There’s something pervasive, shiny and new out east this summer: It’s called — yay — optimism.
"It’s a seismic shift," says Morley Quatroche, Jr., a real estate broker and property manager, whose Southampton-based company, Morley Property Management, has been around for more than 30 years. "It was a ghost town last fall and winter. And now, it’s an unprecedented year for leasing in the Hamptons," he says. "I think retailers are going to kill it. It’s going to be a boom of a summer."
Those upbeat feelings hold true for Karen Murray, owner of Fivestory, an uber-chic women’s store located on Madison Avenue, who opened an outpost in Southampton mid-April this year, after a very difficult season in the city. "I realized my customer is out here." And, she adds, referring to new freedoms and relaxed protocol, "I am more optimistic than I have been in a year."
Likewise, for Max Bonbrest who moved her beloved brand of seasonless essentials, AYR, from Sag Harbor to Main Street in East Hampton this season for a more mainstream presence. "I think we’re emerging from a really dark time and there’s a real appetite for coming out of your shell and being back in the world."
Enough said. Here are some new and hot places, services and products to check out on the East End this summer.
Roxanne Assoulin bracelet pop-up
Every Saturday and Sunday beginning June 26 through Sept. 5, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., you can create your own custom Roxanne Assoulin jewelry at the designer’s #PlayRA bracelet party pop-up at Amber Waves farm.
Assoulin's signature tiles and beads come in a rainbow spectrum of shades, materials and shapes — enamels, metallics, crystals.
Attendees will settle onto picnic tables laden with imaginable bead divided by color and style. After receiving a cardboard palette topped with sticky strips, folks can work their own design.
A member of the Assoulin team threads it for you at the end. The cost for one bracelet is a bit of a splurge at $150, but you can’t put a price on fun and the experience is engaging. Reservations through Eventbrite are encouraged. Not feeling creative? Premade Assoulin jewelry is available on-site starting at $60. (Amber Waves Farm, 367 Main St., Amagansett, 631-267-5664)
A high style, hip, menswear-only store is a true find out east and Noah Hideout is just that offering skate, surf, music prep-inspired duds and accessories for the coolest dudes.
It's the vision of Brendon Babenzien (a native Long Islander from East Islip who, very recently, was named J.Crew’s men’s creative director) and his wife, Estelle Bailey-Babenzien. "People — even those who love to live in sweatpants — are excited to try new things. We want to experience life and get active in the world again," says Bailey-Babenzien.
To that end, the Amagansett Square store, which was a pop-up last year, became a permanent fixture this season, open through December. Find a full range of wet suits, boards, leashes, sunblock and wax here along with jeans, shirts and shoes. (14 Amagansett Square, Amagansett, noahny.com)
When Suzie Kondi opened her eponymous clothing pop-up last July, she says she thought "this is either going to be the best or worst idea ever."
As it turns out, it was a darn good one, and this year, the shop has become permanent fixture located in a historic, free-standing building that Kondi, an adventurous Australian who has visited Amagansett frequently, says, "Always spoke to me."
Kondi’s signature brand of cool — easy silhouettes such as track suits turned out in luxe materials (even velour) can do double duty and be worn to the gym with sneakers or out at night with high heels. Find goods for men, women and children here along with artful pottery from Glazemoods and even wet suits by Atmosea, an Australian brand.
Recently, Kondi has collaborated with nail guru Jin Soon Choi and her sought-after nail polish brand, JINsoon, to create three nail polish shades that actually match to-a-tee Kondi’s new collection which is inspired by Mexican architect, Luis Barragan. The Jinsoon x Suzie Kondi collection box set is available at the store and suzikondi.com for $42 or can be purchased individually at JINsoon.com for $18 each. (137 Main St., Amagansett, 631-604-6992, suziekondi.com)
Female founded and led women’s wear brand, AYR (pronounced "air" which, stands for all year-round), has moved from its Sag Harbor digs to pop-up in East Hampton through October.
The merchandise, which co-founder Max Bonbrest says is "a spin on better basics that are essential to a wardrobe and seasonless," includes deliciously comfy striped tees ($75) and crisp, but easy button-down shirts ($125). AYR jeans, dubbed "a gift from the denim gods" by Vogue Magazine, are available in many iterations (starting at $195).
