Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Women's Clothing


The front room of Key looks pretty much like what you'd expect from a
great little boutique: distinctive but wearable dresses and separates;
flattering lighting; accessories to complement the clothes. But the back
room--equipped with magazines, candy, and a couch to relax on while a
friend is in the dressing room--sets this space apart. It's arranged
like a traditional "sitting room," but most of us in NYC can only wish
that our home's rooms were this spacious and bright. On the couch rests a
hand-crocheted afghan, and on the wall behind it are photos of the
owners' families and friends, including some of the more, well, dramatic
fashions and hairstyles of the Seventies.

The sale rack, also in the back room, is a good one; we found, for
example a great "little black dress" from Corey Lynn Calter ($107.50) that
could dress down for the office or dress up for a special occasion.

All the shoes, belts, and t-shirts here are vintage (shoes from $50,
t-shirts from $35, belts from $20), in the popular trend of mixing
vintage goods with new designs. Most bags, from $60, are vintage too.

Among the new pieces, we loved a Yoanna Baraschi silk babydoll top in
maroon, $175, and cobalt skirt, $240; Diane Medak's long jersey halter
dresses, $135; wrap dresses from Kara Janx (of "Project Runway" fame),
$225; and a hankerchief skirt that can also be worn as a top, in blue
and saffron, by Tehya by Laurieanne, $160 (the designer is also a
customer here). Extra-special cuteness credit has to go to Ilana Moses and her
subtle pompom fringe, at the hem of a charming green top ($210) or
white dress ($380).

Key opened in the Fall of 2005; it's owned by Mary Gasser, who was a
stylist (you can tell by this shop!), and Eve Freedner-Gelade, who has a
PR background. Eager shoppers, you're in luck: As of a few days ago,
Spring merchandise is 30% off. Figures above reflect the pre-sale
prices--so there are deals to be found on some of the loveliest pieces we've
seen in a while.
  - Pamela Grossman; May 29, 2006

41 Grand St.
New York, NY 10013
(212) 334-5707