MoMo FaLana

This place is closed permanently.

MoMo FaLana


Neighborhood: SoHo
Type of Place: Women's Clothing


Cross the threshold of MoMo FaLana and, well, you're not in the East Village anymore. You won't even feel like you're in this city, or in any city. So where are you? Someplace where lush colors swirl into one another; where everything seems to flow and many things seem to be floating. And despite that description, no drugs are required to reach the destination.

MoMo Falana is owned and run by business-and-life partners Michael Lublin and Maureen Roberts, together the "MoMo" of the shop's name. They started out hand-dying vintage clothes and have evolved into designing their own lines--hand-dyed, hand-painted, and hand-sewn. They use patterns, but given the work done on each garment, no two pieces are identical. The materials they call upon are generally silks and tulles--thus the floating effect I mentioned--and their designs are free of stiffness, letting the garments take the shapes they seem meant for. When I visit, red, pink, orange, and pale blue seem to be the prevailing hues--but of course, this being an open-minded shop, diversity is encouraged. You'd be hard pressed to find a garment here that has less than three colors.

The gowns displayed up front (starting at $400) are simply wondrous, but you needn't be gown shopping to visit; I love the halter blouses (starting at $175) and the beaded purses (prices vary); and the sale racks yield treasures too (a rose, purple, and pink slipdress, $75; linen slacks in blue with pink, yellow, and orange, $125; a sequinned tube top in yellow with lilac and green, $95). Michael is helping a stylist from "Essence" gather clothes for a shoot. Unique as it is, this place is a favorite of stylists and celebrities; among others, Uma Thurman is a fan--and though I haven't seen her there, I can imagine her looking like the world's most beautiful wood nymph in these clothes. When Michael's free, he gamely answers questions about not only the shop but his life. How long have he and Maureen been together? (Together 14 years, married 5; marriage ceremony performed by a Shaman in Peru.) Was this their first joint project? (No; both musicians, they were in a band together called the Bowery Angels.) Is it hard to run a business with your romantic partner? (No. "I feel really lucky to get to spend this time with her," he says. "I trust her judgement, and, well, Maureen is my favorite person. Although we're both Leos, so we need to keep that in mind sometimes.")   Speaking of which, when you drop in, you have to look at the photo album of brides wearing MoMo Falana dresses. They'll change your ideas of what a wedding gown can be.

After a phone call in which I discover that while I happily grabbed what I thought was a free moment before meeting my own honey and his friends at a band gig, he'd expected me to show up at the exact show time (Virgos! What band ever starts promptly, anyway?), I head back into the real world. But I feel a bit calmier than before, a bit flowier, maybe even a bit floatier; and I know this shop is the reason why.

  - Pamela Grossman; March 26, 2006

MoMo FaLana
237 Centre St
New York, NY 10013