Four international brands rooted in the city
New York City has long served as an incubator for creative types, but perhaps more for those in fashion than anyone else. These four native designers are cases-in-point, each with a style uniquely their own.
Few designers have done more to advance the American fashion industry—or the fashion industry as a whole—than Marc Jacobs. From collaborating with Takashi Murakami and Kanye West to reinvent the house of Louis Vuitton to running his own line of bookstores, Jacobs is always doing something that no one else is. The world is his oyster, yet he still keeps his base in New York, where he was raised on the Upper West Side before studying at Parsons, working for Perry Ellis, and launching his own line. Now, he’s filled the city with places to get his wares, from the Marc by Marc Jacobs store on Bleecker Street (and the Bookmarc bookstore on the street corner just opposite) to his SoHo flagship, where starlets and fashion editors come to peruse his latest runway collections hung up in an ultra-chic garage. (Mercer St. nr. East Houston St.)
Launched in New York in 1938 Paul Stuart is one of the leading brands in defining what it means to be an American gentleman, suiting up those with classic-leaning tastes in cashmere crewnecks, seasonal wool, linen trousers, quilted jackets, and made-to-measure suits that have earned the brand its nickname, “The American Savile Row.” Its Madison Avenue flagship is all wood and leather, with its first and third levels filled with mens casualwear, sportswear, and formal attire (with details down to tie-clips, pocket squares, and cufflinks); sandwiched in between is a second floor for women, where long skirts of Italian cotton, gingham dresses, and crocheted cardigans see upper-crust ladies fitted like a modern Katharine Hepburn. (Madison Ave. at 45th St.)
It’s hard to think of an American fashion shoe designer more prolific than Steve Madden. Like the Whole Foods takeaway bar, the Queens-born designer offers the hottest and freshest of everything, from gladiators and t-straps to over-the-knee boots and simple heels; and for men, chukkas, slip-on drivers, and European-made wingtips. Although his footwear is now sold in Nordstrom, Macy’s, and a number of other department stores and boutiques, the best place to shop his full collection is at the SoHo outlet, which stocks his full collection of footwear, bags, and even a small line of his clothing in the back. (Broadway nr. Spring St.)
When Bronx-native apparel designer Robert Stock met French textile designer Graham Fowler, the two decided to combine their crafts and launch Robert Graham menswear in 2001. Since then, the brand has become a go-to among men for its style that strikes a happy medium between European flamboyance and American conservatism, with a wide-ranging selection of sportswear, jeans, polos, and button-downs famous for their contrasting cuffs (as often seen on Cameron Tucker on Modern Family). It even started producing a line of womenswear in 2014, with lots of breezy, brightly patterned blouses. As popular as it is, the brand is still privately owned and has less than 20 stores in the U.S., one being its vintage-feel store on Bleecker Street complete with hand-sewn silk curtains. (Bleecker St. nr. Perry St.)