CEO Daniel Silberman offered Racked by way of explanation). It’s the Italian-made company's first store to feature a "Build Your Own" sunglasses bar, allowing customers to mix and match frames and candy-colored lenses for a personalized look. The feature that’s currently available on their website, but it's so much more fun to do it in person.
The inviting set-up that encourages shoppers to grab frames off the shelves for try-ons and hang out on the bleacher set-up in the back — "All the furniture was handmade in Brooklyn," according to Silberman — is tucked into what’s becoming a bustling stretch of Lexington Avenue, just north of Bloomingdale’s. Funnily enough, it's mostly beauty: Kiehl’s Spa, M.A.C’s first makeup studio, Rituals, Fresh, Benefit, and a new facial bar are all within a couple blocks of each other.
"Instead of opening on Madison [Avenue], it’s much better for us to open somewhere where no one would expect us to open and make the neighborhood cool," Silberman explained of the location. "It's a much bigger benefit."
Aside from eyewear, you can also find Illesteva’s just-launched handbag collection, as well as a selection of umbrellas. The brand’s other NYC shop is located on Prince Street.