Fifth Avenue Goes Bargain Basement

Just when you thought Manhattan couldn’t handle another superstore…

It can.

Today, the scaffolding comes off, and H&M, the much-hyped Swedish retailer, opens. The 35,000-square-foot behemoth, which promises to be all things to everyone (“It’s the new Gap!” “It’s the Ikea of clothing!”), is stocked with bargain finds, like butter-soft red leather pants for $95 and paper men’s shirts for $13?all the result of fierce scouting by the 70 or so designers H&M sends trotting the globe for sartorial inspiration.

It’s about time Fifth Avenue acquired some bargain sensibility (Cartier was just seeming so tired…). And H&M is a pleasant ride, too. The minimalist light-wood, stainless-steel, and limestone design produces an effect more Zen than the average discount mecca does. Not a bad way to kill your lunch hour.

Fitting room bonus: Lighting options allow you to envision your getups come beach, Balthazar, or board meeting. (That, or to tone down under-eye circles and ripples: We accept either justification.)