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The Boston Globe

Magazine

Best of the New 2012

Best of the New: Shopping and Services

Elegant contemporary jewelry, designer consigners, and an antiques road trip.

Artefact, Belmont.

Ion Sokhos

Artefact, Belmont.

Best of the New contributors: Jenn Abelson, Ami Albernaz, Cheryl Alkon, Kara Baskin, Karen Campbell, Matt Casey, Devra First, Tim Flynn, Ethan Gilsdorf, Alice Gregory, Lucia Huntington, Katherine Hysmith, Carolyn Y. Johnson, Susan Johnston, Sheryl Julian, Joseph P. Kahn, Marni Elyse Katz, Scott Kirsner, Ann Trieger Kurland, Dan Morrell, John Powers, Sebastian Smee, Shira Springer, Tina Sutton, Rachel Travers, and Glenn Yoder

ALCHEMY 9.2.5

> 48 Leonard Street, Belmont, 617-484-9250, alchemy925.com

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Local silversmith and metalwork teacher Munya Avigail Upin and London-born jeweler Kirsten Ball opened Alchemy 9.2.5 as a showcase for both their own and their fellow artists’ contemporary designs. Many pieces are bold and architectural, with equally dramatic ceramics and fiber arts also represented. Custom jewelry orders are welcome.

ARTEFACT

> 1000 Pleasant Street, Belmont, 617-993-3347, artefacthome.com

Opening a home design store in a circa 1930 Dodge dealership might seem an unlikely undertaking for aesthetes with visions of raw linen upholstery, gilt-framed mirrors, and Peruvian ceramics. But design-minded sisters Maureen and Sue Walsh’s pairing at their shop, Artefact, is sublime. Off the beaten path among motor-related businesses and plenty of trees, the large space with 18-foot ceilings has the feel of a mid-century loft in a suburban landscape. Clusters of gorgeous lighting suspended above perfectly simple sofas and rough-hewn wood tables set with silver serving pieces present a subtle tableau for sophisticated homeowners who eschew the fussy and fancy.

BELLS & WHISTLES

> 68 Leonard Street, Belmont, 617-489-2500, bellsandwhistlesshop.com

It’s not every gift shop that offers the services of a talented in-house graphic designer for customizing stationery and invitations. Danielle Stewart helps make Bells & Whistles one-stop shopping for a variety of occasions, offering a wide range of hostess and personalized baby gifts, jewelry, and a wedding registry for everything from exquisite tableware and decorative accessories to irresistible home accents.

BONOBOS

> 283 Dartmouth Street, Boston, 857-263-7340, bonobos.com

The Boston Bonobos showroom carries body-conscious menswear for the office, weekends, and dress occasions (e.g., slim-cut tuxedos). Clients are invited to try on samples for size before ordering their picks with the aid of a helpful personal shopper. Top local sellers include colorful narrow pants, patterned shirts, and American-made jeans.

BROCADES

> 1620 Beacon Street, Brookline, 617-959-1797, brocadesboutique.com

This boutique stocks a dazzling array of Indian fashion: traditional, modern, and vintage silk saris plus dresses and stoles in brilliant colors ideal for weddings or other very special events. Custom work and lessons in draping Brocade’s saris are part of the attentive service. And to spice up your weekend wear, check out the lovely tunics, versatile beaded jewelry, and woven flats.

CARTER DAYTON

> 276 Washington Street, Wellesley, 781-772-1630, carterdaytonhome.com

Well-turned-out homes in the western suburbs are bound to get better with the addition of this expansive furnishings showroom in the former Wellesley Hills Whole Foods. Conceived by Newbury Street interior design duo Michael Carter and Lynn Dayton, Carter Dayton Home has high-end, customizable furniture and accessories from brands usually reserved for designers, including Hickory Chair, along with lush tidbits like Belgian linen bedding.

COLOUR BLOC

> colour-bloc.com

Blank walls can be intimidating because choosing artwork is, at its best, an art form. For $35 per hour, Amelia Eichholz, a Southern belle with a degree from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, identifies pieces to fit your space, taste, and budget. Be it a compact condo or country estate, traditional law office or trendy eatery, Eichholz sources works far and wide, from local galleries to artists she’s found online. She’ll even arrange rentals if you’re interested in decorating only for a special occasion.

COMO BY CERI

> 91 Union Street, Newton Centre, 617-527-9100, ceriboutique.com

Ellen Shapiro already owns boho-luxe women’s fashion boutiques in Boston, Newton Centre, and Wellesley. Her talent for finding outfit-making costume jewelry (spotted on everyone from Hollywood celebs to Michelle Obama), bags, and belts is evident in her new accessories-only Newton shop, Como by Ceri. Prices range from $25 to $2,500, but most items are under $200.  

