Neighborhood: West Village
Type of Place: Housewares Gift Shops
I'd been wanting to visit and write about a Jonathan Adler housewares shop for some time. I love his "manifesto," printed in the window of his shops and including such declarations as, "We believe that your home should make you happy" (Yeah!); "We believe that celebrities should pay full price" (Amen!); "We believe our designs are award-winning even though they've never actually won any" (That's the spirit!); and "We believe that when it comes to decorating, the wife is always right. Unless the husband is gay." (Truly, who can argue there?) I also love his story: Devoted young potter makes it big, selling his pottery to Barneys in 1994 and from there branching into a successful line of housewares, with stores nationwide. Not least of all, I love his work: fun, brightly colored, and well-made items that really do seem happiness-inducing. In addition to all that, I love that Adler does much of his production through Aid to Artisans, a non-for-profit that connects with artisans in developing countries to create goods for the U.S. market at fair wages.- Pamela Grossman, Jan 26,2010
What's to love here? Lots, including: Salt and pepper shakers ($48) in the shape of spouting whales, spiffy penguins, and demure cats; the Ocura dishware line, featuring orange, yellow, blue, green, or black stripes partnered with white, and currently 25% off (the orange-and-white-striped oversized mug with matching saucer, 25% off $18, will bring a smile to your face on the grayest of mornings); the Ojai dinnerware pitcher in white with a green or yellow lid (steal alert: currently 60% off $68); and pillows hand-woven in Peru, which can be purchased as-is or customized to fit your color and pattern needs (starting at $98).
The books here are well worth a look as well. I loved "Cats, Cats, Cats" and "Shoes, Shoes, Shoes" ($13.99), which combine prints of Andy Warhol paintings of these title items with quotes from the iconic artist ("As I always say," reads one, "one's company, two's a crowd, three's a party"). And then, of course, there are books by Barney's creative director Simon Doonan ($15), whom Adler married in San Francisco in 2008—including "Eccentric Glamour: Creating an Insanely More Fabulous You."
I suppose those who dislike color or fun should avoid this place and Adler's whole line; but everyone else would be advised to check it out. Artsy potter makes good and ends up with a thriving business: Once in a while, the good guys do win.