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L'Impasse 1 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village

Walking into L’Impasse feels in some secretively pleasurable way like trespassing in the dressing room of an old Hollywood A-List star like Rita Hayworth or Grace Kelly. It has been an 8th street institution since 1993. The shop brings in a wide variety of customers, including celebrities, high school prom shoppers, impersonators, and transgender women.

“We make fine garments in a timely manner and we do not turn anyone away,” said the manager, Roger McKenzie, at the time of our visit. He began working at L’Impasse after being a long time client. His passion for the upstairs showroom is evident. When we marveled at the beaded and lace wonders before us, he exclaimed, “Clothing has feelings.” While making certain that we handled the items gently, he added, “You have to treat them with ease and softness.”

Each dress at L’Impasse is a work of art. Though outside pieces, mostly from Paris, are featured in the boutique, custom work is the shop's specialty. If you come in with an idea, L'Impasse's team can make it come to life. "The utmost care is devoted to each piece and each customer," owner Abdul Sall told me. "We dress everyone from Beyonce to Rihanna to Lady Gaga - What we do is excellence." He shared that L'Impasse goes way beyond being just a business. "For us it is more about the product and the service." Elaborating, Abdul said, "When people leave L'Impasse they do not only look great, they feel like a different woman."

Abdul's parents were from West Africa, but he was born and raised in Paris. He came to New York in 1995 and spent thirteen years working for the original owner of the shop. He took over in 2009. When I inquired about his training in the fashion world, Abdul quickly responded, "Fashion cannot be taught. As long as you have a good eye, it works. I never went to school for this." He shared that it has been an experience - a long road - since he did not speak English when he first arrived here and had little money in his pocket. Despite his difficulty adapting to this country, he persevered. "You can make your dreams come true if you put in the work - anything is possible."

When I asked what business was like on 8th Street in 2017, Abdul said that the street continues to change - over and over again - but that he keeps pushing. "As long as I have the drive, anything is doable," he insisted. Though it may be said that fashion is also constantly changing and morphing, like 8th street, some things remain the same. Love, passion, and care trumps convenience and instant gratification. There is a definite reason why this charming boutique has stood the test of time on 8th street.

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L'Impasse 1 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 2 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 3 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 4 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 5 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 6 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 7 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 8 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 9 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 10 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village
L'Impasse 11 Women's Clothing Greenwich Village

More Women's Clothing nearby

Lost Gem
Shop Untitled 1 Women's Shoes Mens Shoes Jewelry Women's Clothing Mens Clothing undefined

Shop Untitled

Walking into Shop Untitled, which features exquisite clothing, chunky crystal necklaces, fierce leather boots, and gloves galore, is like walking into a fashion wonderland. Along the walls there are long black coats with leather spines, a full body piece that looks like something a ninja might wear, and effortlessly hip hooded shirts. “We don’t buy safe things, ” Kevin Kelly said to me, “They end up on the sales rack. We do risky things. They’ll sell the first day. ”Manhattan Sideways had the chance to sit down and talk with Kevin and Gapu Suri who have been partners in the shop since 1983. Kevin informed us that the store was originally located across the street until 2009, when it moved to its current location. After relocating, people thought they were the new kids on the block. “New Yorkers don’t turn around, ” Kevin jokingly said, but then explained that he and Gapu chose to stay in the neighborhood because of their loyal clientele. Young women who shopped here years ago are now mothers who bring their daughters to browse in this haven of chic clothes. As we perused the wares, we learned that Shop Untitled is a place that changes with the times, keeping up to date on all the newest trends - because it has always been for young people. Its racks are filled with the lines of up-and-coming designers. Gapu and Kevin do not carry the same things as other boutiques: they mostly feature smaller designers who prefer to be in a finely curated shop. They are proud that a number of the designers that they represent choose to work exclusively with Shop Untitled. “Customers like being surprised that they’ve never heard of someone, ” Kevin said, adding that it makes them feel unique in a sea of familiar brands. Talking with Kevin and Gapu was a wonderful experience. They have strong convictions and take great pride in being a launching pad for new designers. “We love what we do – we wake up and love doing it, ” Gapu exclaimed with a big smile on his face. Together, they run the store like a well-oiled machine. Gapu, who moved from India to go the Fashion Institute of Technology, said that he travels to Paris about four times a year to do the buying for the store. He does “tons and tons of research” to seek out new and fashion-forward designers. Kevin has not had any formal training in design, but definitely, as he says, has a “flair for it. ” Decked out in cool, architectural clothing, their aesthetic is evident. The Manhattan Sideways team gave Kevin the impossible task of picking just three designers to highlight. He landed on two edgy, eco-conscious artists: Barbara I Gongini, who makes sure her fabrics and pieces are sustainably attained, and Demobaza with an “end of the world, beginning of the next world” vibe. To round it out, Kevin mentioned the House of Malakai, a company that makes very special face masks that caught the eye of Madonna herself. Rihanna even flew Malakai to New York for the Met ball. Gapu and Kevin have a lot of interaction with the music, film, TV, and theater crowd. Recently, a designer had work featured in The Hunger Games movies after a buyer for the film came by the store. The two men place a heavy emphasis on seeking out new talent. Gapu told us that he is always on the hunt for designers that are “raw and fresh. ” These talented men and women enter into a strong legacy: Shop Untitled carried John Galliano’s and Alexander McQueen’s work straight out of school. In ending our conversation, Gapu announced emphatically that the clothing and accessories that Shop Untitled carries must have “a soul behind the creation. ”

More places on 8th Street

Lost Gem
Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor 1 Bars Beer Bars undefined

Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor

What a find... down a flight of stairs from street level on 8th Street, Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor is the "antithesis of a sports bar. " Artisan and craft beer are brought together in a friendly environment that certainly had us feeling like we were right at home. The Parlor is also named for the Arts and Crafts movement, “a cultural revolt against the ideals of industrialization. ”When we visited, we spoke to Robert, one of the two owners, with whom we thoroughly enjoyed chatting. Robert is an internationally recognized speaker and writer on dining out and traveling with special diets (he co-authored the series Let’s Eat Out! ), and he also has a background in acting and producing on Broadway. He told us that the other owner, Don, has an impressive resume working with the FBI and counterterrorism efforts both in New York and around the world - which left us wondering what brought this dynamic duo together as friends and eventually co-owners. Robert informed us it was a love of American Craft Beer and the visual and performing arts... and that they actually met enjoying a pint of beer in Manhattan. Just as intriguing as its owners, the interior of Arts and Crafts is beautifully designed; the sophisticated wallpaper is custom made by Bradbury and Bradbury, and the soft green and beige pattern was Frank Lloyd Wright’s favorite, supposedly. The constantly changing art is displayed along the wall opposite the bar, and an exposed brick wall and fireplace give the parlor a true “extension of your living room” feel. Described by Robert, as the “Bugatti of beer systems, ” the twenty plus beers the Parlor keeps on tap rotate monthly and are kept by this state of the art system at a refreshing 32 degrees Fahrenheit. Robert also astounded us with how small the carbon footprint of the Parlor is — he told us they are very conscious of keeping things compostable and earth-friendly. In addition to their rotating display of art from both established and up-and-coming artists, the Arts and Crafts Beer Parlor also hosts a monthly lecture series on the subjects of art as well as culinary topics. We could not get enough of how interesting this place is — both the concept of art and beer coming together and the two fascinating minds behind it.