boston.com News your connection to The Boston Globe
Welcome to the Globe Magazine's third annual "Best of the New" issue, where you'll find 94 people, places, and things that in the last 12 months have changed Greater Boston for the better.
WINNERS:
  -- Mint Julep,                Cambridge

(Photo by Erik Jacobs)

Chin Up
Shaving your face every day can be complicated. The ART OF SHAVING's recommended four-step process includes preparation, lathering, shaving, and moisturizing - all using the grooming and skin-care company's panoply of products. Not only does the Copley Square outpost sell loads of accouterments - from badger brushes and soap bowls to well-appointed shaving sets - but the staff will also give lessons on their proper use. After all, they argue, the average man shaves more than 20,000 times during his lifetime. He should make the most of it.
The Art of Shaving, Copley Place, Boston, 617-236-0332, theartofshaving.com

Gone to Pots
Patti Kraft has collected richly colored, brilliantly glazed Deruta pottery since she took a trip to the Umbria region as a high school student in the early 1980s. So, when she got wind that BELLEZZA - the tiny Newbury Street store chockablock with the traditional Italian majolica - was going to close, she felt compelled to take action. Kraft bought the business and, in September, relocated it to a larger store on Route 9. With more space, she was able to beef up the inventory with antiques, crystal, Italian linens, and canvas floor cloths painted in colorful motifs that match the platters, pitchers, and jars. What else is new? Unlike the old location, the Newton shop has parking. Bellezza, 1021 Boylston Street, Newton, 617-244-5330, bellezzahome.com

BETTER AND BIGGER DEPARTMENT STORES
THOUGH FILENE'S DISAPPEARED, THREE BIGGIES STEPPED UP WITH MAJOR EFFORTS.

Your mother's Bloomie's is no more. The spacious new three-floor BLOOMINGDALE'S store at Chestnut Hill has a spare-no-expense look and feel that's more luxury hotel than dollars-and-cents retailer. On the Art Deco first floor, there are freestanding Jimmy Choo and Chanel boutiques, many makeup stations, and a greatly expanded designer shoe department. The upper floors are equally elegant, mixing new-to-the-store edgy designers like Viktor & Rolf with other eminently wearable high-end collections. Bloomingdale's, The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 617-630-6000, bloomingdales.com

Once an emporium for moneyed ladies of leisure (Fifth Avenue is in the name, after all), SAKS FIFTH AVENUE has gone Hollywood in both its new look in the Boston store and youthful merchandise mix. A 7,000-square-foot expansion is taking place in two phases, and the first-level redesign was completed in October. Leading-man types are scooping up the newly edgy menswear collections. Or dress like a starlet with the girls-just-want-to-have-fun clothing lines, wide selection of "It" bags, and high-wattage cosmetic booths that dominate downstairs. Now relocated to the under-renovation second floor, the shoe department has added Christian Louboutin, Fendi, and Valentino. Saks Fifth Avenue, The Shops at Prudential Center, Boston, 617-262-8500, saks.com


(Suzanne Kreiter / Globe Staff)

Yes, there was already a Chestnut Hill mini-version of the temple of chic. But the full-size Copley Place BARNEYS NEW YORK store is positively designer heaven, showing the dernier cri of haute fashion and accessories in an environment that never takes itself too seriously. The first floor is even better than the MFA's current "Fashion Show" exhibition, since rack after rack of daring, rarefied lines like Lanvin, Yohji Yamamoto, Ann Demeulemeester, and Rick Owens are actually for sale. If the pricey women's clothing and shoes on the main level are out of your league, head upstairs for a slightly more pocketbook-friendly selection. Also upstairs are men's lines, including Jil Sander, Battistoni, and Dries Van Noten. Barneys New York, Copley Place, Boston, 617-385-3300, barneys.com

