35 Terrific New Reasons to Shop
Our self-sacrificing team of retail fanatics packed their plastic, strapped on their sturdiest Manolo Blahniks, and hit the sidewalks and malls of Westchester to uncover the hottest and best new shops. Having maxed-out their Visa cards and worn out their shoes, here’s their report.
By Nancy L. Claus, Marisa LaScala, and Laurie Yarnell
Featuring Photography by Cathy Pinsky
A wise consumer once sagely observed: when the going gets tough, the tough go shopping. So we did—and discovered 35 more places to practice our favorite sport—shopping. And although we didn’t lose any weight or gain any more muscle, we did manage to get an endorphin high, one that hasn’t faded— thanks to our new purchases. Want to get that same sweat-free, zero-cal high? Let’s go shopping…
Absolutely Fabulous Home Décor and Gifts
La Dentelliere at Home
35 Popham Rd., Scarsdale
La Dentelliere at Home (a spin-off of a trio of La Dentelliere stores that owner Charelle Anderson’s parents’ own) opened its doors last September. Greeting customers as they enter are a pair of fully-dressed, exquisitely attired pillow-and-linen-laden beds. Colorful fabric-lined catchall baskets ($34 to $46) and pretty floral fabric wastebaskets line the shelves. Sprinkled throughout are exquisite tabletop lamps like the one featuring a crystal bird with flowers ($1,800), and another of gold, crystal, and enameled flowers ($1,400).
Bedding offerings are primarily French (the luxurious Yves de Lorne line is exclusive to Westchester County) and Italian (Manuel Canovas, Giuseppe Palombella, and Sferra Brothers, with a set of king-sized linens for the latter about $200). Look for lots of luxurious linens (thread counts go as high as 1,100 per square inch), blankets, towels, woolen throws, down pillows, Scandia comforters, and scores of pillows embroidered with cute sayings (we eyed “Wine a bit…you’ll feel better”). You’ll also find Yves de Lorne beds, handcrafted in the French Polynesian islands. Bath items include vanity perfume trays, monogrammed hand towels, and the Lady Primrose line of body creams, lotions, milled soaps, bath salts, and even diamond-dusting silk (either in a faux diamond-topped glass jar for $58 or an elegant cut-glass salt-like shaker for $36).
The store is open by appointment on off-hours and offers complimentary in-store and at home consultation for bed and bath décor and lighting. “Customers get a professional eye without having to pay for a decorator,” says Chuck Anderson (Charelle’s dad). Those stopping by are encouraged to bring in swatches of wallpaper or fabric along with the measurements of their beds so that the shop can help them make their own bedtime dreams come true.
80 Purchase St., Rye
Chances are that whatever Lola gets, you’ll want. This appealing women’s boutique specializes in perfect presents, and the kind of personal indulgences you never knew you wanted—until you saw them here.
The shop opened last July and features an eclectic collection of fashion and home décor gift items handpicked by its owners, sisters-in-law Caroline Schneider of Harrison and Judy Banker of Greenwich, CT. Looking for a birthday or shower gift, or a little something to splurge on for yourself? Lola features fine cashmere lounge and sleepwear; cotton and silk lingerie; handbags and totes; exotic skin bags and frames, fun belts, and unique jewelry, including semi-precious stone jewelry by local artists Lisa and Laurie Designs.
And to help make sure you get just what you want—or want to give—Lola encourages customer requests and special orders, and offers personal shopping by appointment, including evenings.
Victoria Light & Design
83 Purchase St., Rye
This cozy year-old shop is homey, not fancy; indeed, a tin of plain old butter cookies greets customers (not exquisite petite fours or linzertortes from the neighboring Patisserie Salzburg, oh well). And while the look of the space is not, as owner Tori Holland readily admits, particularly noteworthy, like the best antique shops, the ambience here is slightly frumpy, offering the exciting promise of uncovering a great find—which, if you’re hunting for unusual lighting fixtures and accessories, you just may.
What really shines here—by design—is the inventory, which covers every available inch of the shop and is displayed on vintage reproduction furniture pieces (many also for sale), like old trunks, a stool covered in a horse-and-rider needlepoint fabric ($248), a black wood writing desk ($313), and a bench whose silk cushion sports light-green dragonflies on a cream background ($298).
What you won’t find: brand-name pieces because, as Holland explains, 90 percent of her lighting fixtures weren’t lighting fixtures before—like the chandelier that started life as a birdcage, or the tabletop lamps that originally were crystal decanters, for instance. (Indeed, customers are invited to bring in Champagne bottles from special occasions—or any other items of their choosing—to commemorate their own special time in lamp form.) Holland will convert a customer’s wrought-iron lantern into a one-of-a-kind dining-room chandelier (about $35 per arm, or $100 to $250), and vases or brass candlesticks into tabletop lamps ($45 to $125).
