I feel incredibly lucky to live and work in New York City. To me, it is a never ending buffet of culture, food and eye candy! One of my favorite parts of town is the West Village. The West Village is a charming labyrinth of tree lined streets with gorgeous brownstones everywhere you look—the pace is slower and the scale smaller than most of Manhattan.
Like any normal person, I always keep an eye peeled for celebs; many reside in the West Village, like Julianne Moore, Jennifer Aniston and the holy grail of West Village celebrities, Sarah Jessica Parker.
I once recognized Martha Stewart in the West Village while driving 20mph on Bleecker St. by her Chow Chow dog Genghis Khan. I literally said to my partner, “OMG! That looks like Martha Stewart’s Chow Chow Dog! OMG, and there’s Martha Stewart walking him!” Celebrity stalking…I mean celebrity spotting is fun, but I also enjoy discovering new resources. On a recent visit to the West Village, I wandered into a store whose window caught my eye, La Belle Epoque.
It sits just in from the corner of Greenwich Avenue and Jane Street, and its window is a kaleidoscope of colorful posters.
I was greeted by the absolutely gorgeous Linda Tarasuk. When I spotted her luxuriously coiffed mane of black hair and violet eyes, I couldn’t help but blurt out, “You look just like Elizabeth Taylor!” Linda replied, “I hear that every day of my life.”
The store is painted a rich ruby red, two Murano glass chandeliers hang from the ceiling and the center table is stacked high with hundreds of huge posters. Lining one side of the space are smaller pieces, like original French theater programs and illustrations from the late 1800s.
Linda started showing me pieces that would be nursery appropriate.
Linda on her love of posters, “They have an energy about them; they are just fabulous! La Belle Epoque, era 1890-1915, is my passion, my love and the bulk of my collection.” Elie Saporta, the co-owner, chimed in, “What attracted me to posters is that they are one of a very few items, available to most people, that is affordable to own that is also shown in museums. Everyone can be a collector!” Elie went on to tell me, after a little prodding, “Barbara Streisand is a collector; we’ve sold to Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Lopez, Matt Damon, Bruce Willis, Glenn Close and many more; I cant even remember them all.”
I fell in love with this map, with its strong colors and composition. The cobalt blue against the red appears almost lit up from within the thick heavy weight paper. How incredible would this piece look in a nursery! Linda states, “These are pieces you give to a baby, and he could have it for his whole life!”
What’s a more chic and classic way to nod to your family’s origin than with a vintage original poster from that country?
Speed racer are you? Test drive this hot little vehicle of high design. The mileage you get can’t be beat! Vroom.
This incredible French poster, circa 1920s, advertising the glamour of Monte Carlo is a fantastic and unique high-end alternative to vintage Barbie Prints.
La Belle Epoque will also use their expertise to design a frame for your new masterpiece. They specialize in wood, hand-carved and 24 karat gold leaf frames. It was truly a pleasure to meet up with Linda and Elie, and I hope this is the start of many visits to their charming store! And if you don’t live near NYC, you can visit the La Belle Epoque website.