Counting Down the Hits

So many stores, so little time. That’s how I felt as I was putting together my annual Big Apple retail hit list. This year’s crop of stores is particularly diverse, and ranges from fast-fashion leader Forever 21 to the cult French candle-maker Cire Trudon — with some Disney magic thrown in for good measure. Let’s get started: 


Aéropostale: The mall-based teen fave is hoping to attract tourists and locals alike with its 19,000-sq.-ft., two-level flagship. The design mixes New York City-inspired accents with high-tech interactivity; a digital billboard illuminated by 2 million LEDs wraps around and into the store, with content that includes shoppers dancing with virtual models. (1515 Broadway, at 45th St.) 


Cire Trudon: The centuries-old, legendary French candle-maker (Marie Antoinette was a client) makes its U.S. debut with a design inspired by the Galerie des Glaces at Versailles. Antiqued mirrors, stucco, French molding and hardware, and molded Victorian busts — candles never looked so good. (54 Bond St.) 


Disney: With a digital billboard that towers six stories above Times Square, the 25,000-sq.-ft. Disney store is a showstopper. It’s also a real crowd-pleaser with all sorts of interactive bells and whistles, including a princess castle with magic mirrors. Wave a special wand and talk to Cinderella. (1540 Broadway, at 46th St.) 


Eataly: A temple to the food of Italy, Eataly takes shopping — and eating — to new heights. This 45,011-sq.-ft. marketplace is a culinary extravaganza — a sprawling grocery store complete with restaurants and a culinary educational center. (200 5th Ave., at 23rd St.)


Forever 21: The fast-fashion chain is testing the waters on Fifth Avenue, renting a 50,000-sq.-ft. space in the former Takashimaya Building for six months. Also check out Forever 21’s giant Times Square flagship, which has been packing them in since it opened last summer. (693 Fifth Ave., at 54th St.; 1540 Broadway, at 46th St.)


Lord & Taylor: An estimated $25 million makeover has given Lord & Taylor’s landmarked 650,000-sq.-ft. flagship a more modern aesthetic. Most dramatic: the redone 30,000-sq.-ft. main floor with its Swarovski crystal chandelier and a sleek, high-tech beauty department. (424 Fifth Ave., between 38th and 39th St.)

Monocle: From the magazine of the same name, this 188-sq.-ft. shop features an evolving — and extremely edited — selection of the coolest global finds. (535 Hudson St.)


Ralph Lauren: The company transformed its famed Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue into its first men’s-only store, while building a women’s flagship (another first) across the street. Both are instant classics, but the women’s store is a stunner. (867 Madison Ave. and 888 Madison Ave., respectively, at 72 St.) 


Soigne K: Bombay meets the Upper East Side at this sleek, minimalist boutique, which deals in up-and-coming Indian designers. Contemporary styles are featured on the first floor, spectacular Indian gowns and saris on the second. (717 Madison Ave., at 63rd St.)


Tommy: The newest format from Tommy Hilfiger, Tommy has a downtown, irreverent vibe reflected in its quirky store design and logo-free merchandise. (375 Bleecker St.)


Click here to see photos of Aéropostale, Disney, Eataly and Forever 21.


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