Out and About – Asiatica

As you know, I get around.  So much of Kansas City is changing; what’s old is new again and there are great spots popping up in old neighborhoods all over the place.  In the last two weeks I’ve been to a new gathering spot in the Power & Light district, Blanc, the absolutely unbelievable hamburger spot, Happy Gillis (run by Todd, the Soup Maker) and the Filling Station which offered a terrific cup of coffee and completely engaging company.

In addition, I’d seen an ad for Asiatica, a local shop owned by Elizabeth Wilson.  Asiatica is not new, nor in a new spot, but when I saw the ad it offered a different perspective on their wares.

Asiatica is known for their unbelievable inventory of textiles. 
They have an extensive collection of vintage Japanese pieces, some originating from kimonos as well as textured fabrics, which are new, and slew of monochromatic samples that are largely Italian.  An amazing resource, they offer custom clothing made from their inventory.  

Their clothes are beautiful and exquisitely made.  

I had thought that was the bulk of their business until I ran across the ad featuring these delightful pups. 

And, guess what, Ted Muehling jewelry.  Right here.  In my home town.  Camera charged, umbrella in the crook of my arm, out I went to see.  

I know not everyone shops this way.  I know most folks don’t care how a store, or restaurant, or coffee shop feels, but I do.  I need to like it there.  I need to not feel the hair on the back of my psyche stand up when I walk in.  I need to know that the people responsible feel strongly about what they are doing.  It needs to show.
Oh.  What was I thinking?  How can I have been missing this?  A gaff on my part.  Asiatica holds treasures so captivating and so attainable.

In addition to the clothing, there is a large selection of charming ceramics.

I’m beginning to have a hankering for some blue and white among the yellow.  

Last Saturday, Elizabeth had a long table artfully arranged with these charming blue and white pieces.  Some are available in different colors, but she felt the appeal of that classic combo would have a lot of impact here.  Agreed.  Equally at home on vanity, dresser or dining table you could easily make up a collection in a single stop.

And scarves.
See, this makes it easier for me.  A dash of something special turns my every day denim into something chic and interesting.  And black and white ticking for a scarf?  I couldn’t have said it better myself.

Even in winter; especially in winter.

They don’t just look fabulous, but feel fabulous, too.  For me, a gal who shuns day spas and salons -oh, how I hate the time spent – this is the kind of pampering that makes sense.  The feel of the cashmere against your skin can make any errand feel like a luxury.

Functional accessories as well, including this jazzy bag made of incredibly heavy felt in vibrant hues.  Big enough for your lap top, the finally-complete presentation or your workout clothes, it is a joy of form and function.

I did mention the jewelry, right?  Beads galore, so of course I was in heaven.

But more sophisticated and modern pieces too.  Special, but still capable of every day.

The bonus for me was getting to meet Elizabeth and hearing her talk about her work and the shop.  Crackling with energy even though she was packing for a three week trunk show in New York, you could see where the shop gets its vibe.

She loves this stuff.  She’s buying what she likes and hoping the right people find her spot.  This is a very different philosophy than trying to figure out what sells.  

If you are here in town, go.  If you are not, go here.

But if you are in New York, meet Elizabeth at her trunk show.  She will be at the AKA Hotel at 42 W. 58th Street just behind Bergdorf’s.  You can make an appointment by calling 913/269-3269.  The show runs September 10th – 26th.  

Go.  (And to Blanc, Happy Gillis and the Filling Station, too.)  It’s all good.
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13 thoughts on “Out and About – Asiatica

  1. Isn’t the Filling Station great. It’s like the neighborhood clubhouse, I think I see my neighbors more there than I do in our lobby or parking garage.

    Definitely stopping by Asiatica to look at those ceramics!

  2. What a wonderful spot to run to for gifts and to just see things that look like they were all for me.
    She did buy them for me…. right? I hope to hop into the city and take a gander at the AKA.

  3. Patricia,

    Funny – Asiatica has been on my radar for a while (she carries dosa). If I ever return to Kansas City I now know I really do have to check out Elizabeth and her wares.


  4. David – You’re lucky to be so close. The only thing that would make it better is being able to walk there. Except maybe not today.

  5. Patricia – you would adore Elizabeth and her wares. Do try to get by if you have the chance. You could consider it therapy!

  6. Thanks, Courtney – hard to believe, but there’s more. And the clothes were mostly packed away for the trunk show. It’s a really special spot.

  7. Thank goodness you saw that ad! What a great array of items- beads, ceramics, textiles… what more could you want??!!

  8. Thank you for photographing this neat shop. It’s a veritable treasure trove!

    The little blue and white check ceramic box reminds me of Roger Banks-Pye. I would love to have one like it.


    P.S. I am going to date myself, but one of my favorite KC shops in the 1970’s was called Bird Lamp, and my wedding dress (we eloped!) came from Swanson’s. My sister used to live in Kansas City, and I visited her several times when she was there. GREAT town! And the Nelson Gallery… be still my heart!

  9. Sheila! Banks-Pye! I’m crushed that I did not think of this myself. Completely deflated. An opportunity missed – I’m so glad you made the connection as it is spot on.

    I am not familiar with Bird Lamp, but Swanson’s was wonderful and sorely missed. And yes, the Nelson, now even better. It is a great town.

  10. Mrs. B-

    My husband and I are huge fans of Asian ceramics and textiles so we know Asiatica from their lovely Web site. Still have never ordered anything, though.

    And now to see those necklaces and felt bags — aaargh! I want to shop in person. Thanks for letting me see what the real store looks like.

    One of my favorite shops in Madison moved to Kansas City, so here is the name and address should you be looking for a new place to cruise. Tell Gretchen the “Artful Shopper” says hi!.

    180 English Landing Dr 130-40
    Parkville, MO 64152
    (816) 746-6164

  11. The Japanese fabrics used by Asiatica
    for their beautifully designed clothing line took my breathe away.

    Stunnying,classy Carmen Dell’Orefice is perfect choice to present the line visually; the fabrics used are ageless with a history and not about to hide their age.

    Your tour of the Kansas City Asiatica was a wonderful experience for me!

    Thank you so much,

    Emma Howard
    Kailua, Hawaii

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