New Kid on the Block: Alumnae

“We’re a New York–based brand, so we know how much women walk,” says Eliza Axelson-Chidsey, co-founder of Alumnae, which chose Tribeca for its first boutique. “Most of our shoes are flats and low heels, designed so that you can wear them from morning to night, looking good while you do all the things you need to do.”

Axelson-Chidsey and Kari Sigerson founded the company just two years ago, naming it for their experience at Sigerson Morrison. The shoes are made in Tuscany, and with an exception or two, made entirely of Italian leather, from sole to lining to upper. “They’re chic and minimal, relevant without being trend-driven,” says Axelson-Chidsey. “People can collect them they way they collect coats, creating a curated wardrobe.” To that end, rather than reinvent the brand every season, Alumnae is often redoing popular designs in different materials or colors, such as the Turban slide in python or pony hair. (Prices start at $425, with most models in the $500-$600 range.) Currently, the focus is very much on shoes—”We need to walk before we can run”—but the boutique might introduce products such as candles from other companies.

While searching for a location for the shop, the founders were looking to take advantage of Lower Manhattan’s great architecture, and they were leaning toward a non-storefront space along the lines of Arcade Bakery’s. But then they found the former newsstand on the Hudson side of 60 Hudson, with its delightful Art Deco details. The decor is spare but pretty, not unlike an art gallery; indeed, this fall they’ll begin showcasing work by women artists. In the meantime, in lieu of an opening party, you’re invited to stop by anytime for a glass of rosé or bubbly.

P.S. It’s pronounced ah-luhm-knee (the last syllable rhymes with tree), and I’ve added it to the Tribeca Pronunciation Guide.

Alumnae is at 60 Hudson (between Worth and Thomas);

Recent New Kid on the Block / First Impressions articles:
Book Nook Enrichment
Del Frisco’s Grille
Brooklyn Flea
Think Coffee
Xtend Tribeca