Many years ago, flipping through Polaroids and rhapsodizing about a line she’d discovered, stylist Patti Arrington hipped me to the work of a Brooklyn designer called Monty. Soon after, during Fashion Week, I watched as Montgomery Harris (“Monty”) took the runway in acceptance of her Vidal Sassoon Award for Style. The win provided the super-talented designer seed capital to launch her line, Montgomery New York for Jolinda, Inc. Her designs have been lauded by press from Vogue’s Andre Leon Talley to Essence and worn by celebrities such as Oprah, Diana Ross, Erykah Badu and Sting.
After a few years of wholesaling, the Birmingham-bred Montgomery opened a small, chic shop in NoLiTa and when the opportunity arose to take her retail business uptown to a beautiful, light-filled corner shop, she did just that. Her Southern heritage is reflected in her now-iconic logo, the bandanna-wearing Jolinda. Jolinda’s family, including the very popular Baby Girl adorns items from clothing to handbags to jewelry. Located on the corner of Harlem’s Seventh Avenue and 136th Street, Montgomery Boutique, is a dreamy paean to creativity. From the curtains to the wall sconces and the whimsical inverted garden gracing her ceiling, the decor springs from Montgomery’s fertile imagination. Of her merchandise offerings, one-of-a-kind gems mingle happily with the more widely produced items such as her fun line of t-shirts.
I own several treasures from the Montgomery trove and am always complimented when I wear them, from the traffic-stopping hand-dyed fishtail gown to the curve-hugging homage to Frida Kahlo to the subtly sensual Zora Neale Hurston dress; the retro denim jumpsuit with Baby Girl’s afro-puffed visage boldly appliquéd on the back to the Jolinda black turtleneck: head scarf, moving eyes, “gold” hoop earrings and scarlet flocked lips stitched by hand across the breast.
You too can snatch up a few original pieces from the House of Montgomery, at a healthy discount. All one-of-a-kind women’s apparel is 50% off through January, plus a free tote bag with all purchases of $50.00 or more. Great design at a great price sounds like a plan for New Year’s Eve, and no one else in the room will be rocking your look.
Montgomery’s Joy of Giving Sale
Through January 31, 2009
2312 Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard (7th Avenue)
Call for exact hours: 212.690.2166
photo: Montgomery Boutique