With the new year fast approaching, we’re bringing you a snapshot of some of our favorite products and experiences.
Lily Perry Fine Art
Art is in Lily Perry’s blood: As the Riverside, CT-based abstract painter explains, she grew up in a family of working artists and paint- ing was always a hobby of hers. “I worked in NYC in the fashion industry for years, but when I had my three kids, I decided to stay home with them and began painting more regularly,” Perry says. In 2020, she launched Lily Perry Fine Art and now creates both commissioned and original artwork, which you can find at Swoon Gallery in Westport and at Abigail Fox in Greenwich, CT. “I paint with differ- ent mediums including acrylic, house paint, graphite, sharpies and pastels. I often add unexpected elements such as glass or duct tape to my work and enjoy exploring contrast and scale,” she explains, along with using items like textiles and string as a nod to her past fashion experience. When it comes to private commissions, she can create art for specific spaces and “enjoys the challenge of pulling elements of each room into my work from individual décor, colors and designs in my client’s respective homes.” (Bonus: She and her business partner, who focuses on small-space design and artwork placement, also offer in-home consultations.)
LOUNGE AND ACTIVEWEAR
“I try my best to live a healthy lifestyle. I pay attention to what I put in my body and after doing some research on how polluting and toxic the traditional fashion industry is, I decided I should start paying attention to what I put on my body as well,” says Nicole Vives, co-founder of the active and loungewear brand, Amrêve. “Non-organic, synthetic clothing contains microplastics and harsh chemical dyes that negatively impact the people making the clothes, the planet and the person wearing them. I started Amrêve so that wellness enthusiasts, like myself, can have certified organic clothing without sacrificing quality or design.” Officially launched this past summer, Amrêve’s four- piece collection includes a hoodie, jogger, bralette and bike shorts—all designed in New York and made with certified organic Pima cotton grown and manufactured responsibly in Peru. “Our activewear and loungewear uses the highest quality certified organic cotton and organic manufacturing processes to ensure our fabrics are safe on skin for optimum wellness,” she explains. “Our pieces are super soft, versatile and high-quality; I wear them to the gym, running errands and lounging around the house.” But Vives says, her team isn’t rest- ing on their laurels. As they continue engaging other like-minded wellness enthusiasts, she adds, they plan to soon release the brand’s next piece: a jumpsuit.
Gabriel + Simone
As Darren Lilien, co-founder of Brooklyn-based Gabriel + Simone, explains, his wife and co-founder, Rebecca Caban, “started to need readers in her 40s and found that there were not a lot of stylish options at affordable pricing on the market. The issue is that once you need readers, you need multiple pairs—one in each room, the car, the office, etc.—and you are constantly losing them. So the idea of spending a lot of money on lots of pairs was daunting.” Instead, the couple decided to launch their own brand—named for their two kids—offering lightweight readers that they note are about one- third of the price of others on the market. All their readers feature a blue light filter. “So many people use readers when looking at digital screens that we thought it would be a good idea to add a blue light filter, especially since so many people stare at their phones right before bedtime,” explains Lilien, “We even offer our blue light blocking glasses in 0.00 power (no magnification) for people who still want to block the blue light but don’t necessarily need magnified readers yet.” You can also snag fun accessories, like eyeglass chains, and other types of glasses, like blue light glasses for kids and sun readers, which are combination readers and sunglasses.
ICE CREAM COCKTAIL BAR
“At the core of Alchimista lies a rich tradition of exceptional ice cream rooted in Argentina, my home country,” says Gabriela Baumatz, the owner of alcohol-infused ice cream brand Alchimista. “Growing up there, I was privileged to savor high-quality ice cream throughout my life. This enduring tradition remains my pro- found inspiration for creating each flavor.” Launched in 2021, the company now offers 14 different flavors—like prohibition chocolate, a dark chocolate infused with Malbec, and margarita sorbet, infused with tequila—all of which have an alcohol-content upwards of 5 percent. You can score a pint at local shops, like Ice Cream Social in White Plains, NY, or online. But if you’re throwing a party, consider their catered ice cream cocktail bar—the core of their business. “We serve our ice cream in martini or whiskey glasses, adorned with cocktail garnishes to complement the flavors,” explains Baumatz. “For instance, when serving our margarita sorbet, we rim the glass with salt and garnish it with a slice of lime…The possibilities for enhancing each flavor with unique cocktail garnishes are virtually endless.”
“After many years in the diamond business, I found the process of buying fine jewelry to be outdated and uninspired—two things jewelry should never be!” explains owner Ali Galgano, who launched Serpentine Jewels in 2016 and its accompanying atelier in Greenwich last year. Her deep knowledge of the industry and discerning eye for design have drawn the attention of discriminating clients, with whom she loves to collaborate and create something unique. Galgano describes the pieces she creates as classic with a modern twist. “Color is a huge part of our work, as are diamonds. Our pieces juxtapose both,” she explains. New this fall, the collection will feature mixed-shape motifs combined with color, “toi et moi” shape combinations, front-to-back hoops, and a long-standing client favorite: custom tennis bracelets. “We love to infuse color in a tennis bracelet,” adds Galgano. To that end, she regularly works with clients to design custom pieces. “Our jewelry speaks to the person who wears it, and they are truly commissioned pieces of art,” says Galgano.
As you stock up on your own sweater collection for fall and winter, consider doing the same for your four-legged family members. That’s where handmade dog clothing company, CHLO&CO, which is based in Fairfield County, comes in. “Our brand offers classic, trend-inspired, and easy-to-wear pieces for the fashion-forward pup,” says owner and designer Amanda Vaz. Along with their sweatshirts, tanks and bandanas, we love their velvet dog sweaters, which come in a variety of colors. “Our sweaters are made of high-quality materials, making sure the comfort of your pet is our top priority,” says Vaz. “When designing our sweaters and other pieces we are inspired by nature, art and travel. CHLO&CO stands up by originality, quality and pieces you won’t find at big box stores.”
Shreve, Crump & Low
A HUBLOT TIMEPIECE
Along with some incredible jewelry, including engagement rings and estate pieces, Shreve, Crump & Low in Greenwich, CT, also has an extensive selection of watches. And if you’re looking for a new timepiece—or one to gift to a loved one to mark a special occasion— Hublot’s 42mm Big Bang Unico Titanium Blue Ceramic watch offers tons of great features. “It has a 72-hour power reserve in a proprietary Hublot in-house movement,” explains Bradford Walker, vice president at Shreve, Crump & Low. “The watch features a ceramic bezel, which has hardness whose only superiority is a diamond.” Plus, it has a quick-release strap so it’s easy to switch up the band’s material or color and it’s water resistant up to 100m. All in all, as Walker notes, it’s a “highly versatile, sporty addition to any collection.”
ZSA ZSA HANDBAG
Drew and Cassandra Archer, the husband-and-wife team behind Blackkat Leather, who opened their store in Chester, CT, in 2016, have continuously offered customers a wide range of leather pieces—from totes and travel bags to wallets, belts and keychains. (They also regularly display jewelry and items by other local artists.) “I think that people are drawn to my work because of its simplicity and high level of quality,” says Drew. “Everything we make should last you forever. Our products are not something that will wear out and be thrown away in a season.” And the Zsa Zsa bag offers just that: “The very unique round handle loop design gets tons of attention, and the large variety of colors makes it fun to display,” says Drew of the bag, which comes in nine different shades. “Bright colored leather, painted edges and solid brass feet and closure give it a very sleek and elegant feel.” While the creation of each bag takes time, he says, it’s worth the effort for this best seller. Notes Drew: “In my mind this bag is meant for a fancy night out to add some fun to any outfit.”