So I had some time to kill today in between meetings, so instead of going all the way back to my office in Tribeca, I decided to do a little “retail mapping”… I basically comb a neighborhood or sometimes, if I hit the jackpot, just a couple of streets for hidden little retail gems. Today, while meandering down West 4th, I hit pay dirt…
“M” which stands for Michael, soon to have a name-change to “Hotoveli” just opened seven weeks ago. Now like I said, I don’t see myself as a fashion editor per se, so I don’t always know about amazing new places as fast as the fashion cognoscenti do, but I do try to stay on top of what is happening. It seems I either missed the press coverage or “M” is truly a little find. Either way, I am sure most of you have yet to experience not only a perfectly edited selection of new and better-known talent, but also a dramatic, beautifully designed space.
Upon entering the store, you can’t help but notice the almost “moody” turn of the medieval-type yellow-lit glow. I felt that I walked into a candle lit hall, except for the fact that it was brilliantly juxtaposed with modern fixtures and vintage touches. The store manager told me that the dark, aged wood floors are actually from Siberian wood and that the rug defining the center of the space is a150 year-old Afghan treasure. All of the fixtures in the store are custom made and the dressing rooms are basically a rich, simple fabric attached to vintage metal rods. The rods alone are quite special… The foot of each rod actually is in the shape of a hand and the hand is clutching a crystal. My favorite part was that instead of needing to clumsily pull the fabric over to enclose the dressing room, one side, fabric and all actually swing open like a door…genius! The “piece de resistance” is the vintage doors on each side of the space (they are just for show) reclaimed from old townhouses in Brooklyn.
The design alone is impressive and could have kept my interest for quite a while if not for the distraction of absolutely beautiful women's and men's fashion. As the manager walked me through the racks, he showed me brand after brand on designers that I have never heard of (in fact, I can't even find a few online). The first piece I grabbed was from a French designer by the name of Isaac Sellam. His knit lined, distressed leathers are architectural masterpieces…reminiscent of beautiful lightweight shearlings. The muted gray colors are fresh and modern. Oh, I should mention that everything in the store is black, charcoal, dark brown, which only ads to the drama and gives the store a distinct point-of-view. We then moved on to Italian designer, Ilaria Nistri’s masterfully conceived knitwear. The silhouette is sensual and expressive, much like the store. The real standout (vintage-lover that I am) is Louis de Gama’s dresses. They are vintage-inspired, though utterly modern, paring lace and faux-leather and romantic shape with harder edges. They are now on the top of my “covet” list!
The men’s side of the store is equally as impressive, though most of the brands are familiar… This is not a criticism, as the editing was on spot. The outerwear is a standout with rugged, edgy styles from Stone Island and vintage, celebrity-inspired pieces from Belstaff. Perhaps the most exciting outerwear resource in the store is Henro…the featherweight...and I mean featherweight down jackets are must-haves and yes, so much more chic than Moncler, which they carry as well. Another favorite is Italian brand, Unity. The double face cashmere, Yohji-inpsired coats and sportjackets are quite special and sophisticated…a great investment for the man who has it all.
There is a smaller room on the right side of the store that artfully houses the dressier clothing. Chic Lanvin suits for men and the most perfect cocktail dresses for women are the exclamation point to what has now become one of my favorite new fashion-finds…
Nothing is on sale, which I applaud… The point-of-view is modern, sophisticated and quite affecting. Run, don’t walk to this little West Village gem, as I am sure it will be discovered any minute!
M 271 West 4th Street