Juicy Couture retail spotlight: California dreamin’ in NYC. Juicy Couture's gorgeous flagship on Fifth Ave, plus their 2 other NY locations, at Madison & 70th St, and downtown at 368 Bleeker, bring California lifestyle fashion to New York. Their spring '12 theme of music festival fashion, is easy enough to picture at any east coast beach. Laid-back but glamourous, the collection has taken a decidedly upscale turn (with a new design team in place), offering much more than the track suits and logo Tees that made the label famous.

BIRD, a premium collection, is for the grownup Juicy girl, polished and sophisticated enough for the office. Several of the pieces use unique plays on the bird motif, with prints, and a lace-front cardi, where the lace is a bird pattern.

The maxi dress I illustrated is the festival chic dress, shoes are Lily wedge flip flops.  photos: M.K., van photo: M. Meyer

Retail highlight: Improvd boutique in the Meatpacking district, near the High Line south entrance. “Approachable, avante-garde basics” is how they describe their collection.

About• Improvd’s avante-garde fashion aesthetic: Minimalist deconstructed pieces with a bit of raw edge cool. The line is geared toward a customer who is sophisticated, intellectual, artistic, with an edgy offbeat fashion sense. Improvd is designed by Valentino Vettori.

Location• 819 Washington St, NYC, in the MePa district, one block south of the Standard Hotel. **Note** store closed as of Sept 1, 2012.

Contact/shop online•  Improvd's website is closed as of Fall 2012, but you can connect with Improvd through their Facebook and Twitter.

I had the pleasure of attending Improvd’s Spring ‘12 presentation at NY Fashion Week, back in Sept. Here’s my blog post of the spring collection, which is now in store. Bestsellers are the double layer cutaway Sunny skirt, and the woven leather Sybil vest, which is available in black or ivory. Woven leather vest also available at Atrium boutique, 644 Broadway. (store photos: M.K.)

Blue & Cream boutique held an Elizabeth and James trunk show on March 14, to preview the Spring pieces coming in next month. Coral silk kimono-style blouse, a bestseller, a similar look to E&J’s popular Tokyo top. Python print silk comes in a jacket and also a soft pant. Cute tie-back tee, and yellow cinch-neck crop jacket.

About• Blue & Cream is a high-end boutique carrying fashion and accessories from young, trendy labels such as Equipment, Rag & Bone, James Jeans, A.L.C., Iro, Herve Leger, Charlotte Ronson. Mens clothing and accessories also. Super friendly, helpful staff.

Location• 1 E 1st St., in the East Village. Also East Hampton, NY.

Contact• womens stylist: Arielle email

Shop onlineBlueandCream.com  *Return policy: store credit only, no refunds.

Elizabeth and James is designed by MaryKate and Ashley Olsen. MaryKate at NY Fashion Week in Feb ‘12 with Simon Doonan, photo courtesy MB Fashion Wk. Other photos: M.K.