New stores (September 20–26, 2012)

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  • Aesop aromatic hand balm, $95

  • Aesop antiblemish gel, $23

  • Photograph

    Annie Sez

  • Calvin Klein cotton sheath, $70, at Annie Sez

  • Franco Sarto suede boots, $119, at Annie Sez

  • Trovare fabric earring, $8, at Annie Sez

  • Emporio Armani snakeskin purse, $1,195

  • Emporio Armani turtleneck, $345; and pants, $475

  • Karen Karch

  • Photograph: Melissa Sinclair

    Reformation shift dress with cutout details, $185

  • Skn Spa

Aesop aromatic hand balm, $95

Aesop

  • Price band: 3/4

The Aussie beauty brand has expanded its NYC presence with this West Village flagship, making it the third downtown location (the others are in Nolita and Greenwich Village). The store’s decor pays tribute to the bohemian feel of the neighborhood through natural wood, and leather and brass accents. The plant-based products treat skin, hair and body needs with botanical blends and antioxidant formulas. Try olive-derived foaming face cleansers ($33), aromatic hand balms ($95), gentle shaving serums ($35) and soothing antiblemish gels ($23). If it all seems a bit daunting, rest assured that gratis skin consultations are offered to determine what products are best for you.

  1. 341 Bleecker St, (between Christopher and W 10th Sts)
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Annie Sez

  • Price band: 2/4

Ladies looking for trendy name-brand threads for less will go crazy for the goods offered in this 6,500-square-foot shop. While there is a location in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, this is the first Manhattan store for the 37-year-old company, which offers current season merchandise at 20 to 65 percent off department-store prices. It takes some diligence to rummage through the extensive, designer-coordinated racks, but we spotted Calvin Klein cotton sheaths ($70), Taylor leopard-print dresses ($60) and W18 by Walter Baker sheer blouses ($35). The massive amounts of accessories proved to be worth the effort as well, with Franco Sarto suede boots ($119), and Trovare stacked rings ($13) and fabric earrings ($8) emerging as standouts.

  1. 48–50 W 14th St, (between Fifth and Sixth Aves)
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Emporio Armani

  • Price band: 4/4

This is the second store for the Italian fashion house’s sportswear collection (the other is in Soho)—a brand that serves as a midway point between the original Giorgio Armani collection and the lower-priced Armani Exchange line. The space is adorned with gray stone floors, black crystal-studded walls and giant LED screens in the window looping the latest runway shows. You’ll find investment pieces such as shift dresses with fabric-petal details ($2,695), and knit turtlenecks ($345) and cotton-blend cuffed pants ($475) for men. Also look for items from Emporio Armani’s casual line EA7, such as velour track pants ($195), classic denim ($155–$385) and multistrand long beaded necklaces ($495). Accessories such as velvet ribbon-tied pumps ($535), snakeskin purses ($1,195) and men’s leather loafers ($595) are stylish add-ons.

  1. 601 Madison Ave, (between 57th and 58th Sts)
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Karen Karch

  • Price band: 4/4

Jewelry designer Karen Karch relocated her Nolita boutique to a secluded Gramercy block with a neighborhood feel. Griffin-detailed gates and a dramatic entryway mural, painted by NYC street artist Bunny M (bunnym.com), greet clients. The sleek, minimalist shop boasts oversize windows and ample seating for one-on-one appointments. Sparkly baubles rest behind a few glass cases, since most of the fancy items are custom-designed. Couples tying the knot will find jewels for their engagement ($4,000–$60,000), from classic round-cut diamond rings ($6,800) to unconventional, tiara-shaped styles encrusted with sapphires ($3,200–$7,000). Wedding bands ($900–$8,000) include vinelike rings for women ($900–$6,000) and textured-platinum bands for men ($1,100–$6,000). Karch’s signature detailed jewelry includes jade-and-rose-gold necklaces ($3,400) and turquoise rosebud rings ($2,500), as well as onyx horn necklaces ($2,600) and faceted sterling-silver cufflinks ($500).

  1. 38 Gramercy Park North, (between Lexington and Third Aves)
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Reformation

  • Price band: 3/4

This eco-friendly brand gets another home with owner and designer Yael Aflalo’s second boutique (the other is on the Lower East Side). The environmentally friendly 2,000-square-foot space features energy-saving lighting and reclaimed birchwood dress forms. You’ll find house-brand goods made from repurposed vintage clothing, including high-waisted maxiskirts ($195), shift dresses with cutout details ($185) and V-neck rompers ($235). The store also carries goods from trendy brands, such as Reece Hudson oversize clutches ($695), Jennifer Fisher cuffs ($150–$500) and Cosabella lacy underthings ($19–$48).

  1. 23 Howard St, (between Crosby and Lafayette Sts)
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Saint James

  • Price band: 2/4

The French company known for producing the original fisherman’s sweater has moved its store downtown, having been on the Upper East Side since 2005. The pint-size space is done up in maritime fashion, with stools made out of rope and coastal photos lining the walls. The brand’s popular striped boat-neck tees ($70–$120) for men and women hang on pipe fixtures and are displayed on wooden tables. You can also find classic wool sweaters ($220–$249) in stripes and solids, plus a few seafaring extras, including men’s canvas jackets ($110) and wool caps ($30–$38).

  1. 319 Bleecker St, (between Christopher and Grove Sts)
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Salon Ruggeri

Australian stylist Greg Ruggeri moved his two-year-old space from its original Chelsea location to this Murray Hill brownstone. Ruggeri’s business partner, interior designer Craig Longhurst, decorated the clean white space with vintage furniture and artwork found on his frequent travels to Europe, Asia and Australia. Settle into one of the three salon chairs, where Ruggeri or fellow stylist Cassie Harwood perform cuts (men $60–$75, women $150–$200) for men and women, updos ($70–$100) and blowouts ($70–$100). Ruggeri is known for his subtle highlights; opt for a half ($200–$250) or full-head treatment ($300–$350), or go all out with single- ($120–$170) or double-process color ($270–$320).

  1. 115 E 37th St, (between Park and Lexington Aves)
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Skin by Mamie

  • Price band: 3/4

Celeb skin-care guru Mamie McDonald has tended to the visages of A-listers such as Iman and Sophie Dahl at her Upper East Side sanctuary for the past six years. Although she’s moved her operation to midtown, you’ll feel at right home in the cozy space, which contains vintage furniture and pictures of McDonald’s friends and family. She specializes in facials ($55–$325), so clients have plenty of varieties to choose from. Go for oxygen-therapy facials (first visit $235, each thereafter $180), which target blemishes and sun damage, or a minifacial (40mins, $100) that involves a cleanse, steam and mask. The spa also offers services such as waxing ($20–$135) and body wrap–facial combos ($280–$500).

  1. 315 Fifth Ave, (at 32nd St, suite 403)
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Skn Spa

  • Price band: 2/4

Co-owner Darren Shaw has more than 15 years of experience in the spa industry and owns eight other spots throughout the city. With this most recent venture, he hopes to pamper Hell’s Kitchen locals with soothing treatments such as facials ($85–$250) and massages ($50–$165). The space features exposed-brick walls, calming shades of gray and blue, subtle lighting and fresh flowers. Clients can unwind in one of two lounges, including a backyard garden where massages are often given. Indulge in a hot-stone rubdown (60mins $125, 90mins $165) or a hydrating Dead Sea mud wrap ($85). A basic 60-minute facial ($85) not only cleanses and exfoliates your epidermis, but also includes a 20-minute arm, shoulder and neck massage.

  1. 698 Tenth Ave, (at 49th St)
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