From the pages of The Daily Summer‘s premiere issue: Lisa Perry’s favorite local haunt? The nostalgia-imbued Sag Harbor Variety Store. Is it really a surprise to learn that the designer darling, known for her fixation with all things ’60s, is happiest raiding the candy aisle and fondling felt?
We wouldn’t take you for a variety store regular…
I love a five-and-dime! I’m in love with grocery stores; I see art in everyday objects. I love to play in a place like Sag Harbor Variety. I can find something in every single aisle.
What kind of gems did you find on this visit?
Oh, I loved exploring the fake fruit and flowers, the toy section, and the ribbons and buttons and trims—I really do love their felt! I’ve made felt art that’s hanging in my kitchen. In the detergent aisle, I tried to line up the items, like Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes, but they didn’t have the perfect product for me to play with. I also didn’t want to take the entire store apart.
Did you buy anything?
Gum, candy, and a popsicle. I mean, I’m there weekly when I’m out in the Hamptons. I’m always finding something!
You’re quite the candy junkie.
Yeah, it’s a little bit of a problem. I’m a penny candy girl. I love Swedish Fish, Jawbreakers, and bubble gum. People buy me retro candy all the time. I used to keep more candy around than I do, but it’s still in all my houses and stores. I have M&M’s everywhere you look. My design studio is below my store on Madison, so at least I have to walk up the stairs to get candy! It’s a little bit of exercise on the way.
Do you have cavities?
I don’t, for some odd reason! I’m lucky.
Indeed! So how did you become a Sag Harbor–ite to begin with?
My husband [Richard Perry] and I were pioneers in Sag! We’ve been in the Hamptons a long time—even when we lived in Watermill, we’d go to Sag Harbor for date night. They used to have “a dinner and a movie” deal: You’d go to the Sag Harbor Cinema for a movie and the American Hotel for dinner.
What are your favorite restos these days?
I know this sounds weird, but I love turkey tacos, and the ones at Provisions are so delicious. At Tutto Il Giorno, you sit down and get this amazing flatbread—I can eat the entire plate before the food comes. La Parmigiana in Southampton really is one of my favorite restaurants in the world! I’m a real Midwest girl. I love comfort food; I don’t like fancy food.
Where can we get the finest patty out East?
My house definitely has the best burger in the Hamptons! LT Burger in Sag also has a great one, but I usually go there for buffalo wings and chopped salad.
You’re making us hungry! What’s on the menu at your East Hampton boutique for season deux?
We’re excited to be the exclusive retailer for Manolo Blahnik in the Hamptons. We did an exclusive collection of shoes with them, and we curated 10 other styles for the East Hampton store. It’s our first time having a shoe area, which is very fun.
Any surprises about having an East End outpost?
When you try to get something done in the Hamptons, there are lots of rules. You’re dealing with a village! I want to paint the wall outside the store—why can’t I do that? What if I want to have an ice cream stand outside my store? That’s not the easiest.
You’re always pairing up with Pop Art icons. Who remains on your collab wish list?
I’m so lucky to have worked with the most important ones to me: Warhol, Lichtenstein, Koons, Indiana. They’re my biggest influences. We’re going to work with a younger, contemporary artist, but I can’t reveal anything yet.
What’s your very earliest art memory?
My dad was a drip painter in the style of Jackson Pollock, and he would work on canvases on the floor in the basement when I was very, very young. My brothers, sisters, and I would go down and hang out with him while he painted. We had a Jackson Pollock puzzle on our game table that took us, like, five years to finish. Beginning when I was 8 or 9 years old, we’d take trips to the Chicago Art Institute. Art is just a part of my DNA.
How did your look—and life—become so mod?
I’ve been collecting vintage fashion from the ’60 for close to 20 years. I really zeroed in on this era and just fell in love with this look, and then got into everything else—the art, the furniture. I just love the aesthetic; it’s a very focused world.
Where do you store your fashion archive?
I have a whole closet devoted to vintage in my New York apartment. I also have vintage pieces floating around that I use as inspiration in my design studio.
Do you give tours of your vintage closet?
I certainly show guests, and if I’m giving an art tour of my apartment for an institution, I’ll include my closet, too.
Your NYC and Hamptons abodes are pristine. Where do you get messy?
I’m not a messy person, but I do projects in my art studio.
Beyond the East End, where are you jetting off to this summer?
We always get to either Italy or France at least once a summer. This summer, we’re going to Venice for a friend’s wedding. I love Rome, and one of my favorite places is the South of France: the light, the little restaurants, the art…the people are so chic! There’s just something about driving around the winding roads. It’s a very special place.
What’s on your travel bucket list?
Greece. I’m such a fan of white with a pop of color, and that’s what Greece is about. It’s hard to believe I haven’t been there yet.
What do you always buy internationally?
Candy! Grocery stores in different countries are interesting to me.
Where do you want to travel?
Asia! In Tokyo, everything is so luxurious, clean, beautiful, and pristine. I just got back from a design inspiration trip to Beijing, Seoul, and Tokyo. I particularly liked the 24-hour shopping in Seoul; I was at a store at 3 a.m. That’s surreal!
How did you spend your summers as a kid
In our little neighborhood in the suburbs of Chicago, we just went to the pool down the block and played. We weren’t scheduled like all the kids are now! It was just a very normal, middle-class upbringing.