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Travel

A Day Spent at Hudson Yards

I am going to lead with the conclusion here. To be clear, RLS loved Hudson Yards and we think you should all go yourselves if you are able.  The mall covers a wide range of price points, from H&M to Dior, but most importantly, there are some new discoveries you might not have had a chance to see, feel, and try on in person before.  This was the most fun part for me and Kyle. Well ok, I also had a lot of fun picking out “boy” sequin-flip tees for my kids at H&M, but even more we enjoyed discovering new concept boutiques as well as brands from Australia and Canada in depth.

I’m sure you have read about the “death of the mall” all over America. Mall operators are bringing in grocery stores, restaurants, movie theaters, and other entertainment concepts to not only help fill the space left by retail store closures, but to keep people in the mall space for as long as possible. Now that we can do all of our shopping online, we need a reason to go to the mall and stay there to spend money. Just as my marketing professors at Parsons School of Design would yell at us that New York was not America, Hudson Yards mall in New York City is not your typical American Mall.

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Hudson Yards is a development encompassing community, office, and residential space in addition to the 8-story shopping mall. It is a $25 billion project which has been in development for years, built from the ground up, up, up on the far west side of Manhattan, just a few blocks from Penn Station. The mall’s anchor store is a 3-story Neiman Marcus, which doesn’t even appear until the 5th floor. And although there are restaurants and gourmet take out spots sprinkled around the mall, there are no filler concepts here. There are stores, stores and more stores with a ton of great merchandise. Instead of your usual Zales and Kay Jewelers, the jewelry stores on offer are Van Cleef and Arpels, Cartier, and Tiffany, not to mention the luxury watch makers. On the other hand, Hudson Yards also offers Banana Republic, H&M, and Uniqlo et al. But did I mention the Louis Vuitton and Fendi stores? You would be hard pressed to accuse the developers of targeting only one kind of customer.

Hudson Yards does have one non-shopping related attraction and it is a big one. The Vessel is an interactive piece of artwork that involves interconnected stairways you can climb, giving you different vantage points of the city. As someone who is so afraid of open heights I was once the only person in a large group who couldn’t complete a repelling trip down a very small mountain in Wisconsin, I was content to look at it from below. However, it does seem like an incredible experience for those with the cardiovascular health and nerves to try it. Be forewarned, you need to reserved a timed ticket to enter the Vessel.

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Kyle and I shopped the mall for 6 hours straight, only stopping once for a quick lunch and then to collapse and eat ice cream when we had completed all 8 floors of the mall. My one complaint for a mall so large it took professional shoppers 6 hours to get through it? There is nowhere to sit down! Well ok, not nowhere, but practically so. There is one small area with cafe tables and chairs outside of Neiman Marcus where we ate our lunch, and we saw a few 2-3 seat benches. There are many gourmet take out restaurants and coffee places so I just don’t understand where you are supposed to eat your salad? Standing while shopping? Where are the bored spouses supposed to go while their significant others shop? I guess you just really aren’t supposed to stop shopping unless you are situated in one of the mall’s expensive restaurants.

The more common mystery quoted in industry publications is exactly who is going to shop at Hudson Yards long term. Will it be tourists or locals or a mix of both? And with traditional retail areas such as Fifth Avenue doing poorly, does the city need one more shopping destination at all, even one protected from the weather? Opening weekend was a success, but only time will tell if the luster of the new and shiny shopping mall dulls or stays bright and shiny. RLS votes for shiny!

Happy shopping!

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Neiman Marcus

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I’ve been shopping at Neiman Marcus for years in LA, Chicago, and DC, so I am thrilled to now have the option for my New York clients.

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The store is absolutely gorgeous with a spaciousness most New Yorkers have probably not experienced before, open-sell cosmetics, shoes placed right smack in the middle of the main floor, multiple restaurants (I love Neiman’s restaurants!), and a formidable selection of merchandise.

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This Moncler section was especially arresting. We kept finding new prints and textures we hadn’t seen at other stores.

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We were especially enamored of the sensible method by which their denim section was organized. Kyle and I wanted to dive right in and start shopping!

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I spent a lot of time (and money) in the gourmet food section, part of a new dining/shopping/experiential concept called Cooks and Merchants.