If you don’t have such items hanging around, there are lots of already-reconfigured fixtures from which to choose; on our visit there was a brass candlestick lamp ($209) and a darling shabby chic-like baby’s room lamp converted from a sweet 14-inch-tall white ceramic bunny ($220 without a shade). Not sure how an item will look in your own abode? Holland offers an in-home trial-before-purchase option.
44 Garth Rd., Scarsdale
When Terrie and Min Aoki decided to leave their Wall Street jobs and open a gift boutique, they started by studying items they knew intimately—those in their own home. “We looked at what we liked best, and then tried to find a way to get in touch with the artists,” says Terrie. The result is an oddly named store with an eclectic selection of crafts from little-known artists across the country.
Opened last November, Sol-La occupies a cozy space on picturesque Garth Road in Scarsdale (near Pâtisserie Lulu, for when your shop-a-thon starts to run out of steam and you require a little sugar rush). The Aokis specialize in one-of-a-kind and limited-run gifts by artists whose works you won’t find in big department stores.
Everything here deserves a close look. The colorful purses in the corner? They’re actually made out of assorted candy wrappers by artists in Mexico. The intricate earrings hanging on the wall? A creation made from recycled wristwatch hands and gears. The colorful rocks on the table? They’re not rocks at all, but soaps made to look like natural mineral formations.
“We try to run the gamut,” says Terrie. “Our items range from $15 to $250.” On the higher end, you can find African-inspired lacquered trays, garnet and tourmaline jewelry, perfume bottles and goblets, snuggly handmade quilts, and crystal-clear sea glass tableware in a rainbow of hues.
We loved the mini-mannequins (whose limbs can be used to hold jewelry), just a few inches tall and wearing frilly Victorian undergarments ($45). And Terrie beamed when she showed us her latest find: rings and necklaces that consist of an empty silver setting and a bag of marbles. Snap a marble from the bag into the setting, and you’ve got yourself a ring to match any outfit—and a guaranteed conversation-starter.
Beginning this spring, look for garden-themed items, like hand-painted planters and birdfeeders, in addition to cool gifts for grads and teachers. They’ll also carry the most elusive of items: teacher gifts—under $25. If you don’t like their handmade apple-shaped candles, you can always go for a colorful journal made by women in Nepal from the eco-friendly lokta bush. Your child’s teacher certainly will appreciate it more than that cheesy “No. 1 Teacher” picture frame you were considering.
1999 Palmer Ave., Larchmont
When Marjatta Rautionmaa-Dick came to New York City from her native Finland in 1981 to attend the Fashion Institute of Technology, she came bearing rug samples from a factory established by her sister 35 years earlier. The response in the American market was positive from the get-go. But until now, fans of her designs, including Woody Allen, Walter Mondale, and Phil Donahue, had to purchase her rugs via a designer at a for-the-trade-only showroom. Fortunately for us, Rautionmaa-Dick decided to open her first retail venture in her present hometown of Larchmont this past January.
The majority of the rugs are made of cotton, although some are made from tufted wool, linen, and even paper. “Finland is one of the largest producers of wood, which is why it was discovered that paper is a viable material for rugs,” the designer explains. “Finnish rugs made from paper look like sisal rugs and wear just as well.” Prices start at $30 to $35 per square foot for non-paper rugs; paper ones start at $15 to $20 per square foot.
World View Antique Maps & Books
Rte. 121 and Keeler Lane, North Salem
(914) 669-8695; www.worldviewmaps.com
Climb the stairs to this sunny second-story antiquarian map and bookstore, and you’ll feel as though you have stepped back in time—which is exactly what owner Ralph Salomon intended. “Maps are a wonderful window to times past,” he explains. “They let us time travel, allowing us to imagine ourselves exploring the unknown world.”
Nowhere else in the county can you find such an extensive collection of original antique maps from the 15th to the 19th centuries. The oldest is a map of North Africa from 1482. One of his rarer items is a 1776 map of the Battle of Long Island. “It was published just three weeks after the battle and is a fascinating historical document.”
Interested? It’s yours for just $19,000. Maps of local areas—Westchester and Fairfield counties—are quite popular and range in price from $100 to $400.
Bewitching SHOES, ACCESSORIES, & JEWELRY
2 Spring St.,
Stepping down into Gem cove feels like walking into a sunken treasure chest. The walls of the boutique are painted with rich, ocean-blue murals. Written on the walls by owner Valentina Krochik (and edited by her daughter when it sounds “too Russian”) are lines of original poetry. And the treasure? Exquisite handmade jewelry.
