GREENWICH, Conn. -- French is in vogue at a new retail shop and cafe in Greenwich that centers merchandise and food on culturally inspired ever-changing themes.
Travel, art, music and other influences might spark the next topic at The Perfect Provenance where shoppers and diners convene -- no passport required.
Lisa Lori opened the Arch Street space on June 30 in a Victorian house she restored to its 1912 glory. Its dark blue entrance door, with six masterfully beveled glass panels, allows for a peek inside the shop, also an art exhibit space where French vintage posters, including art by Marc Chagall and others, are displayed.
The store sells small, luxury brands of men's and women's fashions, accessories, home and personal items, artwork, music and gifts, among other items. Customers will also find one-of-a-kind pieces, often by craftsmen from around the world, said Lori.
Among the pieces currently in the shop: linens by Garnier Thiebault and Christoffle Glassware, couture handbags by Vanessa Bruno and shirts for men by Saint James and Baldwin. You'll also find jewelry, scarves, and home items like candles, paintings, photos,, books, gifts, music and stationery.
"Provenance means knowing where something came from, the history of (an item)," said Lori of the shop's philosophy. "Our products support generation after generation of artisans who make things (that represent) an anti-mass market culture. It's like going on vacation and finding a beautiful little shop where you buy something you adore and take it home to cherish."
Lori is big into carrying brands that are not available in Fairfield County and some not even in the United States. "Some brands are very small," she said, stressing that even if the shop carries brands available locally, the pieces selected are often specially picked and unusual.
Eating at The Perfect Provenance is also an experience thanks to Chef Arik Bensimon, previously of Le Farm Restaurant in Westport. If you go in August, expect a menu filled with French influences: a hamburger with Bernaise sauce, a lobster cassoulet, and a Casablanca salad, which is made of roasted carrots.
"There's also Dijon roast chicken, which is 'to die for,' said Lori. The menu, like the retail items, is constantly changing.
The shop and cafe are open for lunch and afternoon tea Tuesday to Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
A monthly dinner (by reservation) is available to members of a “curator’s club,” which is free to join through the shop’s website or by calling (203) 900-1131. The "We'll Always Have Paris" poster exhibition runs to September.
The store is located at 47 Arch St., Greenwich.