Tag Archives: WEST store

“Santa Baby” Sequel: Weston’s Eartha Kitt Lives On

Once upon a time, Christmas music was — well, Christmas music.

“Silent Night.” “Adeste Fidelis.” “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”  You know — songs about Jesus, the Magi and the manger.

In 1953, Eartha Kitt released “Santa Baby.” It was — well, earthy.

Eartha Kitt

The 26-year-old entertainer sang seductively about gifts from a sugar daddy Santa — you know, a yacht, sable and ’54 convertible.

Despite being banned in parts of the South, it was the best-selling Christmas song of the year.

In the nearly 70 years since, it’s been covered by dozens of artists, including Madonna, Kylie Mingoue, Taylor Swift, Trisha Yearwood, Michael Bublé, RuPaul and Homer & Jethro.

It’s been found on lists of the best — and worst — Christmas songs of all time.

And it opened the door for an entire new category of offbeat holiday tunes. Had it not been for “Santa Baby,” we might never have known the singing chipmunks, the Kinks’ violent “Father Christmas,” or the song that truly is the worst of all time — in any category — “The Christmas Shoes.”

Eartha Kitt died in 2008 — fittingly, on Christmas Day — in her Weston home. Her daughter Kitt Shapiro has lived in Westport for 20 years. She owns WEST, the great boutique on Post Road East.

“Santa Baby” sure has legs. Last Friday, Sony Music released a new, animated video version of the song.

It’s quite a story. Directed by Kelly Jones (founder of a Black-owned visual media and design house) and produced by Cousins (a queer-owned production studio), it’s an homage to Eartha Kitt’s life and career. Smooth, sexy animation draws viewers right into the singer’s dreamy wish list.

In this COVID-stricken year of 2020, Santa may be paring down his gift list. He might be careful about how many homes he visits.

But if Eartha Kitt has her way — wherever she is now — Santa will hurry down her chimney that night.

Laura Maged’s WEST Comes East

When new shops open here, they often ask for an “06880” shout-out.

I’m happy to oblige, I say — provided they give me a strong Westport hook. It can’t be just “new store in town,” I tell them. Give me something local to sink my teeth into.

I seldom hear back.

Bags on display at WEST.

Bags on display at WEST.

That’s why I’m glad to talk about WEST. The new fashion/art/jewelry/ accessories place on 117 Post Road East (across from Bank of America) cleverly incorporates a Westport sensibility with influences from the “WEST Coast” (and even further west, Australia).

But it also carries the line of a very local designer — Emerson Kobak — who is still just a Staples High School junior. (One more reason to like WEST: The owners discovered Emerson through this “06880” blog.)

The new store is the brainchild of Westporter Laura Maged. A Long Island native who spent many “magical” years in her 20s and 30s in Southern California, she heard about our town after she and her husband moved to New York.

Laura Maged

Laura Maged

The folks she met here seemed to always do intriguing things. The “rich arts heritage and easy style” attracted her. She loved Compo Beach (and the playground), while downtown reminded her of Brentwood.

Laura thought she could “recreate a little of my special LA life here.” Starting in 2002, she did just that.

Now WEST, she says, will be a place where Westport and the West Coast’s “casual, easy lifestyles” mix. Her vision is for “a cool, easy place to shop.”

Emerson Kobak

Emerson Kobak

But while she’s all about bringing the coast vibe east, she’s also excited to team up with Kobak. The teenager studies every Saturday at New York’s Fashion Institute of Technology. She spent this summer in Cornell’s fashion design program, and now adds her line — Emerson Isa Designs — to WEST.

It’s always good news when a new mom-and-pop — or, in this case, “mom” shop — comes to town.

It’s even better news when the owner truly gets the local vibe.

And gets what “06880” looks for in a story. After all, this blog’s tagline is “where WESTport meets the world.”