by Isabel Wilkinson
The stylist Tiina Laakkonen’s clothing and design shop in Amagansett, Tiina the Store, returns to its original location after a yearlong renovation.
“I always thought I was going to have a cute little store, where I would sit around with a cup of tea, and my cat, and sell a few nice things,” says Tiina Laakkonen. “But it didn’t quite work out like that, exactly.”
That’s an understatement: Since it opened in 2012, the Finnish-born stylist’s clothing and home goods shop, Tiina the Store, in the Long Island town of Amagansett, has become something of an institution — known for its unique mix of roomy striped shirtdresses from Casey Casey, supple sweaters by the Elder Statesman and cocoon coats by Sofie D’Hoore. Tiina offers ideas for how to dress — in baggy stripes, drop-crotch pants and fine cashmere — that are a refreshing take on uniform dressing, and a welcome antidote to other boutiques on the East End.
“Personally, I’m not interested in stuff. I’m not interested in big brands, or what’s cool, what’s hot — I couldn’t care less,” says Laakkonen. “I’m more interested in what’s real. I’m interested in makers on every level.” Before opening the shop with her husband, Jon Rosen, Laakkonen was a successful stylist who worked with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Tomas Maier and Calvin Klein; she continued styling for four years before she turned to retail full time. Now, she walks down Main Street and locals slow their cars to shout things like: “Hello, beautiful Tiina!”
This month, after a yearlong renovation and a stint in a temporary location down the street, Tiina the Store reopened in its original location: a late 19th-century building on Main Street that has been completely overhauled. “We built an almost entirely new building from the basement up,” she says. Still intact is the historic storefront and low-ceilinged entrance room (where Laakkonen will display jewelry, assorted design objects, and perfumes and candles by the British brand Perfumer H), which opens up into a gleaming white double-height space with ceramic tile floors and exposed beams, as if a Japanese gallery were transposed onto a Hamptons living room.
The British designer Faye Toogood created pieces for the store’s interiors — bleached ash wood and felt stackable display cubes, powder-coated metal mesh shelves and racks, and her signature Roly Poly chairs; pieces from her clothing brand, Toogood, line the racks, too. Laakkonen has also mixed in her own finds, including a vintage Danish Montana cabinet system in Yves Klein blue (her favorite) that she bought at auction, and a Tapiovaara Kiki sofa covered in a Raf Simons Kvadrat striped fabric.
Toogood’s presence in the store isn’t new: In 2017, the designer created a large-scale sculpture and clothing installation in the space, inspired by farm life. Laakkonen has long made a point of inviting designers to take over part of the store in temporary “maker visits,” which in the past have included a project by the designer Christina Kim of the brand Dosa, who plastered one room with photographs in 2014. Toogood will be the first person to take over the new space, in May 2019, and Sonya Park, of the Japanese brand Arts + Science, will host a dinner series there next summer. “I like when people like that have such a strong visual language — I like when they take over, because it’s magic,” Laakkonen says. “They just show up and you get to change your space.”
The doors are finally open to the newly renovated store, but Laakkonen still takes a laid-back approach to it all. “We are here, and if people want to come, they can come,” she says. “I really think that the energy out here lends itself to a much more pleasant retail experience. This is what I call country deluxe. This isn’t a city. People take their time. And it’s nice.”
See the T Magazine Article here.