Whether you seek Gucci, Chanel, or the fashionista’s flavor-of-the month brand of denim, you can find it in NoMa. But if you want something truly cool—something you’re not going to see on every platinum-card-toting mall shopper—check out Westchester’s homegrown fashion designers and their one-of-a-kind, signature looks.
If you’ve never worn clothing created just for you, you’re missing out on one of fashion’s greatest pleasures. A custom-made gown, coat, or suit not only fits your body to perfection, but it also fits your personality. Here are a few Westchester designers who can dress your dreams.
Cortland Manor painter and illustrator Susan Obrant makes everything from hats and gauntlets (about $150) to racy halter dresses and elaborately textured coats (for as much as $3,000). The pieces, which reflect a painterly blend of color and texture, have nothing in common with your grandmother’s crochet work, although Obrant is herself a grandmother. “I like to blend different materials,” she explains. “I use a little cashmere, a very soft wool, and synthetics from all over the world. But I won’t use anything that itches!” Although she specializes in custom work, Obrant does sell a few ready-to-wear pieces at The Elephant’s Trunk in MountKisco.
In the ‘90s, Constance McCardle was head designer at Madison Avenue’s exquisite Gallery of Wearable Art before going out on her own “to do replicas of antique wedding gowns in Cold Spring.” However, “minimalism became the fashion for bridal gowns and that just wasn’t my look. So I went into evening gowns.”
After working with Italian couturier Raffaeala Curiel on her 1999 and 2000 collections, McCardle returned to her home and workshop in Ossining to turn out one-of-a-kind evening gowns and jackets featuring repurposed antique textiles. Gowns start at $2,800, but one of her most lavish creations, an evening suit featuring fabric from a ball gown by the famed 19th-century couturier, Worth, fetched $16,000. Although she sells quite a few pieces to The Elephant’s Trunk in MountKisco, the majority of her work is custom made.
Credit Bedford resident Nova Lorraine’s hourglass figure for her obsession with fit.
“Even though I’m small, I have hips,” she says. “When I went shopping, I couldn’t find clothes that fit and everything was minimalist in style. I wanted to make shopping fun and design clothes that have texture, life, and interest—and that actually fit!” At her Mount Kisco atelier, Nova Lorraine crafts one-of-a-kind and few-of-a-kind gowns (starting at $800) and day-to-evening jackets (starting in the $500 to $600 range) from a rich collection of fabric, including embroidered and embellished textiles from India, Pakistan, and the Far East. Shopping here is a highly personal experience. “My concept was to have a comfortable place,” she says. “Instead of a boutique, this is more like buying clothes in your best friend’s living room.”
At David’s, fashion-savvy guys can find a good selection of ready-to-wear suits, shirts, ties, sport coats, and even denim by designers like Zanella, Jahne Barnes, Robert Talbot, Tailorbyrd and Ike Behar. But the real draw here is bespoke (i.e., “custom-made”) suits. “If you want something beautiful, it has to be bespoke,” owner David Frank declares. “When you buy a custom-made suit, you choose the buttons, the fabric, the lining, and all the details. It’s a suit that’s made for your body and your character.” The store stocks 8,000 different fabric samples but has access to 40,000. “So if you’re looking for a chocolate-brown wool with a subtle pink windowpane, I can get it for you,” Frank says. “Heck, I can probably get you three to choose from.” Can’t find the perfect complementary tie from the selection of 200 in stock? Frank can make you one from one of his 900 different silks. Prices for a ready-to-wear suit range from $650 to $2,500; custom-made suits range from $2,000 to $15,000.
Sam Boe and his wife, Karol, of Bedford say they design clothes for modern women who want to “dress an attitude instead of an age.” That attitude is reflected in pieces like an acid-dyed sweater. “The process of acid-dyeing gives the sweater a rustic charm,” Sam says. “It looks vintage-y, but you know it’s new.” The Tyler Boe collection features sweaters in cashmere-cotton blends, jeans and pants in cotton twill or wool blends, and pieces ranging from a contemporary take on a leather bomber jacket to a dressy jacquard coat. Prices are modest. Sweaters cost $120 to $180 for the cashmere blends; jackets retail for around $200 ($500 for a leather one from the fall collection) and pants are about $140. A nice touch: every garment has a dragonfly, Tyler Boe’s corporate logo, embroidered somewhere inconspicuous. “It’s in the waistband of pants or on the back of a shirt—we’re not into logos,” Sam says. The line is sold at area boutiques including March in Briarcliff, Wendy’s Closet in Bedford, and Panache in Rye.
