When you say “tattoo”—a word that, parenthetically, comes to us via French Polynesia—you think body art. But that genius designer, Christian Louboutin, has opened a “shoe tattoo” parlor in his new, Meatpacking District men’s footwear boutique, and the tattoo salon here ain’t for your corps, but rather for your cœur—that is to say, for your spirit, soul, and pleasure. Because the artisans doing the tattooing are embroiderers from that renowned French embroiderer-to-the-stars, the atelier of Jean-Francois Lesage. Now men can have a copy of a real tattoo stitched methodically and artistically on their shoes—or they can design something whimsical, personal, or whatever, and have true, one-of-a-kind footwear.
The shoe store itself is a vision of unique architecture: The approximately 1,500-square-foot boutique encompasses an abandoned section of Gotham’s landmarked High Line and there are architectural elements of the High Line visible. Six former skylights, salvaged from the celebrated Park Avenue Armory, have been retrofitted and are embellished with mirrors and hung as chandeliers. Parts of the floor are cobbled with leather handworked by Mexican artisans. Footwear ranges from the fashion-forward Gareth to the Louis sneaker to the Rollerboy loafer. 808 Washington Street (Horatio Street); 212-255-2056; christianlouboutin.com
Paul & Shark
Although Paul & Shark (founded in 1977) has had a presence in the city previously, this new, 2,200-square-foot emporium, opening as we go to press, will be the company’s Big Apple flagship, and the corporation’s largest store to date. (Paul & Shark already has 250 stores located in 60 countries around the world.) The Italian luxury-goods firm (which started nearly 100 years ago, and was originally solely a knitwear firm) behind the brand is crafting the shop as only those Italians do it—with the most sumptuous and sensual of materials, a suitable match to the handsome merchandise mix within. Rich wenge wood, with its coppery and chestnut hues, and raw stone tiles in earthy tones elegantly trick out the fixtures, floor, and walls. A dramatic glass staircase transports shoppers up to the second floor where a wall of glass allows customers to peer down to the first floor. The casual merchandise, mostly sportswear, ranges from the preppy-with-a-twist to highly stylized European looks. This shop will also offer an expanded women’s salon. Prices range from about $200 to $250 for sport shirts; $300 to $600 for knitwear; and $900 to $1,600 for outerwear and luxury goods. 667 Madison Avenue (61st Street); 212-452-9868; paulshark.it