If I could only shop on one street it would be Madison Avenue in New York. I’m friends with several of the store owners and managers along there. It makes it more of a chance to hang out and chat, rather than a simple shopping trip. When there, I get to share creative ideas, as well as the latest information about materials and design. It’s also not as crowded as other parts of Manhattan, which is nice.
The coolest piece I’ve ever found on my travels is a vintage corset belt by Alaïa. I have a real collection of belts I’ve accumulated over the years, which also includes pieces by McQueen, Oscar de la Renta and Tom Ford. I have well over a hundred of them in all sorts of colours and materials. Aside from jewellery, belts are my favourite accessory – they create the ideal silhouette.
The coolest store in the world is Maria Tash. I know… it’s an unabashed choice, but when it comes to great staff, bespoke designs and safe piercing, there’s no place better. Some of our clients fly to New York just to visit the store – but we also have a concession stand within Liberty. The plan is to expand into new locations and cities soon – watch this space.
The best independent stores are on the Lower East Side of Manhattan. The rents here are still low compared to the rest of the city, so you can explore lots of small stores and start-ups you wouldn’t find elsewhere. The vibe is similar to the East Village in the 1990s, which is where and when I started my business. I also love a good sample sale – and some of the best deals can be found on the Manhattan circuit. I usually do some research online, track down the event and get there early to snap up the best pieces. It’s competitive, but worth it – it’s one of the many perks of living in Manhattan.
The best department store in the world is Bergdorf Goodman. I love its history and New York heritage. It’s smaller than other department stores, but the selection of designers and pieces is highly curated. Fortunately, I’m friends with some of the brand managers, so they tip me off when special items land in store or go on sale.
The most unexpected destination for great fashion is Beirut. It’s the land of Elie Saab, Zuhair Murad, Lilly Ibrahim, Georges Hobeika and many more. I really love the femininity and sexiness of those brands – lots of silk capes and dresses with a high thigh split.
The coolest under-the-radar brand is Iris van Herpen. I don’t personally own any pieces and they’re not the most wearable day to day, but I respect her work as an artist, especially the 3D printing and avant-garde details on the dresses.
My perfect shopping day would include waking up late, enjoying a Greek lunch with friends, visiting one of my favourite tailors, then swinging by a jewellery convention at the Javits Center for a browse. After that, I’d drop by Bergdorf Goodman, have a light dinner, and finish with some dancing into the early hours.
The best people watching in the world is done from central Manhattan. Having lived here for over 20 years, I am very spoilt to come across such a variety of people – you really do see all types and all cultures here.
The coolest resort label is Juan Carlos Obando. The jewel toned colours and the hammered silks are great in warmer weather. Plus, the draping of the fabrics makes the pieces comfortable and flattering.
The best brand for basics is Agnona. It offers a variety of cashmere weights, patterns and neutral colours, which are perfect for seeing you through from autumn to spring.
I never walk away empty handed from a jewellery convention. Even after all these years, I’m like a moth to a flame when it comes to gemstones. One of the perks of living where I do is visiting the conventions at the Javits Center. I’ve been a regular visitor for over 20 years and have made close friendships with some of the vendors, so I get first access to the unusual diamond cuts and different coloured gemstones.
The best vintage store in the world is The RealReal. It has new drops twice a day, so I check in regularly to find pieces from my favourite designers. The return policy is really good, which makes it much easier to buy from than Ebay or Poshmark.
My favourite vintage piece I’ve ever bought is a McQueen matching skirt and coat skirt from the AW11 runway collection. I often buy vintage then get the piece tailored to fit me better. In this case the skirt was a bit big, so I had it taken in to fit me properly.
For repairs and alterations I go to Tailoring by Ornela in NYC. As I mentioned, I have most of my clothing altered to fit. I usually have the waist taken in and the hips let out, and I also have hems taken up to work with my favourite heels.
If I could only wear one brand again it would be either Elie Saab or J Mendel. I almost always mix pieces and brands though, before adding accessories and jewellery.
For something really special I’ll have something custom made. I never shop at just one place – I prefer to find different components and put something unique together. The same goes for jewellery, as well as clothing.
The best fashion gift I’ve ever given is a vintage Gucci bag. My cousin had been searching for it for months and couldn’t find one, but I managed to track it down.
The best fashion gift I’ve ever received is a custom coat. It was a gift to myself – I don’t believe in waiting around for someone to buy me what I want, so my best gifts are usually the ones I buy for myself.