When New York native Claire Distenfeld hit 25, like most young 20-somethings, she had something of a quarterlife crisis. “I had a few months of ‘What am I going to do with my life?’ moments” she told me. Unlike most 20-somethings, the answer for Distenfeld was an incredibly ambitious undertaking: to launch a luxury retail space in New York to rival Colette in Paris or Corso Como in Milan.
Last night, fashion’s elite gathered to celebrate the opening of Distenfeld’s boutique, FiveStory, which is not five stories, but two and a half floors of a gorgeous townhouse on East 68th St (number 18, if you’re in the neighborhood). The boutique, which Claire opened with the help of her father, Fred, displays a meticulously curated and unexpected selection of women’s and men’s apparel, accessories, jewelry, shoes, kids and home wares displayed just-so in a space designed by Ryan Korbon. The floors are black and white marble and the staircases are lined with wrought iron balustrade. Read: This store is fancy. Thankfully, the upscale setting and location doesn’t necessarily mean that what’s for sale there is prohibitively pricey. There is contemporary clothing too, priced between $200 and $600.
We caught up with Claire to ask her how a 26 year old managed to pull this whole thing off.