“Everything that a celebrity wears, we’ll have,” says Nora Shehi (above), manager of NIRVANA in Red Bank. Case in point: Shehi bought one of her store’s T-Bags dresses—and a week later spotted it on actress Jenny McCarthy. Nirvana has the patent leather bracelets you’ve seen on Nicole Richie and the Rich & Skinny jeans that Paris Hilton wears. Bruce Springsteen shops here (he’ll come in and drop $6,000, says Shehi), and so do Jon Bon Jovi and his wife, Dorothea. Nirvana carries clothes and accessories for both men and women (don’t miss the sunglasses and handbags) but is known for its denim. Find all the hot brands—True Religion, Citizens of Humanity, Chip & Pepper, and more. You’ll also find LAMB by Gwen Stefani, Juicy, Miss Sixty, plus Mara Hoffman dresses, Diesel shoes, and Hanky Panky underwear. Hot this season are bubble tops, white patent leather, and flowy dresses, says Shehi. Nirvana, 21 White St, Red Bank (732-530-3334). Additional locations in Westfield and Long Branch.
xFashion Institute of Technology grad Maria DeCeglie-Borella (shown with daughter Olivia) was a shopgirl with a dream when she discovered her niche: “My pregnant girls had nowhere to shop,” she says. In 2002, she opened BELLIE & KATRINA in Hoboken, which sells maternity wear and kids’ clothing for the über-hip mom-to-be and her equally hip offspring. Her timing was perfect. “All of a sudden, Hollywood got pregnant,” says DeCeglie-Borella, and clothes for mom and baby became more fashionable and more readily available. For example, maternity jeans at Bellie & Katrina are by Citizens for Humanity. Other brands include Chiarakruza, Maternal American, and Oliam. For kids, you can buy the Kingsley onesies favored by Angelina Jolie or the Bobo Brooklyn line of vintage-print T-shirts depicting Batman, Superman, or Charlie Brown. Also find Room 7, Egg, Malina, Splendid Littles, Zutano, and Small Paul (Paul Frank’s line). Spring must-haves for mom are tunics and a great diaper bag; for kids, anything camouflage (now in pinks and purples). Bellie & Katrina, 159 Fourth St, Hoboken (201-239-0062). Additional location in Red Bank.
Even the candy offered at VERO UOMO is from Italy—chocolate or coffee treats by Perugina. How about an espresso? The beans came from Bernalda in southern Italy, twenty miles from where store owner Mario Roselli was born. Vero Uomo (which means “true man”) offers its customers the best that Italy has to offer, says Roselli. Of course, there’s the Armani collection, plus Brioni, Canali, Pal Zileri, Zanella—and leathers and shearlings by Gimos. Yes, there are suits and dresswear, but the store also carries sportswear, jeans, and swimwear. The real story here, says Roselli, is the store’s attention to fit. With its in-house tailors, the store promises that the $2,000 suit you just purchased will fit as if it were custom-made. Roselli’s customers are refined, reserved—professionals who live in what he calls the Beverly Hills of New Jersey. “They are loyal to us and we are loyal to them.” For spring, linen will be popular, plus combinations of black and white. Vero Uomo, 26 East Palisade Ave, Englewood (201-894-1424).
Antoinette Wisniewski (below) had a five-year plan to open a boutique in an up-and-coming area, and at age 30 she’s done it. ANTOINETTE GABRIELLE sells classic, sophisticated, feminine clothes in an artsy, unpretentious Collingswood space. Her shoppers, generally 30 and older, want clothes for real women—those who maybe aren’t a size two or who want toned-down interpretations of runway trends. The store is like a hair salon, says Wisniewski, with customers who come in to hang out as well as shop. Everything is hand selected, “stuff I fell in love with and had to have for the store.” Wisniewski is also conscious of fit—no too-tiny tops or low-slung, thong-revealing pants. Nanette Lepore, Cynthia Steffe, Eileen Fisher, and Kay Unger are among the lines on hand. Must-haves for spring include wide-legged pants, says Wisniewski, plus a cotton shirtdress and espadrilles. Antoinette Gabrielle, 802 Haddon Ave, Collingswood (856-833-0606).
Photos: laura moss.
Some women who shop at TEHEN in Cherry Hill are reluctant to share their secret. “I shop in New York,” they tell their friends. It’s easy to understand why: This place pampers its clients with an in-house tailor and a shoe salon. Buy the dress, get it fitted, find shoes and accessories to match. Customers have been known to stop in before an event, get dressed, and head to the party. You’ll find designs by Elie Tahari, Diane von Furstenberg, Milly, Tibi, Tracy Reese, Trina Turk, Versace, and Just Cavalli. Even better, you won’t find merely one or two pieces from each collection—you’ll find the whole collection. Right now there are fifteen different DVF dresses on the floor, says buyer Ana Santos (above): “It’s like shopping the fifth floor at Bergdorf’s.” The shoe salon carries Casadei, Isabella Fiore, and Christian Lacroix. This spring’s must-haves, says Santos, are a dress and a pair of ballerina flats. Tehen, 2076 Rt 70 East, Cherry Hill (856-424-4347).
xWhen Phillip Lim launched his line of women’s clothing two years ago, ZOË carried it. Today the fashion media just adore Lim, and his styles are on everyone’s must-have list. Lisa Brock (below) has a keen ability to spot the next big thing, and Zoë customers have noticed. Brock’s store, which opened at 500 square feet twelve years ago, now boasts 5,500 square feet, a second location in Brooklyn, and numerous accolades in Lucky, Elle, and Vogue. “It’s become iconic,” says Brock. At the store you’ll find Diane von Furstenberg, Catherine Malandrino, Tibi, Anna Sui, Tory Burch, and, of course, Phillip Lim—plus some designers you’ve never heard of but soon will. The store also sells accessories, menswear, and shoes. Shoppers here buy everything from jeans to an exclusive gowns for black-tie events. What’s hot for spring? According to Brock, it’s anything by Lim and anything with lots of volume. Zoë, 11 Hulfish St, Princeton (609-497-0704; shopzoeonline.com).Click here to leave a comment