Secret Address: New York

Salon prive

In these days of flagship stores and architectural retail temples, few couture salons remain, let alone emerge brand new. Yuta Powell, who formerly ran the Givenchy and Carolina Herrera boutiques on Madison Avenue, has opened an old-style showroom in New York's Hôtel Plaza Athénée, selling the designs of Loulou de la Falaise. Though she's not offering couture—she calls the collection demi-couture to suggest its bespoke quality—you wouldn't know it from the 100 or so ladies she receives in her suite of yellow rooms. "Some of the most successful and tasteful women in the city shop here," says Powell, pointing out that many of them buy without a stylist's help. Explaining her confidence in Powell's eye, one customer likens the salon to "a friend's house where you've been invited to look at nice things." A longtime muse to Yves Saint Laurent, De la Falaise does seem to know her audience's sensibility—call it tailored flamboyance: a big beaded necklace that doubles as a belt, a high-waisted black skirt and a top with a portrait neckline accentuated with a tulle bow. "This is better than any ball gown," Powell says of the latter ensemble. "You can tell a woman with a sense of spontaneity designed it." At 37 E. 64th St.; 212-570-6889