Neighborhood: West Village
Type of Place: Women's Clothing Designers

I was drawn into lovely, dreamy Geminola by some candy-colored and especially pretty dresses hanging outside. New? Vintage? Both: Designer/owner Lorraine Kirke reworks pre-1950s garments, mining them for fabulous fabric and trim, to create unabashedly girly items with modern charm.

But first off: What's a Geminola? Turns out it's a bit of a hybrid. Gemima, Domino, and Lola are Kirke's three daughters; their names smooshed together lend the shop its name. And speaking of three names, I noticed among the shop's press clips that actress Mary Louise Parker is a fan. However, you shouldn't shop here because she's famous. You should take a look because, in thinking highly of this shop, she's right.

It's "special occasion" clothing and, as such, not matched with bargain-basement prices; but keep in mind that everything here is one of a kind and handmade. Among the treasures: a rose silk slipdress with matching lace ($265); a copper cocktail dress with brocade overlay ($425); the foxy red "Lola dress" with pink spaghetti straps and bead embellishment ($425); and a dark cornflower-blue sleeveless minidress with a brown-and-blue-dotted bowtie ($525). The clothes for little girls could make even the most practical-minded wonder whether it really matters that Chloe or Addison will outgrow the item in question in a few months; these creations drew squeals from various shoppers. (One of my favorites in this category: a multi-tiered lace dress with rose embroidery, $295. Can they make dresses like this in grown-up-girl sizes? Please?) There was also a lilac minidress embellished with daisies, price unmarked, that was unsurpassed in sweetness.

The shop is lovely, the clothes even more so; but there's an unexpected benefit of ducking in. By the end of my visit, my mind was filled with thoughts of my vintage pieces at home. Which could be altered, reworked, or simply mined for parts? Would a bow from one work best on the hem of another? What might a so-so dress in a great fabric become in its next life? See what's on offer here; and then see the paths along which this merchandise could lead.

  - Pamela Grossman; June 1, 2008

41 Perry St
New York, NY 10014
(212) 675 1994

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