Five Questions for Fivestory’s Founder, Claire Distenfeld

Some rather exciting whispers are circulating that New York is getting its own Colette. Former gallerist Claire Distenfeld and her father, Fred, are opening their new high-end department store, Fivestory, for a private viewing today. Located in a (you guessed it) five-story brownstone on the Upper East Side, Fivestory offers personal shopping services and carries men’s, children’s and women’s ready-to-wear and accessories in a setting decorated with contemporary art decorating the walls, Italian marble, brass vitrines, and some Pierre Cardin furniture.

We asked Claire for her five favorite New York landmarks and sources of inspiration behind the design of Fivestory:

Architectural landmarks:
IAC building has always been an amazing architectural landmark, and I grew up [across] from the Bloomberg foundation building, which has so much character. But the one [New York building] that combined both those elements has to be the Morgan library; the synergy between the old and new design is done to perfection.

Favorite public outdoor space:
I don’t really go places to get inspired, places usually surprise me and beat me to it. [But] during runs down the West Side highway, that moment you see the Statue of Liberty you can’t help but feel something awesome.

Go-to galleries:
Neue Galerie has been my haven ever since i was a child, and UNT/TLED gallery on the LES. [I go to] modern art floors at MoMa to see the Abex masterpieces-having been so many times, I consider [them] friends.

Prefered visual art genre:
Call me old-fashioned but I love me a good old painting that lures me in and keeps me interested. In a world where I get my food under 30 minutes, my crappy TV in seconds, and basically anything I want delivered, something without blatant stimulus that still excites is the best.

From art to fashion:
Aesthetics and originality should always be balanced and live in harmony. When you know you look good, you feel good and when you create something beautiful you can look at it forever.

Inspirational New York interiors:
The Frick, Café des Artistes, And the Academy mansion was very much the inspiration for Fivestory.