By  on March 30, 2009

The signs are everywhere in New York: “To Rent” notices scattered across the city on empty storefronts, each an unhappy verdict on the economic climate. On Madison Avenue’s famed Gold Coast, things are no different. E. Braun & Company is defecting to Park and Alessandro Dell’Acqua remains boarded up, for instance. But a few notches north of Barneys New York between 67th and 68th Streets — and, coincidentally, adjacent to another shuttered store — comes a bit of retail optimism. Jeweler Solange Azagury-Partridge is opening her first Stateside boutique, only her second outpost after her London flagship on Westbourne Grove.

The timing, she admitted, could have been better. “Of course, I hesitated,” Azagury-Partridge said. “But this is the plan, let’s go with it and if we can muddle through hard times, I suppose things will be alright. I mean, so far, so good in London. Let’s see what happens in New York.” It helps that she’s not flying solo: last April, the designer sold a controlling stake of her business to the Vienna-based luxury-goods holding company Labelux Group, which also owns Derek Lam and Bally. She declined to give sales figures for the company.

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