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Forty Five Ten

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Forty Five Ten is a multi-brand concept store started in Dallas in the year 2000, that has recently expanded to Miami, Napa, and now New York.  You can also check out their robust website.

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They say that their spaces mirror their inherent curiosity and commitment to design.

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I have to say, it has been a long time since I’ve been so excited to be in a retail store. The stores are a must see for all fashion junkies.

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Eclectic, inspired, and unconventional, a few more of their words, definitely apply. This series of stores alone makes the trip to Hudson Yards worth the trek.

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Forty Five Ten took a chance on multiple retail spaces, some adjacent yet all feeling separate. There are four stores: women’s designer, men’s designer, vintage, and women’s emerging labels.

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Categories sold included women’s, men’s, vintage, home accessories, shoes, and bags, all spread across 16,000 sq ft on the 5th floor of Hudson Yards.

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Each space expresses its own creative spirit distinctively with innovative, original display.

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It is such the the millennial’s luxury emporium it even has a pink shopping corner begging for an Instagram moment.

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Rudsak

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Thanks to Betsy Fisher, one of our favorite DC boutiques, Kyle and I have become great fans of Montreal based brands Iris Setlakwe and Marie Saint Pierre. Therefore it didn’t surprise us to learn that the uber cool, super chic, sharply tailored clothes at Rudsak also came from Montreal.

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Rudsak’s design ethos started with leather, which is used as a design accent on many of their pieces. Of course their allover leather pieces are indescribably soft, beautiful, and sharp all at the same time.

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One of our favorite pieces was a bestseller of theirs called the Taplin coat, which is wool with leather sleeves and just so cool yet practical at the same time.  Imagine our surprise when one of our clients picked it off the rack at Betsy Fisher the week after we saw it at Rudsak’s first store in the US! And yes, she took it home. We can’t wait to shop the line more for our clients, especially the sharp trench coats!

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Scanlan Theodore

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Scanlan Theodore is a hugely successful women’s clothing brand from Australia which I had read about a few years ago when they first opened a US store in the Flatiron district of New York. Apparently a few US based female consultants discovered the brand and thought, why shouldn’t American women have access to these great clothes?

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My first reaction to the clothing was, working women in Australia must be really glamorous!  And well paid. The clothes are pretty expensive, which makes me wonder how much importing them to the US adds to the final retail price. Hudson Yards is Scanlan Theodore’s third store in New York and includes a great line of shoes and their version of the all important travel proof knit, which they call crepe knit. The fabric promises to hold you in while showing nary a wrinkle. I can tell you it looks like a million bucks. I’m looking forward to trying the line on clients and seeing how they like it.

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The Conservatory

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The Conservatory was a store we just couldn’t leave, which I guess is the point, right? Funnily enough, the owner of The Conservatory is the original founder (who has since left) of Forty Five Ten.

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The concept is that the store curates exceptional designers across a range of categories, displaying them like a gallery and helping clients find sizes so they never have to do anything so unpleasant as rifle through a clothing rack. The real magic is that the store actually carries no inventory. Instead, every time a customer checks out on an iPad, they are actually checking out directly with the vendor.

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The Teak Tea Room, the store’s restaurant concept, was unfortunately not open yet when we were there but it will be a guaranteed stop next visit. They don’t allow cell phones or computers inside. Magical!

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Muji

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I have loved Muji since a friend introduced me to the store in London over 20 years ago. Like an addict, I am always on the hunt for a bigger, better store, listening for tales of new and larger stores opening in locations I may be able to reach.

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Hudson Yards is by far the best Muji store I have ever been to, even better than London. The store must have the entire line, including the holy grail, Muji clothing. I bought myself cropped culotte sweatpants, cropped culotte techno khakis, and a functional but chic rain hat since I am the queen of hat-losing if there ever was one. Kyle bought herself a travel toiletry bag she now swears by (and shrimp crackers, of course).

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The coolest thing is they will embroider anything cotton in the store with dozens of awesome designs. You could custom make your own tee, baseball hat, or set of towels. We can’t wait for a return visit!

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Lani Inlander is a personal stylist who has been working with clients who want to feel their best and look put-together every day for over 15 years. You can find her in the Washington, D.C. and New York metropolitan areas. Learn how you can train with Lani to become a personal stylist at The Stylist Studio

You can find Lani Inlander and Real Life Style on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

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