Taking a cue from Rei Kawakubo, whose Comme des Garcons opened a Chelsea outpost seasons ago, the old and venerable house of Balenciaga set up shop on a gallery-lined street on the West side. Somewhere along the line, Balenciaga became the place for hardened hipsters to get skinny pants and leather jackets, to say nothing of those bags, which a certain type of woman covets more than anything.
Tell the truth: Wouldn't you rather contemplate a pullover than a painting? Why look at sculpture when you can look at skirts? On West 22nd Street, home to some of the city's most well-respected art galleries, there are two wonderfully nutty, albeit really expensive clothing shops (well, art ain't that cheap either): Comme des Garçons, with its utterly distinctive, oddly frayed, wildly tailored confections, and Balenciaga, where the crazy imagination of its wild-child designer, Nicola... More »