CROMPTON COLLECTIVE

> 138 Green Street, Worcester, 508-753-7303, cromptoncollective.com

Like Pinterest come to life, Crompton Collective in Worcester is a huge mall-like space where loads of antique dealers and artisans have banded together to display their eclectic and diverse wares. The brainchild of Haberdash Vintage proprietor Amy Lynn Chase, the collective offers everything from fine period furniture and vintage clothing to quirky and collectible bric-a-brac and objets d’art.

Ensemble Boston.

Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Ensemble Boston.

ENSEMBLE

> 62 Salem Street, Boston, 617-455-8711, ensembleboston.com

Retail veteran Wendy Lepore’s charming North End shop blends vintage, consigned, and new clothes, jewelry, and home accents. If you hit it right, you just might snag a gently priced Chanel or Cesare Paciotti bag, a sexy DVF cocktail dress, or a 1960s fox-trim coat. Look, too, for dainty leather gloves and nylon knee-highs in daring prints.

GOOD

> 133 Charles Street, Boston, 617-722-9200, shopatgood.com

A longtime favorite for jewelry and imaginative gifts, the formerly pocket-size Good boutique has moved down Charles Street to a space three times as large. Owner Paul Niski calls the store’s expanded offerings “New England Modern”; they include fine furniture, housewares, pottery, and lighting made by local craftspeople. Vintage antiques complete the inviting mix.

J.MCLAUGHLIN

> 34 Charles Street, Boston, 617-228-4195, jmclaughlin.com

Preppy powerhouse J.McLaughlin has doubled its footprint in Beacon Hill, adding 700 square feet — and even more bright argyle and cheeky striped socks to cover yours. In fact, there’s a little more of everything, from jewel-colored haircalf clutches to martini-motif embroidered corduroys, with men’s and women’s items displayed in dedicated areas.

KGIRL

> The Shops at Putterham, 185 Grove Street, Chestnut Hill, 617-325-5566, kenziekids.com

Offering the ultimate in shine and sparkle for female tweens and teens in sizes 7 to 16 (plus a few women’s pieces, too), owner Estelle Colgan opened a second location this October, much to the delight of style-obsessed young ladies and their equally well-turned-out moms. Looks are sharply on-trend at KGirl without veering toward the scanty or simpering, though such style doesn’t always come cheap. That said, those on the bat mitzvah circuit intent on scoring one perfect party dress can end their search here.

KRISTIN PATON

> 152 Mt. Auburn Street, Cambridge, 617-491-7100, kristinpatonhome.com

Interior designer Kristin Paton has a well-used passport, and now you get the benefit. After spending more than a decade creating gorgeous interiors around Europe, she has opened a furnishings shop just outside Harvard Square. The wares, a mix of antique and new, rustic and polished, include white-resin pagoda lamps that are more fun than fussy, a French game table with curvy legs, a framed Art Deco ski poster, and cast Koi with silver and gold-leaf finishes meant to attach en masse to a wall.

LOCAL ROOT

> 221 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, 617-354-2400, localroot.com

Observatory Hill home furnishings shop Didrik’s expanded this fall, opening a dedicated kitchen store just up the street. The space looks very right right now, marrying well-worn pine floors, white bead-board walls, and industrial-style pendant lights. Impeccably chosen products include copper and stainless cookware from Mauviel, Rosle chef’s tools, and a range of high-end knives. Plus, there’s an in-house sharpening service.

LOUIS AT MANDARIN ORIENTAL

> Mandarin Oriental Hotel, 776 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-603-2944, louisboston.com

Need a fabulous gift in a hurry? Louis’s latest outpost is located in the lobby of the swanky Mandarin Oriental hotel, stocking a tantalizing mix of goods in a tiny 200-square-foot space. There’s a wide variety of special somethings here, many actually priced under $100. Choose from iconic Fornasetti plates, Christian Lacroix notebooks, exquisite lacquered boxes, collectible jewelry, and Marni knit socks and hats.

THE LUDLOW SHOP

> Copley Place, Boston, 617-375-1032, jcrew.com

The star attraction of J.Crew’s new upscale menswear offshoot is the Ludlow suit, a trim, modern two-button cut that comes in a wealth of luxe fabrics with “bespoke-inspired” detailing like the hand-stitched collar. Beautifully made shirts, ties, and footwear complete the look in a space that resembles a cosmopolitan writer’s apartment with a ’50s typewriter, artsy books, and mid-century modern sculpture.

LULABELLE

> Derby Street Shoppes, Hingham, 781-556-5799

Following a two-year stint in Scituate, Donna Morton has relocated her lingerie boutique to a larger space in the easy-to-reach Derby Street Shoppes. An ex-corporate player, Morton understands both sides of the lingerie dilemma — how to look pretty and feminine but also be comfortable — and she knows that expert fitting is a must. Brands include Marie Jo and Simone Perele, as well as the organic label Skin and maternity lingerie from Cake. It’s not only underthings; you’ll find swimsuits and sleepwear, too.