Home-Style Home Run
At the BLUE PEACOCK in South Hamilton, classics-with-a-twist home accessories and furniture come from around the world, and the collection's always evolving. Right now there are acacia-wood serving trays, tartan throws in contemporary colors, club chairs and ottomans, and a collection of stunning coffee-table books. Owner Susanne Csongor's interior design firm operates out of offices downstairs from the boutique, and if you want to be inspired to decorating greatness, ask to look at photos of her recent projects. If your North Shore friends' homes are looking extra spiffy these days, it may well be that you've discovered their secret. The Blue Peacock, 264 Bay Road, South Hamilton, 978-468-1228, bluepeacock.com

Inside Job
BODEGA is as hard to find as a Prohibition speakeasy. No, you don't need a secret password, but the store-within-a-store is hiding in plain sight. Like the name says, this Symphony Hall-neighborhood storefront looks like your typical corner grocer. But the real draw is behind a hidden door inside, where you'll find a cache of pricey street chic: vintage sneakers, art books, and some mighty cool T's. If you think Dr. Romanelli makes house calls rather than clothing with street cred, don't bother. And don't bother trying to call the store: It doesn't have a phone, and the owners have no plans to get one. Bodega, 6 Clearway Street, Boston, bdgastore.com

Out of the Ordinary
Even on packed Newbury Street, CERI adds a fresh point of view. The boutique's offbeat women's lines include Rezrekshn by Esther Chen, Rina Zin, and Blanque, with the LA scene represented by Sky, Rachel Pally, Great China Wall, and Issa. The luxe accessories - especially sumptuous bags by Carlos Falchi and ornamented belts from Suzi Roher and B.B. Simon - will make any outfit special. Though this is the third Ceri store, it's the first in Boston. Ceri, 31 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-266-0031, ceriboutique.com

The Basement, Elevated
The new Back Bay branch of FILENE'S BASEMENT could be renamed Filene's Penthouse, with its white-gloved doormen, dressed-up mannequins, and 24 - count 'em - fitting rooms. There are floor-to-ceiling windows, too, so you can see what you're buying in natural light. But let's face it: No one goes to Filene's for atmosphere. Happily, the store, which has entrances on both Boylston and Newbury streets, delivers knock-your-socks-off designer bargains, like the mother ship downtown. Its organized layout and extensive signage also make for less strenuous shop-till-you-drop excursions. That's good; you'll need the energy in the dressing room. Filene's Basement, 497 Boylston Street, Boston, 617-424-5520, filenesbasement.com


(Essdras M Suarez / Globe Staff)

FINALLY, NEAR YOU
TOP LOCAL WOMEN'S SHOPS WITH NEW SECOND AND THIRD LOCATIONS

True to its name, MINT JULEP in Harvard Square is both cool and refreshing, featuring girly fashions with a pleasant kick. Catering to young women with active social lives, it carries a mix of designers fancier and more cosmopolitan than in Mint Julep's Brookline location, with less denim and more funky work-then-play styles. Look for pretty dresses, feminine knits, and romantic blouses from Cynthia Steffe, Tibi, Velvet, Milly, and Orla Kiely. Accessories are charming and mostly home-grown, like the affordable jewelry line Designs by Hillary and Pistachio's one-of-a-kind metallic appliqued purses. Just know when you leave that you may need a refill soon. Mint Julep, 6 Church Street, Cambridge, 617-576-6468, shopmintjulep.com

STIL owner Betty Riaz, who has a real eye for edgy fashions, opened her first boutique on Newbury Street in 2004 with several surprising, exclusive women's lines from up-and-coming Copenhagen designers. Last year, she added a second store in Chestnut Hill, catering to the sophisticated and adventurous Newton crowd with even more first-in-Boston - and some first-in-the-States - European designers. There's Noir, Balenciaga-like Britt Sisseck, and cool Camilla Staerk and Sretsis. More exclusives? Trendy Ventilo jewels and perfumes from Eccentric Molecules. Oh, and Stil's charming staff serve cappuccino while you shop, though the modern, wearable clothing does as much to wake you up. Stil, The Mall at Chestnut Hill, 617-527-7845, stilinc.com

