This fresh crop of influential store owners have evolved from merely curating contemporary style to creating it. Courtney Colavita
OPENING CEREMONY (pictured above)
Humberto Leon and Carol Lim, the owners of Opening Ceremony, which has stores in New York and Los Angeles, made their name by taking risks on new talent (they were among the first to carry Patrik Ervell, Band of Outsiders, and Acne), and by orchestrating cool collaborations (with Pendleton, TopShop, and, this fall, Chloë Sevigny). Now Leon and Lim are proving their worth as designers, with their own brand of quirky but wearable clothes. They call their patchwork tees, lightweight trench coats, and cropped suits "basic-plus." You'll call them indispensable.
NOM DE GUERRE
Located in a signless bunker in the NoHo neighborhood of New York, Nom de Guerre isn't so much a store as a destination for cool hunters. Since Isa Saalabi and his partners set up the retail collective, its bare-bones presentation has become the standard for indie fashion. Their burgeoning label is defined by slim lines and a contemporary edge.
Sean Shutter and Daniel Jackson's BBlessing (pronounced "blessing") has all the hallmarks of a hipster-friendly boutique: the affected name, the eclectic space on Manhattan's Lower East Side, the urbane mix of clothes. What sets the store apart is the duo's focused collection of clean-lined coats, sweaters, and shirts, which are equal parts Americana and rock and roll.