This Appointment-Only Manhattan Boutique Has Tastemakers Buzzing
Stephanie von Watzdorf is the kind of person who is always just back from somewhere. Not just anywhere but invariably some fascinating and far-flung destination—an island off the coast of Africa with no running water, perhaps, or a village tucked into a lesser-traveled corner of Rajasthan. And Von Watzdorf never comes home empty-handed: The souvenirs she collects routinely serve as inspiration for her fashion brand, Figue, with some ending up for sale at her appointment-only salon in New York’s Chelsea neighborhood or her boutique in East Hampton.
“Everything here has a story,” remarks Von Watzdorf, seated in her salon, wearing one of her signature tunics. “We have throws and pillows from Bolivia and India, and rugs from my friend Maryam Montague in Marrakech.” Hanging in one corner of her space is an artwork by Ali Lamu, a community of artisans on the Kenyan island of Lamu, using repurposed sailing cloth, heart-shaped sequins made from plastic bottles, and metal details fashioned from recycled Range Rover parts.
With Figue, Von Watzdorf has made it her mission to highlight the craftsmanship of artisans around the world, from Mexican embroidery to African beading to festive pom-poms and tassels from India. Lately she has been expanding her reach. During Art Basel Miami Beach in December, she set up in the Faena Bazaar, where her one-of-a-kind embroidered military jackets were as hot as any artworks being fought over inside the fair. She also recently staged a six-month pop-up shop in Palm Beach.
“Every time I go somewhere I discover a little something new,” Von Watzdorf says. “That’s the beauty of traveling.” Sounds like an invitation to grab your passport, or at least a taxi to Chelsea. figue.com