It was only a matter of time before the owners of the upscale Cambridge and Newton TESS & CARLOS boutiques added a Boston outpost. For women overwhelmed by larger deluxe retailers like Louis Boston and Barneys, the store stocks carefully edited selections - with a concentration on versatility and timelessness - from lines like Etro, Piazza Sempione, and Franco Ziche. Area exclusives include Nicole Farhi's dreamy separates, and cashmere from Le Marais. Though smaller than the other stores, the Back Bay shop doesn't lack for choice pickings, including posh accessories and shoes. Tess & Carlos, 141A Newbury Street, Boston, 617-262-8377, tessandcarlos.com


(Photo by Pam Berry)

There Goes the Neighborhood
Southie is an enclave known for many things, but shopping isn't one of them. Or at least it wasn't before the arrival of HABIT. Owners Leila Moore and Pam Santorelli, who both have impressive credentials as personal stylists, stock well-priced men's and women's fashions by up-and-coming designers you won't find anywhere else in the Boston area. They also have pretty, interesting jewelry and a sophisticated selection of vases and other home accessories. Habit, 703 East Broadway, South Boston, 617-269-1998, habitshop.com

Cheap and Chic
For the fund-impaired who have only longed for a Back Bay shopping experience, H&M's Newbury Street location - with one of the international chain store's most extensive accessories departments - offers a lot of flash for very little cash. A sexy dress for $19.90? A cute bag for less than a movie ticket? And then there are the one-off guest collections from the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Stella McCartney, and Viktor & Rolf at a fraction of those designers' typical retail prices. The men's stuff is particularly sleek, modern, and versatile - good for work, dates, or clubbing. H&M, 100 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-859-3192, hm.com

Take a Seat
Inviting, comfortable HUDSON is a home store you'll want to hang out in. Friendly staff give customers anything but a hard sell, so feel free to try out a clever Jonathan Adler chair or sink into a comfy Shabby Chic couch. The South End shop's strongest quality is its mix, putting vintage and vintage-feel items alongside modern quilts by Denyse Schmidt, Art Deco-style candlesticks, and up-to-date pillows fashioned by interior designer Jill Goldberg - also the shop's owner, and the person responsible for making it so comfy. Hudson, 312 Shawmut Avenue, Boston, 617-292-0900, hudsonboston.com

Stiletto Heaven
A favorite of red-carpet strutters and leggy ladies everywhere else, JIMMY CHOO shoes make women look and feel like a million bucks. Sure, you can find the sexy footwear at other local upscale retailers, but not the same styles that are in the Copley Place company store, many of which are exclusives. Examples include lavender suede and feather dress sandals, jolly green snakeskin mules, and '40s glamour-puss ankle-strap platforms. Wallets and bags are as alluring as the footwear. The only downside: Prices are as high as the heels. Jimmy Choo, Copley Place, Boston, 617-927-9570, jimmychoo.com

Bean There
When you're buying snowshoes, you want to know that they attach comfortably to your boots. If it's long underwear or a shirt, it's nice to feel the fabric on your skin. And if you've been shopping in L.L. BEAN catalogs for years, the retail store, now in Burlington, brings the outdoor clothing and gear to life. The store isn't open 24 hours a day like the one in Freeport, Maine, so you'll have to test out those snowshoes between the hours of 10 a.m. and 9 p.m. (11 to 6 on Sundays). But it may be worth making the time. L.L. Bean, 6 Wayside Road, Burlington, 781-505-1460, llbean.com


(Dina Rudick / Globe Staff)

Yogi Wear
LULULEMON ATHLETICA, the Vancouver-based yoga and athletic apparel company, makes clothing that's practically addictive. The gear for guys is an ideal combination of cool and comfortable - no small feat - and women's tops are closefitting but not tight (just sexy enough), and pants look as good as they feel. The company's expanding its offerings in organic fabrics; check them out at the Hingham store, or, during limited opening hours, the Boston showroom. Lululemon Athletica, 94 Derby Street, Hingham, 781-749-1169, and 376 Boylston Street, Suite 304, Boston, 617-266-0448, lululemon.com

