Design Inspiration Abounds in Boston’s South End
Have you heard that Boston’s South End is chock full of great restaurants, great shopping, theatres, charming brownstones, sleek condos, lots of ‘mos and yuppies, stop-in-your-track adorable (and well accessorized) puppies, and a gallery opening every block? Course you have – old news! The once edgy and up-and-coming neighborhood is more than gentrified at this point, however just recently a couple examples of truly refreshing retailers and designers have entered the fray, reminding us that the South End is more than a second home for Newbury’s more pedestrian restaurateurs.
I was first introduced to J.E.M.’s founder and creative mind, Jane Miller, at the Tanglewood opening dinner a couple years back, where she had designed a full-scale Trojan Horse to decorate the BSO lawn for a pre-performance dinner of Le Troyen. Her new showroom and shop on Shawmut Ave. is a showcase of her original designs, vintage finds, and anything else that catches her trained eye…and which she thinks will excite our own. A source of inspiration as much as a retail outlet, J.E.M. hosts a series of Artist Salons and intimate gatherings of creative Bostonians.
Don n’ John, John n’ Don – I have a hard time keeping it straight, but I do know that this design duo has impressed me from Day 1 when I first discovered their edgy designs at a Commonwealth Shakespeare fundraiser at The Liberty. Carrying more of a sensibility for NYC and Paris, PatchNYC have indeed found a home here in Boston, with the opening of their new Waltham St. showroom. Check out the company’s history on their site….starting with wool hats, then scarves, then bags picked up by Barneys and Bergdorfs, now they’ve gained acclaim for their jewelry collection, including HUNTER by PATCH NYC for men. Their aesthetic ranges from macabre vintage-inspired woodblock prints, to chic home furnishings and then their jewelry…mixes of chains and charms and bone and stones…flea market finds and collectibles come together in elaborate and edgy designs. I highly encourage adding yourself to their mailing list online to receive invitations to their open houses and trunk shows.
Not to say that J.E.M. and PATCH are the South End’s only hope to retain its cool – Diseno still rocks with Argentinean imports; the restaurant scene, including Orinoco, Stella and Oringer’s new venture Coppa still excite; while the Boston Center for the Arts ensures a steady supply of unique and edgy cultural events, but it is a serious breath of fresh air to see such creative individuals succeeding in bringing their artistic visions to life…especially when it means some one-of-a kind pillows and bracelets!
Posted by Sam