Downtown Mash-Up: An Eclectic East Village Boutique
I haven’t missed Nashville much since arriving in Brooklyn in early January. Perhaps that’s because there are so many things that remind me of home.
My friend, the singer-songwriter Allison Moorer, is the loveliest and most stylish of these prompts. Though she’s a native of Alabama and has spent much of her adult life in Nashville, she’s lived in Manhattan for the past few years. Whenever she gets homesick, Allison self-soothes by working on a DIY sewing project by her fellow Alabaman Natalie Chanin, often in the company of a tight-knit sewing circle.
Last week, I was honored to join the group, which met at the East Village home of Lisa Fox. Our host’s birthday was a few days away, and in honor of the occasion, we each hand-stitched a word that described her into the smooth white weave of an antique cotton tablecloth. Allison chose grace; mine was warmth, as that’s what Lisa, Allison, and their group shared with me that afternoon.
We did more than stitch, of course; sewing circles are known for conversation, and this one didn’t buck convention. At one point, talk turned to LF8 (read as “Elevate”), Lisa’s store, located down the block. I was already entranced by her home, which is equal parts multicultural-artisan mash-up and refined French country elegance; I could only imagine what her store looked like.
I wasn’t disappointed. Elevate is my favorite kind of retail concept: packed with layer upon layer of one-of-a-kind finds collected in far-flung locations, the stock regularly changes its theme based on the owner’s interests and travels. Right now, everything is indigo.
Some things you can wear—vintage Levi’s, antique hand-sewn caftans, hand-dyed cashmere wraps—but there are also pillows and fabrics from Alabama Chanin, as well as well-loved rugs, quilts, wall-hangings, and hats expressing the indigo-dye methods used in Africa, Asia, and beyond. You can also bring in a favorite piece and leave it to be indigo-dyed by Plank studios in East Hampton.
The back wall is dominated by an intriguing indigo lithograph printed on kozo paper by Valerie Hammond, while Lisa’s signature bags, made from fabrics culled from her extensive textile collection, hang on another. Blue conversation pieces such as antique rolling papers, a pair of beaded children’s shoes, and a Victorian-era French conductor’s notebook, with a hand-marbled cover, add variety.
Education and giving back is an important part of Elevate. The store hosts workshops, lectures, and other educational events. (The programming for May is especially cool; stay tuned.) Lisa has also found ways to collaborate with LES nonprofits. She’s currently selling cool T-shirts and cards made by the kids at The Neighborhood School, a few blocks away; all proceeds benefit the school’s art program.
Elevate, 80 East Seventh Street, New York.
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