Tuesday, July 29, 2008

No Matter Where You Go There You Shop

Real Bug Paperweights for your favorite Entomophobic (STAGHORN LIMITED, 362 Third Ave  212.689.0858).
By Anita Sarko

We New Yorkers are forever in a rush. There are always places to go, leave or be at, sometimes all at once. I've often boasted that I once attended three dinner parties, all scheduled at the same time, and ate dinner at all three.

Little wonder that I've SOMEHOW accumulated that dreaded middle-age spread, despite doing Pilates, swimming, weight-lifting and riding my Schwinn daily.

Occasionally, one finds oneself with some time to waste, maybe because we're running early, or others are running late, or we've finally decided to stop running and just enjoy a mindless stroll around our beloved metropolis.
CAROL'S DAUGHTER window featuring famous investor (and face of) Jada Pinkett Smith.
Unfortunately, for my pocketbook, it's during those little gifts of time that I indulge in my FAVORITE bit of exercise: Store exploration. And it's not like you even need to expend any energy seeking out a shopping center: This entire city is a mall!

When I was last with you, I was spending my way through Harlem, so that's where we'll begin. And what better way to salute uptown than with an emporium filled with treasures for one's crowning glory? I speak of the awesome CAROL'S DAUGHTER (24 West 125th Street, 212.828.6757).

CAROL'S DAUGHTER Interior (24 West 125th Street 212.828.6757).
Proprietress/Designer MONGOMERY HARRIS (JOLINDA BY MONTGOMERY, 23113 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., 212.690.2166).
Owned by Lisa Price, the investors are such little known folk as Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Jay-Z (He keeps smooth with Ocean Scrub), Andrew Farkas, Steve Stoute, Mary J. Blige (she LOVES the Almond Cookie series), Jimmy Iovine, Tommy Mottola, and Thalía. These celebrities have put their good names and money behind an excellent product line.

The offerings are a godsend for the dry and damaged amongst us and don't end at the hairline if you take the trip up to their flagship store (A limited range of their hair products can be found at Sephora and a few other outlets around town). With little sayings sprinkled throughout the store like “You are far too spiteful. You've got to cleanse your spirit, but so God can bless you.”

Price offers remedies in loads of scents (How about “Sweet Honey Dip Chocolate Brown Sugah”?) and various configurations. Between all of the salts and butters (shea, scar, love…) are fragrances, make-up, bath products and collections geared towards kiddies, mommies-to-be and gents.

The prices are extremely reasonable, being in the low to mid-range double digits. Check out the web site (CarolsDaughter.com) to see the bounty since I was forbidden to shoot photos inside (though I did sneak ONE).

I next ambled up to re-connect with an old pal, Montgomery Harris, at JOLINDA BY MONTGOMERY (23113 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd: AKA 136th & 7th Ave 212.690.2166). It took 2 seconds before she screamed and we were in each other's arms. Monty made clothing for me to DJ in years ago and then we had a falling out.

The highest compliment I can pay Harris is that Vivienne Westwood once hired me to spin at her post-show party in Paris, partially because she was so awestruck by the way I was dressed when I deejayed an event in Monte Carlo that she had attended. Monty had designed all of my clothing for that weekend.

Though she now has a lovely spacious shop, there is, as usual, no inventory, no stock, but only one-of-a-kind capsule collections. “Once a story is finished, I go on to a new story.” Harris explains, emphasizing that her inspirations come from pop culture and iconography. Happily, Monty let me take many photos of what was featured that day.

Luckily, I found exactly the dress I was looking for to DJ a big wedding I had coming up. These pieces are timeless, beautifully crafted and easy to wear, care for and pack. And our personal problems are a thing of the past. As her website says: “Art is an elastic sort of love.”
Rayon Jersey Swarovski crystaled JOLINDA (It means "I am pretty" in Spanish) DRESS ($260 at JOLINDA BY MONTGOMERY, 23113 Adam Clayton Powell Blvd. 212.690.2166). Long TOGA DRESS  with vintage jeweled shoulder strap.  A micro-mini version is also available ($360 at JOLINDA BY MONTGOMERY).
Silk Chiffon FLAPPER DRESS with Vintage Chantilly Lace Trim and Crystal Closure ($563 at JOLINDA BY MONTGOMERY). Cotton DORIS DAY Dress ($240 at JOLINDA BY MONTGOMERY).
With that in mind, let's spring down to Gramercy. Have I got an unexpected pocket of delights for you! Being a neighbor, it has often made me giggle to watch people walk by the 30 year-old STAGHORN LIMITED (362 Third Ave., 212.689.0858), then IMMEDIATELY backtrack and either stay glued looking in the windows or rush inside. Though it carries the usual gift shop fare, this is NOT your usual gift shop.