The AYR robe coat — an easy duster that can be thrown over yoga clothes or a dress (starting at $545) has been spotted on the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Karlie Kloss and Emma Stone.
Bonbrest hopes her vision of pared-down cool will imbue the tony streets here with a new, more down-to-earth vibe. "East Hampton has become a place for big brands who can afford the big rents, but during the pandemic a lot of young families decided to move their lives out here and my hope is that we’re bringing some diversity to the types of shops here." Over Memorial Day Weekend they’ll be serving fresh snacks and beverages from the local farmer’s market. (32 Park Place, East Hampton, 631-899-4372, AYR.com)
The first-ever pop-up shop for this French children’s clothier (for ages birth to 12-years-old) will remain open through Oct. 28.
What draws a global brand of children’s clothing out to the Hamptons? "Our clients asked us to come," says Julie Bourgeois, CEO, North America. "A lot of our clients have houses in the Hamptons and they wanted us there. One of them even found the space and I drove there and took it," she says.
Here, the adorable factor is off the charts with the cutest swimsuits, tiny sneaks, sporty-but-sweet boy togs and darling girls’ confections, many done up in flowery Liberty prints. And children are as welcome here as their parents — there’s a storybook, toy and craft-filled kids’ corner and plans for engaging special events throughout the summer.
Prices go from $29 for a soft, cottony tee to $119 for a special occasion dress. (37 B Newton Lane, East Hampton, 917-207-3439, jacadi.us)
"I think everything should be special in our lives," says Buenos Aires-born Alex Vinash. You might remember Billy Porter’s wildly imaginative feathered ensemble at the 2020 Golden Globes — Vinash designed it. But you won’t find high-priced looks like that at his newish shop set in the American Beech Hotel.
Here, the vibe is Morocco-meets-Tulum-meets Miami, and Vinash’s creative juices run untethered even designing the monkey-patterned wallpaper. Discover fabulous dresses starting at $69 and his just-released collection of swimwear. There’s summery menswear starting at $79 that includes button down shirts in cheery florals.
"Nothing here is basic," he says of his inventory which includes crazy candles and lamps, "in weird shapes" along with cool glassware, statues, pillows, planters, unusual baby clothes and aromatic scents for the home. There are plenty of delightful host gifts mixed in. "My concept is that when you’re visiting people’s houses here, you want to bring something that’s a little interesting."
Hours vary and can go into the night during which the bar at the hotel is open. "You can shop late, with a glass of rosé," he says, cheerily. Could be dangerous. (300 Main St., Greenport, 631-477-5939, vinashny.com)
Gwyneth Paltrow’s Goop has become a Hamptons’ staple and while not new — this is the fifth year here — there are always interesting finds and of course, the possibility of spotting Paltrow working the cash register.
This season, new brands of baubles include Shay Jewelry, Nancy Newberg and Prasic Fine Jewelry. Goop’s latest beauty products include GOOPGLOW Glow Lotion, GOOPGENES All-in-One Super Nutrient Face Oil and a clean and nourishing lip balm that will keep that summer pucker soft and smooth.
You can get a fashion upgrade here too — new brands in the mix include LemLem, Bird & Knoll and Jade Swim. (4 Bay St., Sag Harbor, 631-808-3930, Goop.com)
When the pandemic hit last year, Fivestory owner Karen Murray, was just opening her new space on Madison Avenue in Manhattan. Suffice it to say, it wasn’t a great time for a luxury retailer. "All I heard all year from my customers was, ‘Where am I going?’ Certainly, no one was buying gowns," she says.
Last July, she took the show on the road for a test drive, and popped up for two weeks at a temporary space in Southampton, where her clever assortment was basically devoured, she says. Cut to this season when, now, she’s taken a yearlong lease. Prices go from $50 for a pair of earrings to $6,000 for a caftan made of vintage scarves by coveted brand Rianna and Nina.
"I carry everything from Manolos to combat boots," she says. Over Memorial Day weekend, she intends to celebrate with Champagne and floral bouquets that she’ll hand out to customers. (38 Jobs Lane, Southampton, 631-259-3599, fivestoryny.com)
Marina St. Barth
The pandemic took a toll on Marina Cocher’s St. Barth boutique and her seasonal pop-up in a Bridgehampton restaurant, both of which closed, but that didn’t stop her from opening up her first permanent boutique in Southampton — a mate to her Palm Beach shop.
