In the middle of Suite 1521, situated in a building of private galleries across from The Carlyle, sits a coffee table indented with a bowl that’s currently filled with candy. It’s not what you would expect to see at a luxury boutique, but at Suite 1521, you’ll typically see things here you won’t find elsewhere.
Created by Kim Kassel and Lizzie Tisch, Suite 1521 is a shopping experience designed to fill a void both women saw in retail. A members-only club (you can join with an annual fee of $500), Suite 1521 aims to bring back a more personalized—and really, just enjoyable—shopping experience by partnering with designers to hold shopping events at their brick-and-mortar location. The label’s designer or a member of the atelier (a seamstress as well) is always present to assist clients with choice and fit. “Designers love being able to interact with clients, to see them wearing the clothes, to chat about their likes and dislikes,” explains Tisch. “When do they ever have a chance to do that?”
This rare interaction, in addition to the Suite’s curated selection of designers, is just one of the things that sets it apart from a department store or trunk show experience. Once signed up, members receive invitations to events (which often feature two designers) and request a time slot to pop by. There, they’ll find the full collection of a designer’s collection, even options that weren’t picked up from any buyer.
“In our experience as shoppers, it seemed that buyers weren’t choosing the best—or most interesting—pieces from a collection. We wanted to change that,” said Kassel. “We aim to discover incredible, up-and-coming designers and introduce them to our clients in a beautiful environment. And we aren’t afraid to tell them if something doesn’t really work.”
The duo’s dedication to creating a unique shopping experience is a breath of fresh air in what can sometimes feel like a carbon-copy shopping scene. Not only are clients introduced to incredible one-off merchandise in a beautiful setting, they are able to interact with the pieces’ creators, form friendships with founders Tisch and Kassel and curate a wardrobe that is unlike their neighbors.
“We spent a lot of time ensuring that everything was done beautifully,” explains Kassel. “When we approach a designer to join the Suite 1521 family, it is because we truly love their work and believe our clients will, too. We love fashion, and we aim to bring that to other women.”