J, M, Z at Essex St.; B, D at Grand St.
American Express, MasterCard, Visa
Design-savvy milliner Frenel Morris displays his Still Life line of more than a hundred men’s hats — many of them one-of-a-kind styles — in this sleek, white-walled shop. Morris admits to a lifelong hat fetish; he’s often found seated at the counter modeling his own creations. Jaunty brims, Langston hats with ribbon trim, Rumpler styles with a dipped crown, and cut-and-sew caps line the shelves. Shades of lavender, burnt orange, black, and dusty gray stand out against the gleaming white bar. The hats are made at Morris’s 1,000-square-foot studio in Red Hook, opened in summer 2008, where he and a staff of three fit, block, trim, and stitch hats by hand. Newly conceived designs incorporate a range of materials, including felt, panama, toyo, leather, suede, cotton, silk, wool, or cashmere. The back of the shop houses an area for custom-made creations, where patrons can pick out their fabric, form, and adornments on the spot. A limited selection of menswear and accessories is available opposite the hat bar, including Cassette tees, Generra jackets, Steelworks sterling silver jewelry, and Feit shoes. But the focal point of any outfit coming out of Still Life won’t be the clothing — ultimately it’s the artful head wear that makes a lasting impression.