A survivor of the catastrophic 2004 Tsunami in Thailand, Cocher, who hails from Paris, is determined, she says on continuing to "do things I’m passionate about and that make me happy." That shows in her new boutique where the upbeat perspective is a hybrid of island glamour (yes, caftans), bohemian chic and beachy casual. Find a beautiful selection of summery dresses in airy gauze, silk and linen. There are drapey, lace-embellished peasant tops and loads of accessories. Prices range from $79 for earrings to $1,500 for a very fancy evening dress but many of the frocks are in the $200 range. Cocktails will be served here during Memorial Day weekend. (46 Jobs Lane, Southampton, 631-268-8921, marina-st.barths.com)
ON THE MOVE
Hometown Flower Co.
You may spot this personality-packed vintage pickup truck, a 1976 Ford-F-100 known as Baby Blue, in unexpected places all over the East End this summer. It’s the highly functional mascot of Jaclyn Rutigliano and husband Marc Iervolino’s Hometown Flower Co., a mobile and digital flower company.
They only work with locally grown plants and flowers from more than a dozen local farmers including the North Fork Flower Farm, Orient and Pierpont Blossom Farm.
Yes, you can call or go on their site to send the freshest of flowers to your hosts or your house (there’s even a flower subscription; prices go from $38-$150). But if you’re looking for something fun to do, get yourself to one of the company’s workshops or events that pop-up over the summer into fall. Learn how to design their signature "flower in a bag" arrangements, create knockout centerpieces and even make flower crowns. You can check their website to see where they’re turning up.
Their first gigs over Memorial Day weekend include a Saturday stint at RG/NY Winery in Riverhead and on Sunday, at Akris, in Southampton. (516-644-9105, Hometownflowerco.com)
The pandemic caused freshcoat, a sparkling nail salon in East Hampton to shutter permanently in September. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still get their vegan and cruelty-free mani and pedis.
Contact the company and have an expert technician come to where you are (it’s $145 for 90 minutes so several people can get services). Or, for real fun starting Memorial Day, book the company’s nail salon-outfitted Mercedes-Benz Unimog, an off-road German military vehicle.
This is more a special events situation (it’s a three-hour minimum and costs $450) and you can have a spa party for kids and/or adults. "With the truck, you can get spa services for quite a few people," says Karoline Menacher, the co-owner of the company, who drives this powerful beast. "People do it in their driveways, by their pools and because it goes off-road you can even do it on a beach." The truck services locations east of Southampton all the way to Montauk. (631-527-5766, freshcoatnails.com)
Solid & Striped
Oh no, you didn’t forget your swimsuit, did you? Or perhaps you’re feeling the need for a beachy cover up? Never fear, Solid & Striped, the stylish swimwear brand will be popping up at the Montauk Beach House (55 S Elmwood Ave, Montauk) on July 4th and later on this summer at the SoulCycle Barn, (264 Butter Ln, Bridgehampton) July -August 15 (weekends only) where you’ll be able to purchase swim, beachwear, accessories and suncare for women. (Solidandstriped.com)
I have a house in the Hamptons candle
New candle brand, Literie, born during the pandemic, features unusual scents such as "Fresh Soft Serve from the Corner Truck" (vanilla and sugar); "Bodega Coffee" (espresso + cream) and, "I have a house in the Hamptons," (the fragrance is rosé and melon). Available for $35 at Katherine Tess, 69 Main Street, Southampton and literiecandle.com.
East Hampton-resident Lori Sanicola-MacGarva just launched a luscious product lineup of 10 small batch, handmade scrubs, salves, butters, sprays and more. She has sourced all ingredients from local farms and businesses including Brodham Farm, Balsam Farm and Amagansett Sea Salt, Co. The aromatic shower orbs, ($5), she says, create an instant spa experience. For now, the products are sold at Amagansett Dermatology, 524 Montauk Hwy, Suite 10, Amagansett (631-557-3043) and Lazy Point, Amagansett with more stores and a website to follow.