New York Fashion Week may be known for its peacocks, but Claire Distenfeld has good reason to be there.
As founder and owner of the luxury boutique Fivestory, which covers two floors of a beautiful townhouse on New York’s Upper East Side, Distenfeld sees the shows as inspiration for how to fill her shelves of quirky, eclectic pieces. Co-founded with her father Fred Distenfeld in 2012, Fivestory is in the same family as stores including the soon-to-shutter Colette in Paris and Dover Street Market, known for their artful amalgamation of everything from jewelry to home decor.
Today, Distenfeld’s seal of approval is no small thing for a designer, as she has birthed many fashion darlings, including the onetime “next big things” Rosie Assoulin and Olympia Le Tan. She walked us through a recent day on the hunt for more of those contenders during NYFW, which involved a flurry of other “it” girls and a decadent pre-show dinner at Harry Cipriani.
6:00 a.m.: I wake up and follow my daily ritual of wandering to this gold velvet chair I have in my apartment to meditate. I find I can only really get deep into meditation when most of the city is still asleep and there’s a simpler pace in the air.
6:20 a.m.: I get dressed for Tracy Anderson (it’s always black on black — I’m not one of those people who goes wild with their activewear) and pack an entire day’s worth of clothing into a bag. I live in Greenwich Village and work on the Upper East Side, and Tracy is right in the middle. Once I’m out of the house, there’s no going back!
7:00 a.m.: I take Tracy’s “Attain Definition” class, which is honestly the only workout I truly enjoy. I’ve been exercising in some way, shape or form for the last 18 years, and I can wholeheartedly say that that Tracy’s is the first method I not only love, but don’t get sick of. Afterward, I shower there and do my whole skin routine in the locker room — without fail, people come up to me and ask about something I’m rubbing in or dabbing on.
My routine starts with Tracie Martyn’s enzyme exfoliant, mixed with Mizon’s egg white bubble cleanser. Then I’ll use a bit of Vintner’s Daughter’s active botanical serum, Tracie Martyn’s firming serum and this regenerating skin nectar by Alastin. For makeup, it’s Ilia’s sheer tinted moisturizer and some RMS magic illuminizer. It sounds like a lot, but it takes five minutes and works miracles.
8:40 a.m.: Head to a breakfast at The Mark with Jennifer Bandier, who I’m meeting for the first time. She’s the warmest and nicest person. The big word these days is experiential retail, but that’s been part of Jennifer’s business plan all along. Incorporating a workout studio into her retail store was genius and groundbreaking. I had eggs, because eggs have it all: easy on the stomach, heavy on the protein, and you really can’t fuck them up.
10:00 a.m.: I head to my office and check in with my team. We discuss the digital strategy for the day, including which fashion shows we’ll focus on and what newsletters we’ll send out for the following day. Then I jump to the store to see new merchandise that came in. The Calvin Klein plastic raincoats and Vampire’s Daughter x Fivestory dresses with matching cardigans that are so beyond adorable.
Inside Distenfeld’s Fivestory boutique in New York City
11:00 a.m.: I go downtown to W Magazine’s It Girl Luncheon at Le Coucou. I really am not a lunch person — I feel like it sucks out the meaty part of the day — but this lunch is always a really nice one; what an amazing group of women in one room. I catch up with some pals, like [W Magazine jewelry editor] Grace Fuller (who just got engaged!) and Hailey Gates [host of Viceland’s “States of Undress”], and make a new friend in my lunch neighbor [model] Mary Charteris. What a charming and gorgeous girl.
2:00 p.m.: Headed to the Nomad for coffee with a close friend and then meet Brian Bolke, the former president and co-founder of Dallas boutique FortyFiveTen, to chat about all things retail. It’s always nice to talk to kind and honest people who work in your industry, especially if they are a bit more senior. I’ve learned that, not only do they love to help, but they also love to learn. Most people look at retail as this competitive landscape, but I think the smart guys are those who help each other out.
5:00 p.m.: It’s time for the Monse show, which is in this crazy high school–esque gym in an apartment building. The show is heavily influenced by American collegiate wear and sports uniforms, featuring lots of fun “tearaway” pants and a Minnie Mouse mascot wearing a sparkly fringed skirt that resembles cheerleader pompoms. It was upbeat and optimistic, which is always refreshing when the world feels a little dark.
7:00 p.m.: I make a quick pit stop at Harry Cipriani, the most decadent (read: outrageously priced) restaurant. Its Upper East Side vibes cannot be beat; they are timeless and always feel substantial — plus the bread is delicious. Then it’s on to Brandon Maxwell, whose show is always the most fun! He shows his collection at Doubles, a private club on the Upper East Side, which can only be summed up in one word: fabulous. I walk down a mirrored and red-striped hallway and am greeted with a box of candy cigarettes, before entering this ’70s-era, Studio 54-look room, complete with a large disco ball and groovy carpeting. His all-star cast of models — Gigi and Bella Hadid, Karlie Kloss — seem to have a great time, sashaying down the runway to the music.
9:00 p.m.: Home sweet home. For a brief moment, I think I might do a quick change and head back up to the Harper’s Bazaar Icons party to see the Weeknd perform, but willpower is not my middle name, my alias or my alter ego — my couch, husband and the Caviar app are all too enticing.
11:30 p.m.: I get into bed for a good, old-fashioned eight hours of sleep, only to do it all over again tomorrow.