NEW BALANCE

> 583 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-266-1583, newbalance.com

Maybe it’s no Niketown, but this is also not your father’s New Balance. In recent years, the brand has developed street cred with a constant flow of exclusive one-and-done collections, as well as mod color combos in its running and lifestyle classics. (They’re hip enough for Barneys.)

NOA

> 88 Charles Street, Boston, 857-233-4912, noagifts.com

Buy local is the mantra of Barbara and Ian Scofidio, owners of Noa, new to Beacon Hill. The handiwork of more than 200 New England artisans, many of them from Massachusetts — fills shelf after shelf in the couple’s gem of a shop, where you’ll find contemporary and traditional jewelry, glassware, pottery, and numerous one-of-a-kind gifts. Unusual materials used in unexpected ways is a store signature.

NYMPH JEWELS

> etsy.com/shop/NymphJewels

After closing her venerable Newbury Street boutique, Matsu, last fall, Dava Muramatsu dedicated her efforts to her online jewelry store, Nymph Jewels, which features dozens of bold, earthy pieces. Starting with amethysts, raw rubies, garnets, and other precious and semiprecious stones, Muramatsu will add a charm, a briolette, or another accent. The unique pieces are beauties.

PLUM CONSIGNMENT

> 156 Cabot Street, Beverly, 978-853-6623, plumconsignment.com

With its wood-plank floors, exposed brick wall, and Brimfield-worthy vintage props, Pam Hulbert’s Beverly boutique Plum Consignment offers shoppers South End-like charm rather than thrift-store frenzy. The experience is meant to mirror that of a retail boutique, so the fact that the clothes are secondhand is, well, secondary. The 33-year-old proprietor, who has a background in graphic design and real estate, carries cute printed dresses, dark denim, and cropped jackets. Hulbert posts her best and latest finds on the store’s Facebook page and will even allow customers to set things aside.

REBEKAH BROOKS

> 17 Brattle Street, Cambridge, 617-864-1639, rebekahbrooks.com

This Harvard Square jewelry shop specializes in handcrafted pieces with a regal flair. Elegant teardrop earrings and dainty gemstone-studded chains share space with stunning antique finds procured both here and abroad, such as Victorian lockets and, on a recent visit, a garnet collar necklace from the early 1800s. Ask about the handmade wedding rings should you have a special day on the horizon.

REDRESS

> 395A Washington Street, Brookline, 617-879-0037, redressboston.com

This tiny consignment shop in Brookline Village offers a trove of lightly worn clothing and accessories ranging from high-end edgy pieces to some vintage wear. An artsy selection of jewelry and designer shoes and handbags — Prada, Bottega Veneta, etc. — gives Redress a distinctive style. Watch the blog for what’s new (and what you’ve just missed).

TESS & CARLOS

> 411 Boston Post Road, Weston, 781-373-9061, tessandcarlos.com

Having shuttered the Newton Centre Tess & Carlos shop after 14 years (the Cambridge and Concord boutiques remain open), Tess Enright has introduced a smaller slice of luxury in Weston. Never one for frills and fuss, her new store’s design is minimal, with black hardwood floors, white walls, and steel and glass displays. All the better to focus on the Italian womenswear she’s known for, including the brands Hache and Ter et Bantine. While the shop keeps regular retail hours, Enright offers personal shopping appointments as well.

TOPSHOP AND TOPMAN

> Burlington Mall, 781-345-7800, shopnordstrom.com

The up-to-the-minute fast fashion of Britain’s Topshop and Topman brands is coveted by youthful trendsetters on both sides of the pond. And the only place you’ll find it in New England is the ample store-within-a-store at Nordstrom in Burlington. New goods arrive weekly and sell out quickly.

TORY BURCH

> Copley Place, Boston, 617-867-9140, toryburch.com

Tory Burch’s signature shoes and items from her clothing line have been available in area department stores, but the signature store now offers one-stop shopping for the entire classics-with-a-twist line: ready-to-wear, handbags, eyewear, accessories, and, of course, those ballet flats. The beautifully appointed 1,600-square-foot boutique is decked out like a lavish Upper East Side apartment.

VIRA

> 107 Charles Street, Boston, 617-367-0305, facebook.com/viraboutique

Longtime friends Radhika Rana and Vivek Patel have made great use of their Fashion Institute of Technology educations, filling their Charles Street boutique Vira with many new-to-the-area women’s international lines from France, Denmark, Australia, and Singapore. The taste level is high, but the prices reasonable for what you get: luxurious fabrics, bold trim, and dramatic silhouettes. Statement-making exotic jewelry is also plentiful.

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