You can find photo albums everywhere, right? But these, by Canadian-based Molly West, are hand-bound and covered in embroidered and printed silks, linens and velvets, sometimes dotted with Austrian crystals. There's even one called the “Jackie O.” Naturally, there are tea thingies.
Scented and Flavored Spanish Lip Balms and Scented Soaps (Lip Balms: $9.50 each or $21.95 for a set of 3 and Soaps $10.50) at STAGHORN LIMITED, 362 Third Ave  212.689.0858.
However, when was the last time you saw silk loose tea infusers shaped like pyramids? I thought so. And while there are books that are super for coffee tables, there are also ones that might actually be read when left in your guest rooms. Who could resist such titles as Where's Dildo?, Kabbalah On Love, How To Be A President or a wondrous pop-up book on dinosaurs? If only our childhood Summer reading lists carried such material, we all might have pursued doctorates in English Lit.
Clockwise from top left: Embossed wood 1930's JEWELRY CASES reclaimed from Shanghai. "Housekeepers made these for their master ..." ($65-$150); TEA FORTE Teas and Tea Accessories ($12-$74); Various Dog-themed Items (Leather and Plastic Frames, $16-$18); MOLLY WEST Photo Albums ($24-$64); Designer FLOOR MAT ($22). All available at STAGHORN LIMITED, 362 Third Ave, 212.689.0858.
Clockwise from above: STUFFED ANIMALS (up to $75); Book Display; ROSANA ETCHED GLASSES ($16), PITCHER ($68) and VASE ($84) also available in aqua.  Multi-colored paisley PLATES ($54), DEMITASSE CUPS AND SAUCERS ($48) and CAFE CUPS ($46). All available at STAGHORN LIMITED, 362 Third Ave, 212.689.0858.
We'll end our tour even further Downtown off Third Ave, right around the corner from the Bowery Hotel. Let's say you have a friend in town or you're spending a lovely romantic weekend away from your own home or you are from out-of-town or….oh you get the point. Anyway, you want to go shopping and you fear and/or loathe SoHo. Well, march your bad self into JOHN DERIAN CO. DRY GOODS (10 E. 2nd St. 212.677.8408) and whip out the credit cards…unless you're carrying $22,000 in cash for that Queen Anne Highboy you suddenly cannot live without.

I've actually scored some gorgeous silk and sheer cotton clothing there for under $100, so there ARE alternatives. And even if $200 seems pricey for a child's Halloween costume, the sales associate helpfully explains, “These are YEAR ROUND costumes. We consider them HEIRLOOMS because they are of such high quality.”
Clockwise from top left: 1780 QUEEN ANNE HIGHBOY ($22,000); SIDESHOW KITTIES (Disco Kitty, $315; Lobster Kitty, $336; Mermaid Kitty, $378; Lola the Parasite Twin, $336); Rack of CLOTHING (Various Prices), LE CORBUSIER 3 SEAT SOFA ($2,900), LE CORBUSIER  PAIR ($3,200), JOHN ROBSHAW PILLOW COVERS ($48-$125 depending on size and style), and PILLOW INSERTS ($20-$60). FRENCH CHANDELIER WITH TURKISH ORNAMENTS circa 1850 ($1200). All available at JOHN DERIAN CO. DRY GOODS, 10 E. 2nd St, 212.677.8408).
Handknit Bolivian WOOL ANIMALS made in California from children's drawings ($44-120) at JOHN DERIAN CO. DRY GOODS.
American BED circa late 1800s ($4500), late 19th century  Italian CHANDELIER ($2900), and HUGO GUINNESS PAINTINGS ($1200 each) at JOHN DERIAN CO. DRY GOODS. French CHILDREN'S COSTUMES and BOY MANNEQUINS (Mannequins from $625-$900, Costumes for children 2-8 years old, from $156-$221. Lancelot: $163; Pirate: $200. "La Fiancee du Pirate" also available: $198 at JOHN DERIAN CO. DRY GOODS).
Uh-huh. Now, rush to the nearest (wine) bar to drown those sorrowful memories of yesteryear when a purchase in the E. Village didn't require taking out a second mortgage.