Imagine traveling to New York and spending a day shopping in some of the most exquisite boutiques with your very own style guide; someone to help you find exactly what you have been searching for at a gem of a destination you might not have known to exist. Sounds like heaven, right? Enter Lucia Tait and Amanda Sheppard, the owners and style guides of Coup de Coeur, a personalized service that offers private shopping tours in New York. As experienced shoppers with the inside scoop on which stores to hit, both well-known and unknown, Lucia and Amanda are the go-to sources for a New York shopping experience like no other. Closet Couture caught up with them for a Q & A session to find out their favorite boutiques, whose closets they would love to raid and, of course, what kind of shopping advice they have. Here is what Lucia and Amanda had to say.
1) Coup de Coeur is known as a highly personalized service providing private shopping tours in Manhattan, all guided by in-the-know stylemakers. How did the idea come about for creating the business?
L & A: Amanda and I were continuously asked by family, friends, and friends of friends for advice on shopping, what to wear and new brands and designers. We realized there was a need for this type of service that could serve both NYC visitors and locals. Tourists and out-of-towners get insider knowledge and discover stores and neighborhoods they wouldn’t have otherwise and New Yorkers save time and hassle – everyone gets amazing service, special Coup de Coeur discounts, our style advice and a variety of other perks and luxuries!
2) Which are your favorite stores to shop in New York? And if you had to pick one store as a go-to source for an amazing head-to-toe look, which would it be?
L: All the stores we work with are great in their own way, but if I had to say for a head-to-toe look, either Curve in Soho – which carries gorgeous accessories, designer pieces and a dash of vintage – or my favorite standby, Barneys.
A: I find that Barbara Bui designs amazing shoes and accessories with an edge. For one-of-a-kind jewelry, Sucre in the West Village has a collection of keepsake jewelry that stands out. Ludivine, which carries only French labels, always features classic pieces. Bergdorfs is the go-to department store– every age and style, you will find the perfect head-to-toe look.
3) What are you pining for right now?
L: Well I’m not quite ready for Spring shopping yet, but as far as resort I would love Chadwick Bell kaftan to bring to St. Barths in February. To wear now a chiffon Keith Lissner dress and Scoop’s private label exotic skin clutches. I lust after Manju Jasty’s fine jewelry line, although it is not in my price range!
A: The sold-out motorcycle boots by Miu Miu – I’ve even searched ebay!! A great place to find sold-out or discontinued pieces. I also lust for tailored styles from Rag & Bone, clutches by Paige Gamble and Allessandro Dell’Acqua’s asymmetrical trench.
4) What is your favorite city to shop in?
L: New York of course! New York is one of the most dynamic, inspiring, and exciting cities in the world for shopping and style, and that is why Coup de Coeur works. There are always new stores opening, new designers starting up and influential runway and street styles emerging. Outside of NYC I love shopping in Marrakech, Istanbul, Paris and Florence.
A: New York is obviously the favorite. It truly is a city that offers the best-of shopping experiences whether at a luxury department store or a small boutique. The attention to detail and level of style is unsurpassed. Second, I would have to choose the Marais in Paris, an eclectic neighborhood that includes boutiques where you will find special pieces with a Parisian touch.
5) What is on your spring/summer wish list?
L: Another Misela bag (the white/silver canvas tote with fringe), an Otera evil eye print scarf, and I’m obsessed with the line from House of Waris.
A: Nude Christian Louboutin Pumps, flowy dresses by Pencey, Barbara Bui handbag and a Mara Hoffman swimsuit.
6) Describe your personal style. Which designers rule your closet?
L: My personal style is classic and polished with a twist. I like clean and simple cuts with a touch of romantic or bohemian tossed in. I have a lot of Christian Cota, Zac Posen, Temperley, Missoni, Alexander Wang, J Brand jeans, James Perse tees and tanks, J. Crew and American Apparel separates and Sergio Rossi and Christian Louboutin shoes.
A: My style has a menswear twist with feminine touches. I adore Hermès accessories, Pamela Love jewelry for it’s quirky edge and Twenty-8-Twelve separates. My staples are J Brand jeans, Miu Miu shoes, J. Crew separates and Temperley Dresses.
7) How do you like to shop? Do you prefer going with friends or alone?
L: I like to shop alone because when I go with friends I always focus on them! I never go on ‘sprees’, I just stop in to my favorite stores when I am in the neighborhood to pick up a few things, or when I’m really lucky I do personal orders and showroom appointments with friends. I also shop online (net-a-porter.com, lagarconne.com and discounted sites like Gilt Groupe and ideeli), as well as sample sales.
A: Lucia and I are always ‘shopping’ for clients or researching new stores, so I always have in mind what I want – then prefer to go alone for my personal shopping excursions.
When is the best time for shoppers to find a great deal?
L: Right now it is hard to not find a great deal, for better or worse. After Christmas and late summer are annual sale times.
A: In NYC there always seems to be at least one good sample sale a week, so check listings before you head out to shop.
9) What was the last piece of clothing or accessory you purchased?
L: This week I took advantage of the severe sales and picked up a silk Marc Jacobs flower print dress, an Yves Saint Laurent ring and an embroidered Fiona Paxton necklace.
A: A gorgeous Hermès Collier de Chien belt. It is the perfect accessory to update any look!
10) What is the best style advice you’ve ever received?
L: Two pieces of advice will change to way you dress if you stick with them; the first being to not shop based on trends except those that truly fit in with your personal style and the second being to get everything you can tailored for you. Your clothes will fit better and you’ll feel more like ‘you’!
A: Having style is how you wear what’s in your wardrobe, knowing what works for your body type – not seeing how many labels or trends you can fit into one outfit.
11) Whose closet would you love to raid?
L: I’ve just been loving every single thing Anne Hathaway puts on, so definitely her closet.
A: My mother’s in the ‘60s. Everything that she did keep I now have.
12) Do you have any shopping tips or advice?
L: Without giving our professional secrets away (!), I would advise that this is the perfect time to stop buying so much ‘stuff’ and start buying classics and investment pieces, with a few indulgences thrown in. If you are craving something trendy, try shopping at Target or choosing a new fabulous piece of jewelry. If you have a few formal events coming up, buy one quality design from a designer who does formal really well (think Oscar de la Renta or Peter Som), not a bunch of trendy ‘party dresses’ you probably won’t like in a year or so.
A: Absolutely, quality over quantity!! Make your look unique with accessories that personalize your style and always tailor pieces to fit – as we mentioned. And last, if you favor a certain designer or trend, vintage or resale might be the way to acquire one-of-a-kind or unique pieces that will stand out in your wardrobe.
13) What are the benefits of using a guided shopping service like Coup de Coeur?
L & A: With Coup de Coeur, shopping is an experience that is both fun and productive! Each client fills out a Style Profile and we base their entire day around just what they are looking for. Boutiques, brand flagships, department stores and designers offer our clients pre-arranged merchandise, extended hours, dedicated salespeople, champagne service, sales and event invites and discounts up to 20%. Coup de Coeur shopping tours also make stylish gifts – perfect for upcoming Valentine’s Day!
Visit www.coupdecoeurny.com to find out more about shopping services.