A Step Ahead
Formerly housed in a strip mall, MAXIME salon has given itself a massive makeover in the form of a sparkling new space filled with streamlined-but-homey appointments, like custom sofas and Italian tile flooring. But the real beauty is what takes place in front of the mirrors - meticulous hair coloring (everything from rich browns to honeyed highlights) at the deft hands of owner Ronit Enos and her team, plus precise cuts and treatments that leave locks velvet-smooth. Maxime, 1 Derby Street, Hingham, 781-749-2239, maximesalon.com

Range on the Home
MOTLEY HOME in the South End is the place to shop when you know your home - or a friend's - needs something, but you have absolutely no idea what that something might be. You'll find inspiration when you see the bright, cheerful goods ranging from delicate, hand-etched wineglasses to kitschy, fun shower curtains to arty-hip stencils. Motley Home, 652 Tremont Street, Boston, 617-266-5566, motleyhome.com/P>

Twin Peaks
The boutique NICOLE MARIE in Concord has two rooms and two very different missions. One feels like a slice of LA, with its high-end denim for women, of-the-moment designer lines, and nice selection of lingerie. The other carries Italian imports, including wines, linens, and ceramics. Enter on the clothing side, and the knowledgeable staff will offer you a soft drink to enjoy while you browse. And after you've picked out - or even just admired - a pair of jeans in your size, head next door, where the salespeople will pour you a glass of something stronger while you think about buying. Nicole Marie, 32 Main Street, Concord, 978-287-1469, nicolemariefashion.com


(Dina Rudick / Globe Staff)

Living With Art
OYLAN in Huron Village mixes mid-century-modern furniture with contemporary local art, putting pieces into context and making customers ponder: Which comes first, the art or the furnishings? Most of the vintage furniture is art, anyway, whether it's by McCobb, Nelson, Miller, or Aalto. Owner Karen Woo's revolving exhibits of contemporary art give it nice context - and shoppers another excuse to return. Oylan, 364A Huron Avenue, Cambridge, 617-868-8887

Designed to Resell
Meredith Byam Miller stocks her designer and vintage consignment shop, POOR LITTLE RICH GIRL, with plenty of choices, whether you want to go glam or a bit funky. She opened the store in Davis Square in 2002, but in November moved to a new space in the neighborhood that's seven times bigger. Recently on the racks was a size 10 Marc Jacobs black-velvet skirt marked $98, though it also still carried its original Barneys New York tag ($368). The stock is mostly women's clothing with a sprinkling of men's; there are also deals to be found on jewelry, gifts, and housewares. The only problem is the overhead fluorescents: Friends don't let friends shop under bad lighting. Poor Little Rich Girl, 255 Elm Street, Somerville, 617-684-0157, poorlittlerichgirlstore.com

The British Are Here
The London-based clothing boutique REISS is a welcome addition to Newbury Street, with its spot-on trendy fashions for men and women interpreted in unique and sophisticated ways. The contemporary collections of clothing and accessories are in versatile (day, night, work, weekend) styles with an ahead-of-the-curve European flavor that's fresh but not costumey. The spacious two-level store is easy to navigate, with loads of displays. Reiss keeps its prices in the department-store reasonable range, and quality is a strong suit. So are the salespeople, who tend to be friendly and helpful. Reiss, 132 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-262-5800, reiss.co.uk

Cleaning Up
Israel-based SABON - its name is the Hebrew word for soap - is one of many companies that sell pretty, scented, all-natural bath and body products. But it's the Back Bay store's try-before-you-buy approach that really appeals; the freestanding granite sink in the middle of the store is large enough to accommodate four people sampling its skin-softening scrubs and soaps at a time. Though you'll be tempted to load up on the well-priced (especially for Newbury Street) products, there's absolutely no pressure to buy. That's truly keeping it clean. Sabon, 129 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-236-1931, sabonnewbury.com

