Either you or someone you know needs to own the sophisticated yet whimsical slip mentioned in the final paragraph:
Leontine opened in November on a cobbled lane in the rapidly redeveloping wilds of the South Street Seaport. Down here, foot traffic is minimal, and last week the snow lay crisp along the sidewalks. Perhaps this accounts for the Sleeping Beauty aspect that struck me immediately on stepping into Leontineâ€™s cavernous white chandelier-hung space.
â€œYeah, the last couple of months have been pretty cold and lonely,â€ Virginia Loughnan, a sales assistant, confirmed, drawing her little knitted shrug around her slim shoulders. â€œBut hopefully with the warmer weather. … Weâ€™re going to sell fresh-cut flowers.â€
Leontine, like its West Village sister stores, Albertine and Claudine (the three are named for the maids in â€œBonjour Tristesseâ€), sells a mix of vintage and contemporary jewelry, accessories and clothing by hard-to-find designers. CÃ©cile, the heroine of â€œBonjour Tristesse,â€ is an indulged and sexually precocious 17-year-old, on the cusp between child and woman, and this is a fitting description of the aesthetic informing most of the clothing on Leontineâ€™s wrought-iron racks.
…Miranda Bennett worked in Ms. Leeâ€™s shops before introducing her label, and her sleeveless black moirÃ© slip with a ruffled Empire waist ($400) balanced sweetness with a knowing sophistication.
In New York, go to Leontine, and outside see Miranda Bennett Design. Buy now and nobody gets hurt.