Concierge: Finding New Designers

Our fashion expert helps you stand out from the crowd.


IN THIS FASHION-CONSERVATIVE TOWN, it’s not always easy to find clothing that stands out in a crowd. Shop owners can be wary of stocking up-and-comers who have neither name recognition nor a history of stellar sales. But there are a few around who believe fashion is meant to be fun—and line their racks accordingly. If you’re looking to take a chance this fall, the following purveyors of out-of-the-box fashion guarantee much reward for your risk.

1. Parlor Since its 2005 opening, Parlor has quickly made a name for itself with an assortment of urban designs from Los Angeles and New York City showrooms. The South End destination has the celeb-darling line Nicholas K—whose Mischa Barton-endorsed jersey knit vests and big-button streamlined trenches are constant best sellers—and Los Angeles-based Porridge, best known for pretty cotton wraparound dresses and tops, plus the exclusive lines Bonnie Heart Clyde and Mona & Holly.

2. Stil Celebrated for her eclectic international mix, Stil owner Betty Riaz makes good on her rep with a fall collection full of forward-thinkers. Sretsis, a label from Thailand, comes to Boston with a collection of playful dresses and trenches. (Stil is one of only 12 U.S. boutiques to house the line.) From Denmark, Noir offers pencil skirts, cigarette pants, vests and romantic blouses, while Manoush brings a unique mix of sweater dresses and tiered skirts.

3. Fanny and Delphine One of the smartest hotel boutiques in town, Fanny and Delphine is a go-to for style-bold Bostonians. For fall, owner Eve Kohlman has culled a worldly mix of statement pieces and staples-with-a-twist. New from Italian designer Lola Parker, wearable separates take on a 1920s undergarment aesthetic with sweaters in whites and ivories and black and gray, embellished with grapevines of pearls and Old World artistry. London-based design team Prouvost & Father takes scraps of vintage fabrics—chintz, army-issue wool blankets—to create a modern line of jackets, hats, vests and skirts, many with loosely attached linings. Fanny and Delphine is also showcasing an Italian sweater line called Boboutic, wool and cashmere separates in grays, whites and blacks from Japanese firm Intoca, and handbags by the Parisian brand Minority.

4. Riccardi Owner Riccardo Dallai Sr. has been bringing edgy fashion to Newbury Street for almost 30 years, including, most notably, the very anti-prep Los Angeles line Libertine, known for pieces with Gothic tendencies. This season, Dallai is introducing high-end couture from Antonio Marras for men and women. He’ll also carry Forme (out of Korea) and the reworked-vintage label Jaded by Knight, made popular by star fans such as Usher, Steven Tyler and Madonna.

5. Turtle This small boutique in the South End stocks a wide assortment of local and first-time talent. New this fall, NaturevsFuture, by Brooklyn-based designer Nina Valenti, features cutting-edge pieces—body-conscious shirt dresses with angled front plackets; fitted blazers with ruching at the shoulders—made from earth-friendly materials such as organic cottons and low-processed wools. Also new this season is the debut retail collection of Myre, by Boston’s School of Fashion Design graduate Jess Meyer, featuring beautiful yet functional coats and leather-accented suiting. This fall, Turtle—which rotates a third of its merchandise with new designers every season—will also carry several new European designers, including Ilaria Nistri (funky sweaters), Emilio Cavallini (bubble skirts and dresses) and Casch Copenhagen (modern separates in unexpected fabrics).

6. Dress This one-year-old Newbury Street boutique, run by childhood pals Martha Hilfinger and Jane Schlueter, has a solid collection of young designers. Issa, by Brazilian designer Daniella Helayel, features wear-everywhere dresses in bright silk jersey prints. One of the shop’s best sellers is the Canadian brand Smythe, with its tailored jackets and cleverly funky work vests. Dress also introduced Boston to Adam Lippes’ preppy-chic label Adam+Eve.

Where to Find It

Dress 221 Newbury St., 617-424-7125, www.dressboston.com

Fanny and Delphine Hotel Commonwealth, 522 Commonwealth Ave., 617-266-2006,
www.fannyanddelphine.com

Parlor 1248 Washington St., 617-521-9005

Riccardi 116 Newbury St., 617-266-3158, www.riccardiboston.com

Stil 170 Newbury St., 617-859-7845, www.stilinc.com

Turtle 619 Tremont St., 617-266-2610, www.turtleboston.com