Risky Business
SECOND GALLERY is an impractical, noncommercial, seat-of-the-pants affair - just the kind of gallery that art lovers treasure. Rebecca Gordon, the 23-year-old director, says she had access to the split-level space in South Boston's Distillery building, a longtime haven for artists, because her dad, Fred Gordon, owns it. Since she took over, the younger Gordon has mounted smart, daring exhibitions in which some pieces flop but many soar. She focuses on installation, sculpture, and new media art, often by artists in their 20s, and she's had rousing and provocative successes, such as last fall's "Winter Garden," Saya Woolfalk's cunning examination of colonialism through the eyes of a preschooler. Second Gallery, 516 East 2d Street, South Boston, 617-413-9395, secondgallery.org


(Photograph from White Barn)

Still Life
The White Barn Inn on the Maine coast knows how to do things right. Flawless service? They nail it. Special restaurant? Yup. Divine spa? Until last summer, that was the only thing missing. But then the SPA AT THE WHITE BARN INN opened, offering facials (including one customized for men), massage (try the one using heated Kennebunk River stones), and a variety of body wraps and bath treatments. Each treatment room has its own bathroom - the ultimate in privacy - and some have a fireplace. It's hard to believe it wasn't there before. White Barn Inn & Spa, 37 Beach Avenue, Kennebunk, Maine, 207-967-2321, whitebarninn.com

A Cut Above
At STATE STREET BARBERS, a manly place albeit one where guys can get expert (shhh) beauty services, even the haircuts include a massage. The South End shop is all wood paneling, leather barber chairs, and '20s memorabilia. The shave includes steaming with a hot towel, a pre-shave oil treatment, and hot lather. The barber shop has also recently started doing facials. State Street Barbers, 1313 Washington Street, Boston, 617-753-9990, statestreetbarbers.com

For Your Other Pet
Storey Hieronymus Hauck, owner of the tremendously popular South End women's boutique Turtle, has opened a store around the corner for kids. Called TADPOLE - what else? - the shop is a delight for parents and doting relatives alike, featuring everything from designer diaper bags and changing pads to stuffed animals, children's books, and bath toys. Itsy-bitsy clothing lines include Lulu and Zutano, with Oeuf furniture for the nursery. Tadpole fills a niche in a neighborhood that is big on pet accessories but low on kids' stuff. Tadpole, 37 Clarendon Street, Boston, 617-778-1788, shoptadpole.com

Window Dressing
The always sexy, never vulgar fashions from designer-to-the-stars VALENTINO should be enough to recommend its new Back Bay boutique. The store stocks what Valentino does best for women - impeccable daywear that fits like a second skin, accessories with just the right amount of glitz, and entrance-making party dresses. And there's color galore, from Valentino red to check-me-out yellow. Just one look at the glamorous wrap-around-the-block windows will have you heading inside. Valentino, 47 Newbury Street, Boston, 617-578-0300, valentino.com


(Photo by Pam Berry)

Shoe In
It's easy to find the perfect strappy sandals if you have downtown Boston at your disposal. But in the suburbs? Score one for the North Shore, where Lisa Cancelli has opened VIOLA, a darling footwear and accessories boutique with a selection of shoes from Sigerson Morrison, Kate Spade, Cynthia Rowley, and the so-hot-right-now Loeffler Randall. There are also hats, scarves, and belts in the pretty, airy, comfortable atmosphere. Viola, 15 Walnut Road, South Hamilton,
978-468-1775, mviolashoe.co

Go West
At WEST ELM, located on the stretch of Brookline Avenue between Fenway Park and Longwood, the furniture, textiles, and home accessories have a more sophisticated look than IKEA's but carry still-affordable prices. Fabrics and styles change every three months, and everything that's for sale - even the furniture - is stocked in the store, a rarity. West Elm, 160 Brookline Avenue, Boston, 617-450-9500, westelm.com

Sponsored Links