Musing On Madison

These four Madison Avenue stores will have you covered from the diamond rings on your fingers to the grosgrain bows on your toes

Known as one of the world’s best shopping streets, Madison Avenue is lined with store after designer store vending everything from embossed stationary to museum-worthy art. Be it jewelry, accessories, clothes, or footwear you want, these four designers with outposts here have nametags that are both du jour and promise appreciation with time.

The iconic panther of French jewelry house Cartier may loom the largest at its flagship on Fifth, but further uptown the luxury brand operates a smaller, more intimate boutique. Buying something as precious—and expensive—as a piece of Cartier is personal, something understood perhaps no better than by the service here, which is attentive without being overbearing, as well as patient and discreet. Whether it be a classic Tank watch, an emerald-encrusted collar necklace, or a pair of diamond studs you’re looking to invest in, shopping here makes the perfect something all the more so. (Madison Ave. at 69th St.)

Housed in the first floor of a building with beautiful carvings above, Emporio Armani is handsome in and out, its black-and-white theme attesting to the black-tie events for which it clothes its patrons. The line falls between the house of Armani’s couture line of Giorgio Armani and affordable, trend-driven Armani Exchange, and the pieces are at once wearable and investment-worthy. Known for expert tailoring and simplicity, there are crepe skirts and lambskin jackets, poplin button-downs and jacquard trousers. Eveningwear is a specialty here as well: tuxedos, velvet gowns with metallic embroidery, and suiting for men and women both. And for smaller sybarites, just up the avenue at 88th Street is Armani Junior. (Madison nr. 57th St.)

From royalty to rap stars, Gucci’s accessories appeal to every type of clientele. Its linked-G logo may denote status, but also quality: the Italian house has been crafting bags since 1921. Its many classic pieces are must-haves, such as its brown leather bag embossed with its logo, driving loafers, oversized sunglasses. But for those looking for something simply well made, accessories more discreet range from quilted envelope clutches and biodegradable iPhone cases to canvas backpacks, wool beanies, and a full line of cosmetics. (Madison Ave. nr. 69th St.)

Malaysian designer Jimmy Choo has been giving Manolos and Louboutins healthy competition for space in the closets of fashionistas since British heiress and Vogue editor Tamara Mellon co-founded the brand with its namesake designer in 1996 (he made his first shoe at the age of 11). For every footwear gap, there’s a sole here to fill it, and it’s guaranteed to turn some heads, from leopard-print pumps to point-toe flats with grosgrain bows and buckled leather biker boots. Shoes for men also run the gamut—paisley bedroom slippers, glossy patent leather lace-ups, white trainers. Equally as artful as the ware is the two-floor store itself, designed in neutral tones with floor-to-ceiling mirrors, Art Deco leather ottomans, and a bubbly, glass-art chandelier centerpiece. (Madison Ave. nr. 64th St.)