When I was a Greenwich Village shopkeeper, we kept LEO Design open until 10:00 pm on Christmas Eve. We didn't do a ton of business after 6:00 pm, though we did entice a few relaxed and cheerful souls—ambling home after a nice dinner and a few drinks—and we were able to clean-up the shop after a busy Christmas week.
At LEO Design, we had another Christmas Eve tradition: we would clear the window of all merchandise and install our pair of polychromed Italian terra-cotta angels, modeled after the pair standing vigil at Saint Domenic's tomb in Bologna, Italy. Michelangelo carved the original male angel. I had bought these angels from an Italian import showroom in 1995, our first year of business. At the time, I knew nothing of their origins or inspiration—but I did know that I liked them. I bought them with every intention of selling them. They went into the window on that first Christmas Eve. Then the second. Then the third. Still, no takers. It was at this point that I decided I would "take them off the market." By now they had become a LEO Design Christmas Eve tradition. And I had fallen too in-love with them to part with them, anyway. So, until my last Christmas Eve in The Village in 2016, the terra-cotta Italian angels made their annual journey into my window (where they would preside through New Year's Day).
Here's a photo of the angels, taken their final year in the LEO Design Greenwich Village shop window. They now spend Christmas on my living room mantel in Pittsburgh.
The embroidered linen panel, shown at top, is decorated with angels, flowers and a floating, central heart. It was made in the early Twentieth Century. Click on the photo above to learn more about it.
Though our Greenwich Village store is now permanently closed, LEO Design is still alive and well! Please visit our on-line store where we continue to sell Handsome Gifts (www.LEOdesignNYC.com).
We also can be found in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania at The Antique Center of Strabane (www.antiquecenterofstrabane.com).
Or call to arrange to visit our Pittsburgh showroom (by private appointment only). 917-446-4248