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New York City’s Best Store Openings of 2016, So Far

The shoe department at Barneys Chelsea
Barneys Chelsea
Photo: Khushbu Shah for Racked

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2016 is only halfway done, but New York City has already seen some major store openings shake up our constantly-changing shopping scene. Below are the best ones to debut so far, starting with overall favorites and moving on to notable additions by neighborhood. For coverage of every store opening (ever), head here.

The Biggest Store Openings of 2016

The white spiral staircase at the center of Barneys Downtown Photo: Khushbu Shah for Racked

Barneys Downtown

The department store returned to its roots when it opened in Chelsea back in February. It’s smaller than the uptown flagship and definitely caters to the neighborhood — young, fashion-forward brands take center stage, and the entire first floor is dedicated to accessories. One of its main attractions, though, is something you can’t take home: the marble spiral staircase that runs through the center of the store. 101 Seventh Ave


The Row townhouse in New York City Photo: Courtesy of The Row

The Row

Another hotly-anticipated opening was Mary Kate and Ashley Olsen’s first East Coast store for their CFDA Award-winning brand. The sisters took over a townhouse off of Madison Avenue that was once a Japanese tea house and turned it into a luxe residence where (almost) everything is for sale, from The Row’s clothes and the just-released shoes to the fixtures and artwork. 17 E 71st St


Gold fixtures, black-and-white striped wallpaper inside the Aquazzura store in New York City Photo: Courtesy of Aquazzura

Aquazzura

Edgardo Osario followed in the footsteps of the Met Breuer, opening the brand’s first American store on Madison Avenue in early May. “I wanted it to be a church of shoes,” the label’s co-founder and creative director said of the store’s design, which is bold enough to stand next to Aquazzura’s bright fringe and lace-up designs. 935 Madison Ave


Inside the Gentle Monster store in New York City Photo: Floto + Warner, courtesy of Gentle Monster

Gentle Monster

It’s hard to know what to look at first here: the sculptural statement sunglasses from the four-year-old Korean brand, each nestled in its own backlit cubby, or the architecturally impressive store itself. Gentle Monster’s first store starts with a spare entrance area where a sales associate will take you back to the frames and ends with a gallery for art installations that’ll rotate every few months. 79 Grand St


Inside the Lululemon Lab store in New York City Photo: Courtesy of Lululemon Lab

Lululemon Lab

The experimental branch of the Canadian spandex empire made its way to New York City at the beginning of spring. What’s stocked here is nothing like what you find at the brand’s dozen-plus stores across Manhattan — the whole point of the Lab is to test out new styles specific to the market it’s in. Lab designers work in the back of the store, so feel free to strike up a conversation about what you want to see on the racks. 50 Bond St


Inside the Balmain store in New York City Photo: Balmain

Balmain

Capitalizing on his rising star, Olivier Rousteing and his label chose Soho for Balmain’s first freestanding store in the United States, and the flagship officially debuted at the beginning of April. Even if you can’t afford the signature heavily-beaded bodycon dresses for yourself, you can at least take a look at them up-close. 100 Wooster St

Upper East Side

A hallway with wooden shelves and flooring inside Moynat's New York City store. Photo: Courtesy of Moynat

Moynat: Right next to Aquazzura is this French heritage brand’s first-ever store, which is modeled to look like one of its trunks. 937 Madison Ave

Sonia Rykiel: Yet another French-based brand to emerge on the block is Sonia Rykiel, decked out in red lacquer and outfitted with a Parisian-style café that boasts thousands of titles on its bookshelves. 816 Madison Ave

Illesteva: What sets this eyewear store apart from its downtown counterpart is its station for mixing and matching frames and lenses for a customized pair of shades. 814 Lexington Ave

Midtown

The Domenico Vacca storefront off of Fifth Avenue in New York City. Photo: Courtesy of Domenico Vacca

Domenico Vacca: The Italian label consolidated its NYC retail presence into this one mega-store right off of Fifth Avenue that goes way beyond just shopping. Members-only perks include access to a restaurant, special events like fashion shows and outdoor movie screenings, and even short-term residences. 15 W 55th St

Saks Off Fifth: The department store’s first off-price location in the city has a surprising amount of stuff from high-end labels that you’d actually want to buy (as opposed to last season’s leftovers). Discounted pieces from Gilt are also prominently featured. 125 E 57th St

Flatiron

Inside the Tory Sport store in New York City Photo: Courtesy of Tory Sport

Tory Sport: It makes sense that the designer would choose this fitness-focused neighborhood as the location for her activewear line’s first permanent store. Its design throws back to sporty vibes of the 60s and 70s, while the collections on the racks remain thoroughly modern prep. 129 Fifth Ave

Bandier: Yep, another activewear/athleisure entry on Fifth Avenue. The workout gear boutique came here after an extended pop-up run on Broadway so it could add in a fitness studio to accommodate a full roster of classes. 164 Fifth Ave

Margaux: The online brand that peddles made-to-measure flats created a gorgeous little by-appointment studio at its offices, where an expert either can do the measuring for you or assist in picking out a ready-to-go pair. 37 W 20th St, #1206

Soho and Downtown

The bright, mostly white Rent the Runway style studio Photo: Rent the Runway

Rent the Runway Style Studio: The just-opened Style Studio takes the IRL rental process one step further than the Flatiron store, offering specialized appointments for both everyday dressing and special occasions. 345 Hudson St

Credo Beauty: Clean beauty lovers got a new shopping destination when the e-commerce site opened its doors here in May, following an opening in its hometown of San Francisco. 9 Prince St

Planet Blue: The California mini-chain established its first East Coast store here in May, and the only thing that might top its beach-y apparel selection is the dressing room set-up that looks like a dreamcatcher. 191 Lafayette St

Cobble Hill

Warby Parker Brooklyn Photo: Courtesy of Warby Parker

Warby Parker: The hipster-favored eyewear brand nailed the borough’s aesthetic with its first Brooklyn store — you can even pick up a map of the best spots to sit down and read in the neighborhood (now that you can actually see). 55 Bergen Street

Clare V.: And right next store is Clare Vivier’s take on Brooklyn (the two stores, along with Aesop in between them, share a backyard). The bleach-blond wood shelving is filled with her signature totes, store exclusives, and her new ready-to-wear pieces. 57 Bergen St