For those with deep pockets and/or a penchant for townhouses-turned-boutiques, today is your day: The Upper East Side’s Fivestory has finally opened. For the past month or so, the store has been compared to everything from Colette in Paris, 10 Corso Como in Milan, and Browns in London, so naturally, expect to find brands like Balmain, Hussein Chalayan, Peter Pilotto, Thakoon, and more inside.

After trying the gallerista thing for a few years after college, now-26-year-old Claire Distenfeld realized her true calling was retail. But her freshman foray into that world won’t be working as a shopgirl. Last week, Distenfeld, with her father’s backing, opened a full-on department store on the Upper East Side called Fivestory – 18 E. 69th St., nr. Madison Ave.

Distenfeld’s inspiration for the project was Paris concept shop Colette, and it shows in the impressive international assortment from European runway darlings— Preen, Mark Fast,—to lesser-known labels like Russian-style blog bait Vika Gazinskaya and Chicago’s Creatures of the World. The so-called shoe garden in back stocks more than a dozen designers, including standout cap-toe heels from Tania Spinelli and classic men’s lace-ups by Mark McNairy, while the jewelry selection offers statement collars for pile-it-on types as well as vintage Cartier baubles for the neighborhood’s heirloom-wearing ladies.

 Fivestory is a store aptly created from a former townhouse.

 Claire Distenfeld, creator of Fivestory

This was not a house party hosted by a rogue hedge funder but rather the inauguration of Claire Distenfeld’s newest shopping experience, Fivestory.  Frolicking amid the Art Deco lamps, avant-garde designer clothing and a $46,000 Puiforcat tea service set were the fashion scribe (and T contributor) Lynn Yaeger, the casting agent Natalie Joos and the designer Timo Weiland.


Anja Rubjik and Sofia Sanchez are visions in black (and white).

 We couldn’t get over the lilac color of Natalie Joos’ Carven gown.

Lisa Perry, designer.

Ann Dexter-Jones, jewelry designer.

 Miroslava Duma

 The color-storied merch. We. Want. It. All!


Photograph: Billy Farrell for BFAnyc/Courtesy of Fivestory.