DEAR:55 and Travessia

by Lisa Dionisio
As antiques dealers in Williamsburg, Moon Rhee and designer Hey Ja Do were bored with the typical local vintage store fare—dark furniture, clutter, old wood floors. Instead, they envisioned a shop with a modern twist. Now, already a beacon of sorts on Clinton Street, their newly opened DEAR:55 with its gleaming spaceship white glow, will catch your eye even if you're just passing by (it's known as the "White House" to neighbors). With white signs, a white bench, and a white bicycle out front, customers can't help but be drawn to the alabaster space and are sometimes surprised to find that inside is a meticulously blended selection of vintage and current collections. Do buys pieces from her travels, bringing together a mix of Japanese and European designers, including Vivienne Westwood, Rick Owens, and Comme de Garçons. Vintage pieces come courtesy of Yohji Yamamoto and Comme des Garçons from the '80s. The shop's own collection of handcrafted jewelry, DEAR:, which Do makes from found objects like vintage charms and lace should not be missed. In the near future, keep your eyes peeled for DEAR:55's sibling store: a men's shop with a black motif…naturally.
DEAR:55, 55 Clinton Street (between Stanton and Rivington streets); 212-673-3494.
On the wall of an unassuming space on Stanton Street is the artwork "I was here," by Harumi Ori. Multiple silhouettes of passersbys taken at different moments in time show the mark left by people within a given space. Along the same lines, Travessia owner and artist, Hiroko Rodriguez, opened her new store/gallery to also leave a mark on the Lower East Side where Travessia makes its home. Although she knew she wanted to open an installation space, Rodriguez never imagined she would have a retail store too. But over time, she noticed an overlap between the two worlds. "Fashion becoming more like art and art becoming more like fashion," she says, and she knew a hybrid would offer something new. Travessia, which roughly translates to "a sort of passage or crossing," will feature rotating installations and, as a result, will continually reinvent itself décor-wise. Striking a balance between antique and industrial, Travessia's dark stained floors, found furnishings, and antique letterpress trays holding Klasica jewelry, create a homey, eclectic vibe that's still clean and uncomplicated. Currently, shoppers can check out the first installation, featuring the works of artists Julia Chang, Robert Mars, and Harumi Ori set alongside sculptural T-shirts by Klasica, silk bird print dresses by Custommade, organic print tops by Noma, and a bubble-sleeve blouse by Baum Und Pferdgarten.
Travessia, 176 Stanton Street (between Clinton and Attorney streets); 212-477-7771. For more information, go to
Photography by Piera Gelardi
Two new boutiques break ground on the Lower East Side.

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