Best of Connecticut 2010: Style
Best Consignment Shop. DLC, Westport
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George Champion Modern Shop
Woodbury, (203) 263-8442 (georgechampioncompany.com/modernshop)
Drop in on Champion’s one-of-a-kind Woodbury shop, or log onto his website, and you’ll feel you’ve stepped into a museum rather than an antiques store. Arrayed here are all the wild, witty shapes and colors of the furniture, lighting and furnishings that informed the 20th century’s “modern” sensibility—Frank Gehry “hat trick” chairs, a Noguchi side table, an “Elvis” area rug by Andy Warhol, an Eames folding rosewood screen, eye-popping table and floor lamps. A visit seems like a trip back in time and into the future all at once.
Country Loft Antiques
Woodbury, (203) 266-4500 (countryloftantiques.com)
For over 25 years, those looking for traditional 18th- and 19th-century European and American antiques have flocked to this Woodbury shop to find all sorts of treasures. Located in historic restored barns on 19 scenic acres in the Litchfield Hills, the Country Loft offers everything from period furniture and fine art to collector kitchen items and wine-related antiques. As with any quality antiques shop, the well-stocked inventory is always changing, so any visit may bring a new discovery to claim as your own.
Hamden, (203) 287-0092 (flirtboutiquect.com)
Located at the foot of Sleeping Giant in Hamden, cool and fashionable Flirt dedicates itself to providing one-on-one service to every customer while providing a wide selection for girls of all tastes, ages and figures—J Brand Jeans, Free People and Sweet Pea, to name a few. Since opening in 2007, Flirt has added more fashions and fitting rooms, and now even offers private parties after hours for 5 to 20 guests at no extra charge.
Shoe Inn Westport, (203) 227-9246
In business for over 30 years, Shoe Inn is one of the last family-owned shops on Westport’s Main Street, a throwback to a time when Ann Taylor and Gristede’s were the only chains there. But Shoe Inn’s no dated mom-and-pop—far from it—with shoes by Stuart Weitzman, Michael Kors and Kate Spade, to name a few; chic of-the-moment handbags and jewelry; and Tory Burch accessories.
Wish List Westport, (203) 221-7700, and other locations (shopwishlist.com)
Let’s be honest: We have no idea what teenagers might next decide will be considered fashionable. The good news is that Wish List knows (as much as anyone can), and stocks the most recent gotta-haves in teenage fashion, including dresses, activewear and accessories. This fall sees the launch of “10 Easy Pieces,” its first collection with partner So Low, consisting of skirts, pants and tops that are all interchangeable—perfect for that fickle teen fashionista in your life.
Helen Ainson Darien
Darien, (203) 655-9841 (helenainson.com)
This Darien fixture carries sophisticated sportswear by Yansi Fugel and Donna Degnan and knockout eveningwear by Marisa Baratelli and Teri Jon, as well as talented up-and-comers from all over. “Classic with an edge,” owner Erica Jensen calls her aesthetic—the shop covers the gamut from conservative to extravagant, with many ensembles accompanying their wearers to the Academy Awards and even the White House, says Jensen. Best of all is the one-on-one attention you get from the delightful staff, who have years of experience finding the perfect look for any event.
Bolton, (860) 649-3822
Liberty offers a huge selection of scented candles—all made by hand—from votives, tapers and pillars to tarts, tea lights and floaters. Choose from 70 fragrances, including Pine Needle, Maple Sugar, Macintosh Apple and Chocolate Delight.
Plainville, (860) 747-4121 (artisansmarketplacect.com)
In the 1930s, film director Ernst Lubitsch celebrated the romance of that era’s Shop Around the Corner. We think of wee, charming Artisan’s as the contemporary Connecticut equivalent, probably because we’re sure you’ll fall in love at first sight with the fine American crafts showcased in this hand-built, family-run Plainville Victorian. Now in its 30th year, it’s long been the place to find premier fused glassware by Peggy Karr of New Jersey, Silver Seasons botanical jewelry (by Fairfield’s Michael Michaud) and durable, nature-inspired stoneware from Aldrich Valley Pottery in Missouri. Striking new finds include beaded, wire-worked fantasy jewelry by Starlight Glassworks of Texas and reversible handmade tapestry jackets by Winding River Clothing of Massachusetts.