Byline: GABRIELLE POLT / ALEXANDRA BELLAK
NEW YORK — At last, American women are able to adorn their hair with beautiful accessories that were once only available to European woman, thanks to a new store on Madison Avenue. Alexandre de Paris, the haute couturier of hair accessories, has opened a boutique at 971 Madison Ave., sharing the block with some of the toniest stores in the world.
This 25-year-old hair accessories company, with locations worldwide, has opened its first New York boutique, named after the renowned French coiffeur, Alexandre, who designed luxury hair accessories for Paris couture shows and trimmed the locks of the rich and famous — everyone from Brigitte Bardot and Sofia Loren to Lauren Bacall and Elizabeth Taylor. His drive for perfection and fine craftsmanship is still emulated at the House of Alexandre de Paris.
Specializing in top-quality, glamorous hair accessories, Alexandre de Paris’s collection includes fake tortoiseshell barrettes embedded with Swarovski crystals, delicate headbands made of velvet, silk, organza and linen and sophisticated bows and snoods. The store also sells hairbrushes, combs, mirrors and atomizers to complement the hair accessories.
“Our customers know fashion,” says Albert Behmoiran, owner of Alexandre de Paris. “She wears a Valentino dress, HermAs bag and Chanel shoes and wants a luxurious hair accessory to add to her total look.”
In 1989, Alexandre de Paris collaborated with Francois Lesage, a superior embroiderer who has worked with Yves Saint Laurent and Christian Lacroix, on developing a line of hair accessories known as the Lesage collection, which the new store carries along with its Couture Collection and a lower-priced line. Comprising satin, silk and chiffon hair bands and barrettes made with beads, lace and pearls, each piece in the Lesage collection is a chef-d’oeuvre. Some of these one-of-a-kind pieces cost from $594 for a headband with crystals to $1,267 for a bow with crystals. Prices for the Couture Collection of handmade hairnets, snoods and headbands range from $45 to $288, and the less expensive line of plastic and fabric headbands, bows and barrettes ranges from $7 to $90.
The store is attracting neighborhood residents, tourists from nearby museums, and long-time admirers of the Alexandre de Paris accessories. Says store manager Jovy Couldrey: “Our biggest seller has been the headbands in a variety of fabrics and styles because customers report that the headbands don’t give them a headache.”
IN THE MIX
NEW YORK — Robert Moy loves both the quiet of the woods and the chaos of the city. With a studio in Connecticut and an apartment in New York City, the jewelry designer is able to draw inspiration from both natural and urban surroundings.
It is this combination that makes Moy’s work interesting: A bracelet laid out as a ladder of sterling poles connected in two places by chains unites the industrial heaviness of machinery with the delicate irregularities of nature. Sometimes he even makes use of natural materials such as pearls and semiprecious stones.
The result is sculptural, simple and smooth silver earrings, bracelets, rings and necklaces with a distinctly modern, graphic feel. “My jewelry is solid or nothing,” Moy says.
Before focusing on jewelry design, Moy studied advertising at Boston University and later worked with furniture designer Jeff Brown. The sense of proportion and scale Moy developed through working with Brown is evident today in his jewelry. Moy’s pieces, which sell well at Untitled, wholesale from $25 for earrings to $300 for necklaces. In the future, the designer plans to experiment with enamel and he hopes to develop a men’s line.
For more information, call (203) 443-7114.
A TUSCAN TREAT
NEW YORK — It used to be that New Yorkers had a hard time finding good, inexpensive Tuscan food in the Union Square area.
That was until recently, when Borgo Antico opened at 22 East 13th St. The new restaurant serves Tuscan specialties in a warm, spacious setting decorated in the style of a Tuscan farmhouse. Borgo Antico, Italian for “old little quarter,” is the creation of two Italian natives, Mikele Maritato and Giovanni Iovine, who have experience in Manhattan’s restaurant business. Maritato is a former waiter at “21” and part owner of Girasole, and Iovine is a former waiter at Girasole.
“We are looking to provide both residents and those who work in the neighborhood with a warm, comfortable place for excellent food, wine and service at a reasonable price,” Maritato said.
The restaurant, which takes up two floors, is decorated with antiques that Maritato and Iovine found in flea markets in Toscana. Even the terra-cotta staircase and colorful ceramic floor tiles were transported from the hills of Tuscany. Ceilings with mahogany beams, brick walls and alabaster light fixtures complete the picture. The menu offers traditional dishes from the Emiglia-Romagna region, including bistecca alla fiorentina (Florentine steak) and pappardella con ragu di cacciagione (pasta with game sauce), a favorite with the customers. More innovative dishes range from venison carpaccio to fennel-crusted tuna with olive pesto. The food is prepared by chef Ken Cahill — formerly of the Canal Bar and Rakel’s. Prices range from $6.50 to $9 for appetizers, $11 to $13 for pastas and $14 to $24 for entrees.
In addition, Borgo Antico has added weekly poetry nights to its offerings. Readings by world-renowned, prize-winning poets like Elise Paschen, Phyllis Levin and David Ignatow make for a culturally charged evening.