July 17, 2023—The other day as I was getting ready for work, I stopped in my tracks after I heard on the Bloomberg Business Report that there was a new 9,000 square foot multi-brand jewelry boutique at 42 Crosby Street.
When the reporter went on to talk about Broken English, I was agog and immediately emailed the founder, Laura Freedman who had just given me a tour of the space. She jokingly replied, “Watch out Tiffany, we are coming for you.”
The new Broken English boutique is 900 not 9,000 square feet. It is divided between public and private selling spaces and a back of house area. But it doesn’t feel small in anyway. It’s the proverbial jewel box packed with treasures.
Laura conceived the design to conjure up an old New York department store. “It comes from my love of Tiffany and iconic houses of jewelry and my love of New York but of course it is infused with the Broken English flair which is attainable, warm and welcoming.”
Some of the details of the design include a vintage Murano glass Palmette chandelier and mirrored built-in cases packed with all kinds of treasures. Several come from hard-to-find Los Angeles based designers.
As far as I can tell, it’s the only place where Lisa Eisner’s collection can be found. The multi-hyphenate talent, who is known in the fashion world as Tom Ford’s muse, makes statement jewelry with American gemstones. Broken English has a generous array of designs from Vram, the sculptural master jeweler with a major cult following who is intentionally just about as hard to find at retail.
Laura and the Broken English flagship at the Brentwood Country Mart are both based in Los Angeles. She initially opened in New York on Crosby Street in 2006 at the back of the All Saints store which was owned by some of her friends. When the lease recently came to an end, she looked for a new space on Crosby Street. “It’s my favorite street in all of New York City, the store had to be there,” explains Laura.
The location and the feeling of Crosby Street was as important as the curation of jewels in the store which is a blend of contemporary designers and some antique fine jewelry as well as vintage costume Chanel designs, a few pieces of glass and other home designs. The prices star around $100 and go on up into the stratosphere.
“It’s laidback luxury which is bringing a California spirit to New York,” explains Laura. “I want anyone and everyone to walk away with something that feels special to them and marks a milestone in their life, because that’s what jewelry is all about.”
Everything aligns with the idea that inspired Laura to create Broken English in the first place. “The name comes from a Marianne Faithfull song which I took to mean that thing you can’t describe it’s so beautiful,” says Laura. “It’s broken English.”