Opened last August, Gem Cove features Krochik’s own creations, as well as those from artists Krochik has met on her journeys from her hometown of Siberia to Hastings. Aside from their beauty, what really makes her designs stand out are their rare precious and semi-precious stones, including: Charoite, a purple stone found only along the Chary river in Russia; white buffalo turquoise, a stone whose color most closely resembles white marble rather than the green/blue of traditional turquoise; dark, syrup-colored Baltic amber found along the beaches of Poland and Lithuania; and plum-blossom jasper, a Chinese stone with flower-shaped bursts of color throughout. “I think all stones are different, just like people,” says Krochik, a Fashion Institute of Technology grad.
You’ll also discover earrings from Afghanistan and hand-woven shawls and scarves from India, Thailand, China, and Siberia. And if you still can’t find what you’re looking for, ask about Krochik’s custom designs. The best news? Her globe-trotting finds don’t come with out-of-this-globe prices (earrings range from $25 to $300, necklaces $60 to $600).
22 Park Pl., Bronxville
One recent afternoon, a handsome suit-and-tie-attired thirtysomething stopped in at Citrine and, in less than five minutes, made one of his wife’s wishes come true: he picked up a stunning, oversized rose quartz-and-garnet necklace by Caroline Constantine Rosen for Spotted Dog ($265) that she had put on her personal “wish-list.”
“Our job is to make husbands’ lives easier,” says Citrine co-owner Willis O’Brien, as she slipped the necklace into a lime-green, raw-silk drawstring travel pouch (in which she also tucked a handwritten description).
O’Brien and co-owner Sarah Reynolds want to make it easy for their customers to receive gifts they’ll love. So they’ve stocked their shop with fabulous, one-of-a-kind pieces from emerging designers to encourage them to pick up a little something for themselves or fill out wish lists to be e-mailed or phoned to a significant other. Judging by our recent visit, their plan is succeeding.
Both natives of Richmond, VA, O’Brien and Reynolds met eight years ago in Bronxville when Reynolds spotted a trunk from their mutual alma mater, Camp Allegheny, in the window of O’Brien’s former store, Kensington Paper. The pair attended a course in gem identification at the Gemological Institute of America, and visited myriad jewelry, craft, gift, and accessory trade shows before opening their shop last October.
Citrine showcases the work of some 20 up-and-coming jewelry designers whose creations are sometimes highlighted through in-store trunk shows, often with the designer on hand. “It’s jewelry to be worn every day and not just sit on the dresser,” says O’Brien. “It’s all real, but we’re not necessarily doing only gold and diamonds.”
Instead, O’Brien explains, “Citrine strives to offer “a good mid-range price point where ladies feel they can buy something, wear it, enjoy it, and have fun with it.” Taking her advice, and in the interest of investigative journalism, that’s just what one of us did, picking herself up a pair of hanging earrings with coin pearls and tiny seeds of light turquoise apatite by Zoe B ($150). Too bad they couldn’t be expensed.
The Perfect Pair
51 Main St., Irvington
The Perfect Pair is a new boutique for the well-heeled shopper. Within its walls, you’ll find the newest foot fashions by Donald Pliner, Bridget Schuster, Michael Kors, Cole Haan, Delman, Jack Rogers, and Claudia Ciuti, along with handbags by Hobo, Mary Francis, Rafé, and Isabella Fiore, and jewelry by some local up-and-coming designers.
And who better to run this boutique than a perfect pair of footwear fashionistas: Patricia Connor and Laura Hlewicki. “We always talked about opening a store where women could buy shoes from high-end designers without having to go to the mall or to New York City,” says Connor. “One night my doorbell rang, and it was Laura. She saw the storefront and said, ‘Yesterday there wasn’t a For Sale sign, but today there is!’ We knew it was time to make our move.” Their shop, which also has a kids’ shoes section, opened in August, 2005.
The store hosts ladies’ “shopping nights” on occasion. “We’re going to have a men’s shopping night, too,” Connor reports. “We’ll show them ‘wish-lists’ that the women filled out during the ladies’ night, and we’ll help the men pick out gifts.” If only they can help them remember their anniversaries, too.
Comely Women’s Fashions
Heart & Soul
22 Main St., Yonkers
Been to the Yonkers waterfront lately? If not, Heart & Soul may serve as a perfect jumping-off point for your exploration. Owners Angie Livas and Ivelis Reyes, two fashion retail veterans who met at Livas’s previous boutique in Queens, completely transformed the Main Street shop they now occupy. After more than 15 years in the industry, these ladies know fashion. The racks are stuffed with clothes by Michael Stars, ABS, 7 For All Mankind, L.A. Made, Ravelle, J & Co, and Pure Color.
