Best indie shops: West Village

  • Aedes de Venustas

  • Aedes de Venustas

  • Albertine + Albertine General

  • Albertine + Albertine General

  • Bleecker Street Records

  • Castor & Pollux

  • Darling

  • Flight 001

  • Geminola

  • Greenwich Letterpress

Aedes de Venustas

Aedes de Venustas

You'll be transported to Paris once you step inside this opulent bath-and-body shop. Rich burgundy carpets, gilded wallpaper, a gloriously huge chandelier and a mahogany desk that serves as the checkout area set the stage for the luxurious fragrances ($50--$300), candles ($20-$400), lotions and soaps from brands like Diptyque and Annick Goutal. Curiosity cabinets house many of the store's exclusives—the West Village outpost is the only location in the country to sell several items, including candles by Les Secrets Ladure Paris. 9 Christopher Sts between Sixth and Seventh Aves (212-206-8674,

Albertine + Albertine General
Thanks to a ceramic birdbath in the window and pink Louis XIV--style chairs and birdcages adorning the shop, Albertine is a fitting setting for a tea party—and carries what you could wear to one. Owner Kyung Lee designs the house line, Delphine, which covers both bespoke and off-the-rack clothing. Shoes and dresses by Rachel Comey, Bodkin, Apiece Apart and CFDA nominee Gary Graham also fill the slim shop. Right next door is sister store Abertine General, the jewelry outpost that carries a mix of new and antique baubles, including items from Iosselliani, Kathryn Bentley and custom charm bracelets by Madame Fortuna. A generous fireplace, gilded frames displaying necklaces and a glass cabinet housing a typewriter and stuffed bird lend the store an antique feel. 13 Christopher St at Gay St (212-924-8515,

The confines of this petite, white-washed space are filled with dainty blouses, A-line skirts and streamlined trousers, all designed by Juliana Cho and tailored by a secret local virtuoso. Leather envelope clutches and Parisian perfumes are perched on vintage tables and in glass cases. If you're tired of shopping, you can take a seat on a wooden bench that looks like it's straight out of a 19th-century classroom. 636 Hudson St at Horatio St (212-255-5574)

Bleecker Street Records
Though anyone could get turned around from the haphazard strings of Christmas lights and records plastering the basement ceiling, music nerds will be happy to get lost into this bilevel vault of new and used CDs, records, DVDs and posters. The shop is overstuffed with a great selection of rare vinyl including jazz LPs from the '50s and '60s; rock LPs from the '60s; and British, Japanese and German imports. The bands run the gamut from never-heard-of-'em to Top 40—and the prices are just as varied. 239 Bleecker St between Carmine St and Leroy St (212-255-7899,

Castor & Pollux
A subtle equestrian theme runs through this sophisticated boutique, decorated in a neutral palette of black, gray and cream. Expect new, smart separates from the stylish downtown crowd's favorite clothing labels, including Acne, Vena Cava, Tucker, Risto and Richard Chai Love. Cosmetics by Lipstick Queen and RGB nail polish provide the finishing touches. 238 W 10th St between Bleecker and Hudson Sts (212-645-6572,

The Crangi Family Project
Mystery abounds in this 200-square-foot, dimly lit space, where you can dig through pirate-worthy treasures, including designer Philip Crangi's Giles & Brother brass Pied-de-Biche rings and oxidized spiked bracelets. If you've got cash to burn, ogle the glass-encased Philip Crangi collection, his high-end line of maritime-inspired pendants, stackable twisted steel-and-gold bangles, and diamond-encrusted bubble rings. Not looking for jewels? Check out the hammered bronze chrysanthemums, or snag a rare book on anything from semiprecious stones to poisonous fungi. 9 Ninth Ave at Little W 12th St (212-929-0858,

It makes perfect sense that owner Ann Emonts Sherma is a former theater costume designer; you can see her flair for the dramatic in the vintage clothing she stocks, as well as the design of the space. Fresh flowers displayed throughout match the sunny disposition of the staff. Tables and chairs bordered by ivy-covered walls make for the perfect rest stop for shopping buddies (even four-legged ones) when the backyard garden isn't being used for vintage sales in the summer. Dresses range from $98 to $398 and tops cost $50 to $225, with the average vintage necklace ringing in at $58. TONY deal: Mention TONY for 15 percent off everything in the shop through April 29. 1 Horatio St (646-336-6966,

Flight 001
Shaped like the inside of an airplane, this travel shop—opened by jet-setting businessmen John Sencion and Brad John in 1999—attracts tourists and techies alike with its clever sampling of travel accessories, including neck pillows, city guides, mini globes, and lightweight Rimowa suitcases. Frequent travelers can also satiate their esoteric in-air needs by rifling through the shop's high-end toiletry bags. TONY deal: Mention TONY to receive 15 percent off everything through April 29. 96 Greenwich Ave between Jane and W 12th Sts (212-989-0001,

Sparkly dresses and tulle-and-silk skirts (all made with vintage fabric by owner Lorraine Kirk) abound at this boudoir-inspired boutique. The boutique's name is a portmanteau of the owner's daughters' names—Gemima, Domino and Lola, and this mirror-laden costume closet is a destination for everyone from high-school girls seeking ballerina-inspired prom dresses to middle-aged women addicted to 1940s pencil-cut frocks. 41 Perry St between W 4th St and 7th Ave (212-675-1994,

Greenwich Letterpress
This stationery store—with exposed brick, cheerful floral wallpaper and a pink overhanging lamp—exudes West Village charm. It's owned by sisters Amy Swanson and Beth Salvini, whose family has been in the printing biz for three generations, and nearly everything is designed in-house and produced on an old Gutenberg-style press. Aside from note cards and stationery, GLP also offers notebooks, rubber stamps, labels, gift tags and striking wrapping paper for $3--$5 a sheet. 39 Christopher St at Waverly Pl (212-989-7464,

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