NY Locations : Lower East Side
Words by: Edie Kim
Photos by: Wai Ng
Styling by: Abby Aranda
Modeled by: Karyna Kudzina
As Taste Collection is located in the Lower East Side, our intimate knowledge of our corner of the city makes this article an especially exciting one to share; akin to a local tour of our backyard rather than a foray into the more tourist-trampled parts of the city.
There is a varied and storied constellation of eccentric businesses in our vicinity; some brand new while others span generations, but what connects each of these disparate dots is the shared seity that drew each of us to the same neighborhood. Even historically, The Lower East Side was a refuge for those on the fringe; growing into an enclave for Eastern European immigrants with streets full of Jewish merchants selling wares from pushcarts (one of whom would go on to found the famous Russ & Daughters) by 1920. Half a century later, the demographic shifted, but the flood of artists and anarchists settling into the former tenement homes sought the same solace from society and similarly created their own community instead of choosing to conform.
There are few original Jewish bodegas left (apart from landmarks like Russ & Daughters and Katz’s Deli) and even the punk rock regime has faded (R.I.P. CBGB) but the more recent residents (such as Taste Collection) still carry the torch of eccentricity as The Lower East Side remains resilient against uniformity (despite the inevitable encroachment of gentrification).
Opening a lingerie boutique is a bold decision that necessitates an open-minded community, but establishing one as a simultaneous art gallery, venue for champagne dance parties, collective of creative directors, and purveyor of carefully curated goods requires an equally adventurous and artistic clientele. Somewhere between the graffiti-muraled walls and the refined art galleries, the grimy dive bars and the haute cocktail lounges, the Tenement Museum and the New Museum; Taste Collection found a place to call home.
The Lower East Side is where the heavily tattooed punk veterans and the arriviste artists reside, side by side. A vibrantly rich neighborhood like ours requires an outfit with as much depth and distinction. Our model, Karyna, was the perfect person to model the Taste Collection team’s selections as her own Russian roots recognizably resonated with The Lower East Side’s Eastern European emergence. She struts in these streets with confidence and comfort thanks to some of our favorite brands.
First is the lush, hunter green bralette by Tadashi Shoji; immaculately detailed in a floral lace and a contemporary cut that divulges a delicacy that could only be the work of celebrity red-carpet dress designer, Tadashi Shoji. The ethereal sheer top is by Philippines-based brand Beetroot; breathable but beautifully crafted by the local clothiers in the Philippines to be slipped into like a second skin. Lastly, the jogger pants are by Karen Kane; a brand with parallel passions as Beetroot, though insourced in America, further evincing Taste Collection’s commitment to curating only consciously-created consumer goods.
While the first outfit choice is ideal for the long walk along the Lower East Side’s stretch of art galleries that rival Museum Mile and sampling some of the neighborhood’s diverse dining offerings, we also have a bonus outfit suggestion for the more opulent options; such as a bar-crawl of the numerous hotel rooftop lounges or a reservation at Chris Santos’ celebrity hot-spot, Beauty & Essex. After all, this is our neighborhood, so we decided to spoil you with one more reason to visit us.
Karyna shines in this midnight-blue velvet romper by Favlux; an L.A.-based brand which brings that elusive West Coast cool straight to our East Coast doors. This item is an iconic Lower East Side piece because the unique color, edgy fabric, and relaxed cut all cohesively create an urban but polished aesthetic that works on the graffiti-lined streets and in the chandeliered hotel lobbies. Pair it with ripped tights and black leather boots for an homage to the area’s punk beginnings or step into a pair of stilettos with statement earrings for a sexy night out. With September’s arrival; thicker tights, heels with socks, and a faux-fur coat play up the romper’s fabric perfectly for fall.
Street-style casual or upscale classy, both Taste Collection and The Lower East Side have achieved an amalgamation of unique commodities that can satisfy both the inner-rebel and the inherent queen within us all.