When Israeli-born designer Nili Lotan was invited to join the esteemed Council for Fashion Designers for America, the honor was not so much a culmination as it was the beginning of an exciting chapter for Nili. Founded in 1962 by Eleanor Lambert, the same woman who established the Costume Institute at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art, the CFDA is currently headed by president Diane von Furstenberg and vice president Michael Kors. Today, membership is limited to fashion’s most cutting-edge and established designers who are either American or, like Nili, “international designers who are currently based in the United States. (CFDA.com/members) “Based in the United States” could mean a lot of things, so we set out to see where we could find Nili here in New York City!
Our inquiry led us to Tribeca and down a pristine and well-known NYC street, Duane Street, where all the charm of Boston’s Back Bay mingles with that unmistakable NYC pulse. Cobblestone streets give away to metal stairs as we walk up to the Nili Lotan storefront, but not without admiring the eye-catching window display. Eight signature garments from the Spring 2013 collection dance in the window, carefully suspended from hangers in a scene as charming as the space just beyond the threshold. 188 Duane Street is formally refered to as a "space," as it is both Nili’s studio and boutique...as soon as we walk in, we can just tell that special things happen here. Sunlight bounces the whitewashed floors and rustic tables that display denim alongside coffee table books and framed photographs. Tucked away in the corners are sweeping white tents that also happen to be dressing rooms. As if they were not already intriguing enough, we later learned that said dressing rooms are constructed from parachutes!
The elegance you see on the hangers of the main floor reflects the magic that happens downstairs. When a boutique doubles as a studio, there is a certain innovation that floods the entire space. While creativity is intangible, the carefully selected art and books that dot the store remind us that there is a very real vision for this aesthetic, both of which are generated right downstairs. The official summary of 188 Duane Street articulates how “Lotan often exhibits artwork in the store seizing the opportunity to promote artists while sharing her personal love and appreciation of art.” (nililotan.com) As we thumbed through pages of striking photographs, it was clear that Nili’s special relationship to art comes out through her clothing.
While you might have to take a trip to New York City to visit this enchanting spot on Duane Street, you can experience Nili’s designs for yourself at your favorite Womens Boutique here in Newton Highlands! From the perfect cargo jacket to steely grey denim, a Luxadora can count on Nili Lotan for pieces that are as utilitarian as they are sleek. Not too long ago, we featured a washed navy military vest in one of our favorite spring outfits (see here), and guilty as charged, that vest is one of those pieces we would happily wear eight days a week. While a New York getaway is at the top of every Luxadora’s wish list, quench your thirst for that one-of-a-kind Nili Lotan aesthetic with a trip to LuxCouture!
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All photographs courtesy of Nili Lotan.