Southampton Welcomes James B. Fairchild
by carrie doyle karasyov
Ralph Lauren veteran James B. Fairchild channels his passion into a home furnishing boutique
It’s a mixture of confidence and audacity that sets the truly stylish tastemakers apart from, well, those who are not. Their bold gestures, keen ability to inject glamour into otherwise dreary landscapes, and inherent sense of fashion cause others to stand up and take note. James B. Fairchild is one such person and his just-opened, eponymous lifestyle boutique on Montauk Highway in Southampton offers exclusive, rare treasures, which are reflective of his personal taste. Arranged into nine defined areas—Left Bank; Play Room; Americana; Botanicals; Studio; Bijoux; Southwest; European; and The Collector—these carefully vetted vignettes are meant to represent a specific lifestyle. “I don’t want to do what everyone else is doing; I wanted a destination shop, and I wanted to be off the beaten path,” says Fairchild. “The whole idea is to be whimsical, serious, and eclectic.”
And, indeed, one glance around the exclusive boutique reveals walls adorned with oil paintings, antique fishing rods, antlers, and tortoise shells. Glass cases are laden with costume and fine jewelry as well as vintage designer handbags. Fairchild, a father of two boys, has a kids’ table with crayons and paper so kids can stay occupied while their parents browse through the shop.
Prices range from $40 to $20,000, and the myriad goods ensure that though you might pop in to buy a candle, you will perhaps leave with a carved ivory elephant that caught your fancy. “I’ve been collecting for a long time, and since I moved to the Hamptons full-time three years ago, I wanted to use my eye and my training,” says Fairchild, who stocks his boutique with treasures he collects at estate sales, auctions, tag sales, and on trips to Europe.
Fairchild definitely has the resume and pedigree to back up his current profession. Having started his illustrious career at Giorgio Armani, he then spent 20 years designing menswear and sportswear for Ralph Lauren and serving as the company’s vice president of menswear. For the past few decades, his chic lifestyle and dapper attire have been chronicled in countless magazines (including this one). “Everyone said you’ll do clothing, of course, and sure I could have done that; but it’s expected,” says Fairchild. “I wanted to go out and do my own thing.”
Fairchild’s passion has always been collecting home furnishing, so this is where he turned his efforts. And the store will hopefully be the eventual launching pad for his own specific branding or product, which he is still mulling over. In the meantime, Fairchild hopes his vision will translate to the savvy Hamptons’ consumers and that he can offer them something different on every level of the experience. “I’m trying to think outside of the box because the store is outside of the box.” 619 Hampton Road, Southampton, 259-3731
photography by Eric striffler