What to buy this spring? According to Livas and Reyes: slim-fitting, cigarette-leg pants, especially J Brand jeans like those worn by Angelina Jolie on a recent outing ($140). Other trendy items include baby-doll dresses and tank tops (funky Necessary Objects baby-doll dresses sell for $60), jersey dresses (we loved a gorgeous Tufi Duek dress for $400), and Jimmy Crystal’s shades ($20 to $30). Be sure to check out the collection of costume jewelry ($18+) and handbags ($50 to $350). And ask to see the jewelry by Las Vegas designer Sisi Amber (earrings start at $69, necklaces at $140). “We can’t keep them in the store,” says Reyes.
And you don’t have to pay designer-level prices; Heart & Soul has inventory for those whose budget is more red-line sale than red-carpet couture. Example? Seepack jewelry, which is “inspired by,” not “knocked-off from,” more expensive designers. The Dior-“inspired” earrings? We couldn’t tell the difference.
549 N. State Rd., Briarcliff Manor
Opened last September, Contact caters to women, ages 20 to 50, looking for trendy casual clothing, such as Charlotte Tarantola appliqued stretch cotton sweaters ($150 and up) and jeweled buckle belts by Black & Brown (around $150). Claims Owner Denise Ozeri, “We are great at accessorizing and putting together outfits. You can walk out with a great outfit—belt, bag, everything.” Ozeri predicts this spring women will be wearing wide-leg capris by Billy Blues, cropped pants by Sanctuary, cotton kimono-type tops (perfect with jeans) by Forties, lots of layering (with Zooey tees and tanks), and long walking shorts in cashmere knit with spandex by Minnie Rose.
The store also features yoga wear by Solo and Twisted Heart, and fitness wear by Shape Up; casual pants, dresses, sweaters, skirts by Mini Rose and Charlotte Tarantola; tees by 3 Dots and Beautiful People; long gauzy tunics by Language; jeans by Red Engine, Grass, Billy Blues, J Brand, Level 99; leather belts by Streets Ahead and Black and Brown; and bags by Hobo.
105 Village Sq., Somers
First Krush, which opened in November, is a welcome addition to the fashion scene for those up-county shoppers looking for lotsa glitz with their jeans. You’ll find jeans by J Brand, Marlowe Jeans ($80 gauchos, $49 skirts, and $80 Bermuda shorts); T-shirts from Mimi, Cocoa, Jet, Beau & Arrows, Troo, Maude, Twisted Heart; lots of dressy tops like those from Chick by Nicky Hilton; flip-flops by Twisted Hearts; and assorted belts (we spotted great-looking elastic metal ones with gem stone buckles selling for $40 to $75); handbags; jean jackets; and jewelry.
480 Main St., Armonk
“I’ve always wanted to create an environment with lovely pieces,” says Margo Travers, the owner of Odette Odille, a charming women’s fashion boutique located next door to Lillies & Lace. At 550-square-feet, Odette Odille (named after the two swans of Swan Lake fame), which opened last September, calls to mind a NoLiTa boutique. You’ll find camisoles, skirts, trousers, and great-looking Boho-like tapestry coats by Arrogant Cat of London, wearable jersey separates by Rachel Pally, and a line of knitwear, including shrugs and wraps from Canadian Olena Zylak. Accessorize them with hip leather HoBo bags and clutches by Hayden-Harnett (from $78 for a wallet to $300+ for a bag), gorgeous Glenda Gies bags crafted from vintage-looking fabrics ($250+), and jewelry by LA’s Nola Singer.
3 Purdy Ave., Rye
(914) 305-4630; www.carlascloset.com
Her custom swimwear has been featured in Sports Illustrated’s 2006 swimsuit issue, New York Daily News, Stuff, Vibe, and American Curves magazines, has appeared in a music video with rappers 50 Cent and G-Unit, and starred in a commercial for Reebok. Her lingerie has been highlighted in Playboy. And now Carla Murino’s swimwear is showcased here in Rye, in the young designer’s first retail venture.
Murino, a brunette who could easily pass for a swimsuit model herself, opened her shop in November. While the boutique specializes in her made-to-order custom swimwear, it also carries a sampling of other, ready-to-wear swimsuit brands, as well as casual wear.
“A girl could come in and get her full wardrobe for a casual weekend getaway,” says Murino. “I don’t like to listen to the fashion critics about what the trend is at the moment. I have to love what I sell. If I have to sit and look at it every day, I’d better love it!”
So what does Murino love? You’ll find plenty of jeans (like Epoch, favored by Cindy Crawford and Amber Viletta, and a well-priced “no-name” brand Murino calls “woman-friendly”); plus T-shirts (Jake’s Dry Goods, Raw 7, etc.); sweat suits (Chick by Nicky Hilton, Pink Jewel, C-Girl, etc.); and cover-ups, wraps, and skirts (like those by Anne Segal, the daughter of hot LA boutique owner Fred Segal). Accessories sold here include handbags, rhinestone flip