Claire Distenfeld launched luxury boutique Fivestory in New York in April 2012. Located inside a townhouse on the Upper East Side, the unique store caters to sophisticated women who crave the luxuriousness of designers such as Giambattista Valli and Carolina Herrera. Fivestory carries clothing, shoes, accessories, jewelry, and even home decor. With its e-commerce website shipping orders to all countries, Fivestory has become a go-to destination for a worldwide fashion savvy clientele.
Vogue Arabia taps into Distenfeld’s expertise for insights on how to transition a wardrobe from high heat to even more so, and weighs in on what every woman should have stowed in her wardrobe. As a starting point before summer shopping commences, Distenfeld suggests you ask yourself the following before making a big purchase: “Is this special? Unique? Exclusive? When will I wear it and can I wear it different ways?” Sometimes you have to be able to answer yes to all the above. Sometimes the question is just “Will this make me feel absolutely positively fabulous?” And if the answer is yes then that’s all you need.
In conversation with Vogue Arabia, Distenfeld shares her expert tips and insights on what’s new, now, and next.
What are the key pieces to update in your wardrobe with each seasonal change?
Fivestory has come out with our own line of kaftans, and I’ve really enjoyed watching our customers style them. In winter, we pair them with jeans for day and silk pants for night. And in spring, they are the most diverse and easy to layer. Blouses and skirts are also extremely important items for every season. They are feminine and can balance an outfit quickly if it’s getting too masculine or relaxed.
Which summer trends do you think would work best in the Middle Eastern high-heat climate?
Cotton, linen, and lightweight tops and dresses are the best in summer. They breathe the easiest and feel fresh.
Name two items it’s always worth spending more on.
Outerwear and unique white button-down shirts. My grandma always told me to invest in great coats and keep the rest simple. She said a coat is the first impression people get of you and if it’s fabulous, then you’re fabulous. White button-downs are a timeless and easy way to always look put together, clean, and classic.
Which two items have you had for a long time and still adore?
I bought a Brandon Maxwell white suit that I always love having in my closet. I’ve dressed it up with jewelry and worn it as a tuxedo to black tie, and I’ve also worn it to luncheons and charity events in a more casual setting. It’s nice to not always wear a dress to go to an event. The other staple in my wardrobe is my collection of Olympia Le-Tan clutches. I have been collecting them for about six years and haven’t stopped using them. They are so unique and allow you to really personalize your outfit in an instant.
Do you think the move towards conservative dressing is truly a global one?
Yes. I feel women are in a romantic phase where they want to empower themselves by being feminine while also being modest and conservative.
In the gallery above, Distenfeld recommends new-season key pieces to love, wear, and repeat.