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Finds from the planet’s biggest gift shop

Walker staff members Nancy Gross and Michele Tobin have been on the mother of all shopping trips in New York – including, first and foremost, several days at the New York International Gift Fair. With several thousand designers, artisans, craftspeople, etc. exhibiting their wares, this gargantuan buyers’ mart takes up not just the entire Javits […]

Walker staff members Nancy Gross and Michele Tobin have been on the mother of all shopping trips in New York – including, first and foremost, several days at the New York International Gift Fair. With several thousand designers, artisans, craftspeople, etc. exhibiting their wares, this gargantuan buyers’ mart takes up not just the entire Javits Center, but also Piers 90, 92, & 94. Nancy just sent this update as they prepared to make their final rounds at the Fair before returning to Minneapolis tonight:

“In spite of the current state of they economy, and light attendance at the show by vendors and buyers, we have found some great new merchandise for spring and summer. Some highlights include Alessi’s adding to its already successful line of “Banana Brothers” products by Stephano Giovannoni. We loved the collection, including the placecards, corkscrews, canisters, toothpick holders, etc.

Monday evening, we were invited to a special dinner event hosted by Alessi. We enjoyed connecting with our colleagues from Museum of Contemporary Art in Chicago (Mark and Maxine) and our Alessi rep, Diane O’Donnel. And for the pasta course, the chef demonstrated Alessi’s ingenious “Pasta Pot”: a crock-pot-like appliance designed by chef Alain Ducasse and designer Patrick Jouin, which allows vegetables, pasta and sauce to cook together and go straight to your table.

One of our favorite companies, Kid-O toys (mentioned in our last blog post), introduced a new, well-designed wooden memory game and also an interactive depth perception toy. Look for them in the Walker Shop in June.

Some other fun things we found were a Ipod speaker with a Lego-like look, a roll of packing tape with Shepard Fairey-inspired graphics, real “Wee Plants” the size of a fingernail that grow in a glass vial, and specialized lenses for your camera phone that create special effects (wide angle, kaleidoscope,etc.).


A fresh color trend we found was citrine yellow combined with grey – a look that we’ve incorporated into our spring assortment of Chilewich placemats. Turns out that Michelle Obama’s Inauguration Day outfit was right on trend!”