On my last visit to New York, a favourite discovery was Le Labo, a perfumer on Elizabeth where nosey shoppers layer notes of Bergamote and Fleur D'Oranger into custom scents.
Its industrial apothecary look is authentically New York and a modern interpretation of the city's tradition of corner pharmacies.
That classic skin care spot feeling is nowhere better experienced than at the original Kiehl's store in Manhattan's East Village (pictured). The three storefront wide space is full of vintage photographs illustrating the shop's history since its opening in 1851, retro labels warning that the opium found in a now discontinued ointment may be hazardous to your health and a fleet of mint condition motorcycles collected by former owner Aaron Morse.
This location was the skincare brand's only free standing boutique until eight years ago and customers from the thirty-three countries where the line is now available (Kuwait will be its next launch) still travel here for their fix of classic products like Ultra Facial and Intensive Treatment moisturizers. The Pear Tree Corner collection pays homage to an ancient pear tree that stood in front of the store before being taken out in a carriage accident in 1867.
Another tale of New York beauty success is Kiss My Face, the "obsessively organic" line founded on a Gardner, New York farm 90 miles north of the city by Bob MacLeod and Steve Byckiewicz. New Brunswick native Macleod celebrated his birthday last night with a private boat tour down the Hudson and up the East River aboard the Manhattan. Its teak deck was full of mover n' shaker-type friends who roasted MacLeod's flying skills aboard his Kiss Air four-seater and celebrated KMF's independent success.