The Upper East Side of Manhattan is home to the worldâ€™s only M.A.C Studio (63rd, 825 Lexington Avenue) making it an essential visit for any M.A.C enthusiast. â€śThe studio space came out of the need for women wanting to get their make-up done like their hair is in a salon: you get 45 minutes to an hour of undivided attention,â€ť says M.A.C senior artist Michelle Clark. While the studio sells M.A.Câ€™s entire line of products, the focus is on the services offered: thereâ€™s everything from one-on-one tutorials to full faces and focus features â€“ think, bold lips, metallic eyes and perfected skin. â€śWe were able to pick and choose the services we thought would be most effective. Itâ€™s all customisable, so you can mix and match the services you want. There are clients who come in every day to get their foundation done.â€ť
Once youâ€™ve had your fix of CĂ©line and Moschino, cross the road and head to Byredo (62 Wooster Street) â€“ the one and only flagship store outside of the brandâ€™s birthplace, Sweden. Founder Ben Gorham, whoâ€™s often mistaken for a modern-day Viking â€“ in fact, his mother is Indian and his father Scottish and French Canadian â€“ launched the brand in Stockholm around 10 years ago with just a handful of fragrances. Today the New York boutique stocks the complete expanded fragrance collection, bath and body ranges, home scents including candles and room sprays, and an enticing selection of Byredoâ€™s own leather goods that are all handmade in Italy. Those unfamiliar with Byredoâ€™s intoxicating offerings should make a beeline for the storeâ€™s bestseller, Gypsy Water â€“ the gateway to the brand with a cult following.
If youâ€™re after a one-of-a-kind fragrance impossible to get your hands on in New Zealand, head straight for Greenwich Village where youâ€™ll find Aedes Perfumery (7 Greenwich Ave). Renowned by fragrance connoisseurs from around the globe seeking a bespoke scent, the boutique opened its doors more than 20 years ago. Founders Robert Gerstner and Karl Bradl hand-pick the stocked brands and only bring in a couple of new additions each year, based on the smell, quality, packaging and story behind the brand. Among old-world dĂ©cor youâ€™ll find Serge Lutens, Maison Francis Kurkdjian, Lubin as well as luxurious candles and body care.
The Diptyque boutique in SoHo (242 Mott Street) is one of five scattered around Manhattan and provides the perfect place for fragrant respite after perusing Prince Streetâ€™s luxury fashion boutiques â€“ Louis Vuitton, Fendi and Miu Miu. The boutique may be only three years old, but itâ€™s home to scents that have been around since the early â€™60s when creative friends â€“ painter Desmond Knox-Leet, theatre set designer Yves Coueslant and interior designer Christiane Gautrot â€“ decided to create candles. Each scent is an olfactive ode to the trioâ€™s love of travel. If unsure of where to start, try Do Son â€“ a tropical bouquet inspired by the Vietnamese resort town.
Where to stay: Away from SoHoâ€™s hustle and bustle yet just steps from galleries galore and the best shopping and dining spots in the area, youâ€™ll find the boutique Crosby Street Hotel (head to booking.com to book). Floor-to-ceiling warehouse windows and bespoke dĂ©cor â€“ each room has its own individualÂ style â€“ will make you feel like a born and bred New Yorker.