shopping 02.23.09

Designing Women

Book • Marc Jacobs and Stella McCartney say she inspired them. Even those who don't know the name tend to recognize the style: Aussie designer Florence Broadhurst's outsized, bold wallpaper prints made her one of the most influential names in decor of the 1960s and '70s. After disappearing figuratively and literally (she was mysteriously murdered in 1977), Broadhurst is making something of a posthumous comeback via this biography and reissued designs.

Ceramics • Brooklyn-based May Luk sells her enchanting handmade ceramics on Etsy – a vase with the Coney Island Parachute silk-screened onto the side is $38, and a Brooklyn Chinoiserie platter with iconic local images is $42.

Charm BraceletsBethan Lloyd Worthington is a young British artist who has created a line of tea-set charm bracelets. Each is unique (contact the artist to select—or commission—the charms) and a steal ($28 to $36, plus shipping).

Handbag Vases Shayla Su studied art, architecture, and ceramics. It wasn't until she took a trip to Venice in 2003, though, that she found the perfect inspiration to combine them all. Among the wonders of Venice, she became enamored of the handbags displayed in the city's shops. Returning home, she launched what has become a signature line: over two dozen handbag vases. They look good with a bunch of tulips, peonies, or even dried flowers. And it's a guaranteed hit with the fashionista in your life.

Jewelry • Artist Margaux Lange takes Barbie-mania to a whole other level, crafting jewelry made of disembodied Barbies in her Brooklyn workshop. A hand dangles from a sterling silver lariat necklace, those deer-in-headlights eyes peer out from earrings and the doll's perma-smile gets encased in a ring of red resin. Each is the perfect gift for the Barbie love-hater in your life.

Letterpress • You'll find a wealth of talent among the Ladies of Letterpress, a website "dedicated to the proposition that a woman's place is in the print shop."

Shower Curtain • New Zealander Catherine David's eye-tricking Chandelier Shower Curtain, featuring the muted silhouette of an old-world chandelier, adds a bit of drama and mystery to the routine lather, rinse, repeat.

Stickers • If we say 'stickers' to you, you'd probably think of something that kids might apply to their homework notebook: butterflies, Hello Kitty, or a shiny rainbow. Italian designer Francesca Zanella confounds expectations with her high-style stickers for grownups that could add some inexpensive flair to the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, or laptop.

Theater Designers • Lighting designer Jennifer Tipton once created the most amazing slow sunset, reflected in a Hamptons home, for an '80s Broadway play, and we've used it as the yardstick for judging all sunsets ever since. Most do not compare favorably. An exhibition at the NY Public Library's Lincoln Center outpost, Curtain Call: Celebrating a Century of Women Designing for Live Performance, honors the many gifted designers who have created sets, costumes, and lighting for theater, opera, and dance in the past 100 years, including Jean Rosenthal, pictured.

Vintage Accessories • Pill boxes, flasks, emery boards, luggage tags – anywhere Anne Taintor adds her delightful retro images/"vintage humor" is a plus for all concerned.

Wallpaper • At first glance, Sheila Bridges' Harlem Toile de Jouy seems to be a faithful rendering of the classic pastoral-scene print that Marie Antoinette used throughout the Versailles Palace, but look closer: Here, a couple dances next to a fat 1980s stereo, there, a boy soars to dunk a basket through a hoop. Bridges' satire of African-American stereotypes is as rich and layered as the gorgeous print itself.

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