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Officina 189 Brings Niche Italian Goods to Boston's Retail Mix

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A lot of things in the North End come from Italy—pasta, espresso, gelato—but new boutique Officina 189 can guarantee that no one else is stocking its Italian imports. Owner Fabrizio Di Rienzo came from Milan to introduce niche products (ones that are even hard to find in his homeland) in an informative, stylish setting at 189 North Street. Complex, enchanting fragrances claim much of the space, along with striking silver jewelry, reworked vintage watches (under $500), Pellux leather goods made by the Di Rienzo family (bags requiring thirty hours of work), custom luxury bicycles and more.

The exposed brick space looks somewhat industrial, accenting the craftsmanship-oriented approach of the store. Each brand receives a placard stating the origin of that merchandise—Cologno Monzese, Elba, Milan—and owner Di Rienzo is eager to share knowledge on each.

We were particularly smitten with the selection of perfumes; something alluring is there for every price point and personality, and mostly in generous quantities for the expense. My Inner Island was unique given that every base note was paired with sea salt and ocean water from the Mediterranean. The scents were raw and exciting: rose, black pepper and lime, vanilla and rum. Meanwhile, La Collina Toscana offers a major value at $75 for 100ml, but it combinations are luxurious and unusual: tobacco, iris. Every bottle is adorned with a stone and a hand written number to signal its exclusivity.

Nobile 1942 was born in World War II, quickly becoming a popular label since then. These layered parfums are challenging and impressive, with a men's collection, women's, unisex, home, and children's sets (yes, high end kids' perfume). Boys and girls sets are packaged ideally for gift giving, with bases of chocolate for the former and rose for the latter. Another brand in the mix, Aqua Dell Elba produces crisp, clean scents inspired by the place of their origin, the island of Elba. Home fragrances come with reeds, filling your abode with hints of lemon, orange, or subtle botanicals.

Finally, the other really amazing product offered at Officina 189 are prototypes of Sartoria Cicli custom-made bicycles. They majorly put your supposedly cool bike to shame. For $2200, the store will measure you in full and send your body dimensions to Italy where your personal bike is built. One option is inspired by a Jack Russell terrier, another by the store itself. Feel free to Skype with the designers while you're visiting to make any alterations you like. (They can work off of any inspiration: a pair of shoes, a restaurant—it's been done.)

All in all, this North End addition is the place to treat yourself or any object of your affection with a one-of-a-kind gift.
· Officina 189 [Facebook]

OFFICINA 189

189 North Street, Boston, MA 02113 (857) 233-4300 Visit Website