NEW YORK — Inside the new Foley & Corinna store on the Lower East Side, lily pads float against walls of blue and gray, birds fly over the pond and sprays of butterflies decorate columns.
The furniture is a tad shabby, but chic, with a secondhand sofa and chairs and a mirrored coffee table that swivels with a Seventies vibe. It’s an atmosphere of artful dishabille, which could describe the clothes, as well. They’re a mix of vintage fashion, sourced by Anna Corinna, original designs by Dana Foley and other labels.
Foley and Corinna’s former store at 108 Stanton Street was down on its heels after six years in business. So, when a notions shop two doors north at 114 Stanton Street became available, they quickly leased the 1,100-square-foot space.
The move has allowed Foley & Corinna to expand its offering to include jeans from Notify and Antik, tanks and Ts from Mimi & Coco, bikinis from Lotta, Cosabella lingerie, jewelry from Manon and Seda France candles. There’s also a new collection of handbags designed by Corinna.
In the new location, Foley & Corinna is expected to do $1.5 million in sales, the owners said.
The two women met at the 26th Street and Sixth Avenue flea market, where Corinna had a booth selling an array of vintage fashion, including Fifties party dresses, Victorian petticoat dresses, funky Sixties sequined tops and Seventies pantsuits.
Foley, for her part, sold her own sexy, edgy designs made from lace, silk, chiffon, tulle and leather at another booth.
“We hit it off right away,” said Foley. “One day, Anna asked me if I wanted to open a store.” Foley, who had been approached by another potential partner and was scared off by her business plan, liked Corinna’s offhand approach, and agreed.
They saw an old butcher shop on Stanton Street with a “For Rent” sign and called the landlord. “He said, ‘Come down right now with $3,000,’” Corinna recalled. “We got our money together and went.”
Because they had established reputations on 26th Street, Foley and Corinna had a ready-made following. “We opened with an immediate customer base,” said Foley. “Our clients were so happy. Now we had dressing rooms, and if it was raining, they didn’t get wet.”
For the new store, the interior had to be as quirky as the neighborhood, a mix of tenements, upholstery stores, restaurants and low-priced clothing stores with a smattering of upscale boutiques. Architect Jane Sachs of Hut-Sachs Studio exposed the wood beams on the ceiling, maximized the store’s frontage and paved the inside of the main window with Moroccan tiles.
Rosemary Warren, a photographer and artist, used hand-painted antique Chinese watercolor-on-silk paintings that Foley and Corinna found at the flea market to design an installation throughout the store. Warren assembled the collages, then covered them with varnish for a decoupage effect.
“The store feels like the fantasy of a girl’s bedroom,” said Sachs. “It’s got all this cacophony. It’s a crazy, over-the-top type of thing, yet it all holds together.”