Susan Alexandra Celebrates its Kaleidoscopic Bead Emporium Opening in the Heart of Dimes Square

Overflowing onto the southernmost block of Orchard Street, like on any given evening in what’s become known as Dimes Square, was a crowd of Susan Korn’s vibrantly dressed friends. They gathered and savored canned cocktails, lemonade, and Banza pizza—it appeared a family barbeque for downtown’s most stylish it-girls. Her hundred-or-so friends took turns making their way past the beaded yellow banana-shaped door handle to gather inside the Lower East Side’s newest independent storefront, Susan Alexandra, Korn’s bead-encrusted emporium. Inside, the space is full of the designer’s bags, jewelry, and homewares.

“This is the most vibrant, exciting place to be,” Korn tells Vogue on why she set up shop in the bustling passage of the neighborhood. “This is where it’s all happening, and it’s inexpensive enough where independent designers can be here, but it’s also kind of fabulous. I think this is where culture happens.”

Alongside her iconic candy-colored accessories are custom pieces by designers chosen by Korn herself, including by her sister, Janie Korn, a visual artist and candlemaker, and ceramics from Dominique Ostuni and Bernie Kaminski.

Though the street was dark, the store itself lent a vibrant and friendly atmosphere, like if Alice in Wonderland was set inside a fruit salad kaleidoscope. Under custom fruit-shaped sconces, composer and director Mur performed a personalized tune nodding to the spirit of the store, titled The Best Shop In The World. “Susan Alexandra, rainbow in the clouds, free of propaganda, beauty and love surround, all around,” crooned Mur, who previously composed Susan Alexandra: The Musical, Korn’s 2021 New York Fashion Week show.

That is the kind of company Korn keeps. “I’ve met a lot of friends who are doing… this,” Korn waves her hands around the store to indicate the lifelong vision she’s brought to life. “I’m really lucky to meet people through it and the ones who I’m actually friends with are interesting, smart, multi-faceted people. They do lead with their heart, and it’s not about being at parties or being seen, who they’re friends with… those are the nerds who I love and respect and want to be friends with.”

Among those friends in attendance were fellow designer and storefront neighbor Emily Bode, author and chef Alison Roman, Susan Alexandra storefront co-designer Lula Galeano, model and designer Ella Emhoff, actor Jessica Joffe, Mirror Palais designer Marcelo Gaia, comedian Lauren Servideo, The New Yorker staff writer Naomi Fry, The New York Times music critic Jon Caramanica, writer and Dimepiece founder Brynn Wallner, and more Vogue staffers than I can count on one hand.

Susan has cultivated a famous following from the likes of comedian Pete Davidson, model Emily Ratajkowski, and YouTuber Emma Chamberlain (with whom she collaborated on a green and white bag, dubbed “The Emma”). Comedian and actor Ziwe also stopped by the store yesterday and holds the high honor of being Susan Alexandra’s first storefront customer.

Susan Alexandra opens today and is located at 33 Orchard Street. 

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