shopping 03.11.15

De Vera

De Vera, 1 Crosby St. [Howard] 212.625.0838, is as close to a museum as retail gets, even in a museum.

It was opened in San Francisco in 1991 by Federico de Vera, who launched the Crosby Street location in 2003. The Upper East Side, 26 E. 81st Street, followed seven years later.

In most cases, it helps to think of De Vera as aspirational rather than "Gotta get something for Debbie's birthday." Would Debbie even want something from De Vera?

Yet as an object lesson in objects, their selection, qualification and presentation, De Vera has few peers. Everything looks ravishingly beautiful, as if it were given by a grateful potentate in thanks for an enemy vanquished.

All those bibelots and crowns of thorns, these brooches, vases, statuettes, jars, rings, and things that require explantation—they gather force and grace by their connection to each other, their placement, the tableaux they create.

Everything is behind cases, one more remove from the daily world of things you might handle, things you might drop or smudge. You're really not invited to touch. You're definitely not allowed to photograph. Unless you're feeling flush, you're not likely to buy.

Honestly, we love De Vera. But alas, it is never to be requited.

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