Heart & Soul22 Main St, Yonkers (914) 964-5210 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause traditional black pants look so much cooler paired with a vintage rock-band T-shirt—and you can find them both here.New York Dolls32 Main St, MountKisco (914) 244-3655 www.newyorkdolls.net. Why it’s cool: ‘Cause dress lengths really don’t matter—and here you’ll find all lengths—from mini cocktail dresses to up-to-the-floor gowns. On the One 153 E. Main St, Mount Kisco (914) 666-7787 www.ontheonemountkisco.com. Why it’s cool: ‘Cause you don’t even need a degree from FIT to look fab; the talented sales force here will mix and match for you so that you’ll always look cool. Y?276 Katonah Ave, Katonah (914) 232-4280 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause this is the flagship store for designer JR Morrissey.
March1250 Pleasantville Rd, Briarcliff Manor (914) 923-2100 www.marchboutique.com. (Above) Why it’s cool: Where else can you find outfits by Dallin Chase and Karanina? Haven’t heard of these designers? It’s only a matter of time. Knoyzz 13 RyeRidgePlaza, Rye Brook (914) 690-606 41 South Moger Ave, MountKisco (914) 242-0030 www.knoyzz.com Why it’s cool: Just read the labels inside the garments: Free People, True Religion, Project E. Doesn’t that alone sound cool? Panache86 Purchase St, Rye (914) 967-5637 Why it’s cool: Cause the classic uptown styles found here will always be cool. Ruby Sue22 Valley Rd, Katonah (914) 232-6277 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause youth is always cool—and the sexy and sharp clothes here are perfect for the young-in-mind set. Elephant’s Trunk 111 East Main St, Mount Kisco (914) 666-7666 www.elephantstrunk.com Why it’s cool: ‘Cause when you’re the star of the show (or want to be), its great collection of designer and custom-fit eveningwear helps you dress the part. Zoya257 Mamaroneck Ave, White Plains(914) 390- 9692 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause designers like Voom by Joy Han and Frenzii define L.A-style cool.
Outerluxe1951 Palmer Ave, Larchmont (914) 834-2345 ,(Above) Why it’s cool: ‘Cause buttery leather coats, Italian cashmere gloves, and made-to-measure shearling coats can make you look hot even in the dead of winter. Timeless Seasons40 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 366-4227 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause where else can you find designer dresses from as far away as Russia in Westchester?
David’s Fine Menswear1406 East Main St., Yorktown (914) 528-5700 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause men always look better in suits, especially when they’re custom-made. Rothman’s1 Boni-face Circle, Scarsdale (914) 713-0300 www.rothmansny.com Why it’s cool: ‘Cause you can never go wrong with top designers like Hugo Boss, Calvin Klein, and Kenneth Cole.
Pepper Noodle Couture44 Purchase St, Rye (914) 921-2001 www.peppernoodle couture.com Why it’s cool: ‘Cause black onesies with sayings such as “Hooked on Binkies” and “Bottle Service Only” are much cooler than plain old pink and blue anything. Bella Blu 311 Route 22, Goldens Bridge (914) 232-5500 Why it’s cool: ’Cause what could be cuter than little tykes in vintage Harley-Davidson T-shirts with sayings like “Loud and Proud” embellished with beading and tulle?
For the home
SoHoEast 63 Main St, Dobbs Ferry SoHoEast Two 39 Main St, Irvington(914) 591-4082 www.sohoeast.com Why it’s cool: Cause money can’t buy style; good taste can—and in this shop everything is in good taste. ebhome 200 E. Main St Mount Kisco (914) 242-7278 www.ebhome.comWhy it’s cool: Ever meet Everick Brown? Now he is cool, as is everything with which he stocks his sleek home furnishings shop. Vintage Home144 King St, Chappaqua (914) 238-3014 Why it’s cool:‘Cause zebra skinned rugs, vintage Balenciaga bracelets and pheasant-feathered placemats are pretty nifty. NoKa25 Katonah Ave, Katonah (914) 232-7278 www.nokashop.com Why it’s cool: ‘Cause it doesn’t take life oh-so-seriously—it’s books, jewelry, vintage furniture, and handbags make us smile, if not outright laugh. Belkind Bigi21 Main St, Tarrytown (914) 524-9626 Why it’s cool: ‘Cause George Nelson, Charles Eames, and Vladimir Kagan designs were the height of cool in the ‘50s and ‘60s and their styles—all available here—will help you recreate it.
Ivy 470 Main St, Armonk(914) 219-5170 ,(Above) Why it’s cool: ‘Cause custom-made flower arrangements cased in vintage vases couldn’t be classier.