We're in a sprawling shop in Amsterdam called the Frozen Fountain, surrounded by a thousand odd things: a porcelain vase that appears to be melting, a chandelier exploding with a mass of brightly colored flowers and china plates silk-screened with campy photos of men and women in bathing suits. Michelle Lehmann, a petite, thirtysomething New Yorker, is gazing at a long table made of a shiny patchwork of scrap woods in different colors. "Michelle's so hyped up she won't be able to sleep tonight," observes her husband, Daniel.
The Lehmanns are the owners of the modern housewares shop Clio in Manhattan's SoHo. Since it opened, two years ago, their store has become a top source for magazine stylists, chefs (Wylie Dufresne bought his dishes for wd~50 here) and even the occasional celebrity couple, such as Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston. Though the Lehmanns have no formal design trainingDaniel's background is in sports marketing and Michelle is the public relations and marketing director for the Union Square Hospitality Group, which operates five New York City restaurants, including Union Square Cafe and Gramercy Taverntheir eye for style, and their knack for finding one-of-a-kind items, led friends to urge the pair to open a store where they could display their discoveries.
Shopping trips like this Amsterdam one are key to Clio's success. "We go to a couple of industry shows every year, but to find the pieces that aren't sold everywhere, it's important to search out up-and-coming designers ourselves," Michelle says, adding that they've recently gone on scouting trips to Paris and London.