Best of Phoenix®

Best Of 2009

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Best Of :: Shopping & Services

Best Style
Rachel Richards and Jim Malloy, Bunky Boutique

This year's most stylish Phoenix wedding took place not here but in lower Manhattan, just off the West Side Highway in an industrial building that houses artists and low-income residents. The groom, Jim Malloy, is a native Phoenician; his new bride, Rachel Richards, hails from the wilds of Montana but now calls downtown Phoenix home.

Two years ago, Richards opened Bunky Boutique, a hip but welcoming hole-in-the-wall that customers entered from an alley just south of Roosevelt Row, between Fifth and Sixth streets, and the store became another popular stop on the downtown beat, along with places like MADE and eye lounge and Tammie Coe. Richards and Malloy, a driver for UPS by day, were as much a draw as their atypical, indie clothing and accessories: She's friendly and petite, with porcelain skin, cornflower blue eyes and improbably red hair, and he's lanky, outgoing and nerdily hip (or the other way around — we're never quite sure). Together, they're the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers of Phoenix style, making it look easy as they nurtured Bunky and then transitioned from back alley to the first floor of a gracious brick-and-wood house next to The Roosevelt Tavern.

And then there was their wedding this spring: Richards simply gorgeous in a strapless white gown, Malloy unexpectedly elegant in a classic tux, and the city of New York as their magical backdrop. Their wedding photos look like stills from the feel-good movie of the year, and we've got our fingers crossed that these two characters will live happily ever after, in love, in style, and in Phoenix.

Best of Phoenix 2009 In Photos

1437 N. 1st St., Phoenix, 85004
MAP
602-252-1323
Best Letterpressers
See Saw Designs

Now that Phoenix has "made it," we're all searching for the little things to help round out our city's Mid-Century Modern aesthetic. And See Saw is here to deliver. Run by six young and talented designers and boasting two massive old-school letterpresses, See Saw is more than an Urban Outfitters-style paper factory. Its cards and calendars capture a clean, minimalist design that stands out in a very powerful but understated way. And it's a heavy hitter, to boot. Boasting a client list that includes the much missed Palatte restaurant and Mayor Phil Gordon, these designers are quickly establishing themselves as the people to go to in Phoenix for hip and unique cards, invitations, or branding. Their blog is pretty cool, too.

6125 E. Indian School Rd., Scottsdale, 85251
MAP
480-284-4987
Best Art Supplies
Wet Paint Artist Supply

So you've run out of gouache and if you don't get some fast, your artistic muse will leave you. No worries. Head to Ash Avenue in Tempe and talk to the good people at Wet Paint. Whether you're in need of blue Prismacolor pencils to lay down the sketches for your next Web comic or bamboo brushes to practice Japanese calligraphy, you'll find Wet Paint well stocked. Also check out the posters and fliers near the store's entrance for events around town targeting art enthusiasts. As for that muse, it comes and goes, but maybe a few peeks at the art mags on display at Wet Paint will give you a jolt of inspiration.

806 S. Ash Ave., Tempe, 85281
MAP
480-967-2002
Best "Out of the Box" Art Supplies

Painters have it easy when it comes to sourcing materials. Paints and canvases are available at art shops, craft stores, even Wal-Mart. On the other hand, if you specialize in "found object" or recycled art, you'll likely be stuck scouring back alleys and diving through smelly dumpsters, unless you're in the know about The Town Dump, a funky backwoods store hidden in Cave Creek. The dilapidated red shack is chock-full of treasures, from cowhides and bear pelts to printed textiles, antique hardware, and vintage tin ceiling tiles. Need an authentic lasso for a Wild West-themed project? Castoff rebar bits or iron scrollwork for welding? A 7-foot-tall wooden cross for your giant Piss Christ knockoff? Yeah, it's all here. Grab some funky estate sale castoff and display it in a gallery, à la Marcel Duchamp's Fountain — just don't expect us to buy it (literally or figuratively) as fine art.

Best Place to Get Creative on the Cheap
Dollar Tree

For those who lust after art and craft supplies, there is only one place you need to visit to completely load up. Sorry, but it ain't fancy. The good news, though, is that there's likely one in your neighborhood. Dollar Tree dollar stores (and we're not talking about just any dollar store; it's gotta be a Dollar Tree) are the absolute best for basic art supplies. They have paint, markers, poof balls, and stickers as well as pads of paper, rulers, scissors, tissue paper, crayons — you get the idea. And it's all dirt-cheap. If you have an art studio or just a kitchen table, run out and stock up so you're ready when the creative spirit strikes you next.

3909 E. Thomas Rd., Phoenix, 85018
MAP
602-273-9290
Best Place to Prep for Your Project Runway Audition

Ready yourself for Project Runway status by learning how to sew at this cute-as-a-button shop in Phoenix. Bernina Connection offers "bring your own project" open sessions on nights and weekends; just bring snacks to share and come ready to giggle with the local gals. Don't worry about the fact that you can't find a Jo-Ann Fabric in central Phoenix to save your life — Bernina sells all the fabric and notions you'll need. Classes for all skill levels are offered, so get on down there and sew yourself a vintage apron or a recycled T-shirt quilt.

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Best Style: Rachel Richards and Jim Malloy, Bunky Boutique

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