Retail Happenings: Valentino reopens its O.C. store with big focus on menswear
Luxury fashion house Valentino reopened at South Coast Plaza in October with an expanded and new-look boutique now including menswear offerings. More than 1,000 square feet of the 6,400-square-foot store is dedicated to menswear, with pieces such as Valentino-emblazoned tees, slate-gray trench coats and suits.
The Costa Mesa boutique is the latest in a new global store concept developed by Valentino Creative Director Pierpaolo Piccioli together with David Chipperfield Architects. Luxe decor elements inside the store include green velvet panels and Venetian terrazzo oak.
The new boutique will serve as a showcase of sorts for the brand’s newly launched VSling handbag; the store features a VSling Stop, a play on a bus stop, referencing the latest ad campaign featuring the bag and model Kendall Jenner. The campaign was shot on a Los Angeles bus by famed Dutch photographer duo Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin. The VSling is inspired by the geometric silhouettes of the 1970s; calfskin leather in colors such as raspberry and emerald green carry a prominent V logo and a gilt chain on one side. The bag retails for $2,575.
Valentino, South Coast Plaza, 3333 Bristol St., Costa Mesa, valentino.com
At By:Fashionaholic, customers can pick up the same dresses worn by the Hadid or Kardashian sisters, dazzle for a night out and return them a week later.
The luxury vintage rental service opened a permanent Los Angeles space in September, adding to its original space in Chicago. Owner Janet Mandell rented a 2,800-square-foot Hollywood Hills West house as a glamorous and intimate showroom offering personal stylist appointments and a large range of fashion and accessories from brands such as Versace, Hermès, Gucci and Valentino. Most of the items are from the 1980s and 1990s.
“I’m able to curate the collection exactly how I want,” said Mandell, who buys pieces outright, unlike consignment boutiques. “We have an assortment of cocktail dresses and gowns but also suits, resort, coats and accessories.” She said standouts from her collection include the safety-pin dress — as it is known — designed by Gianni Versace and worn by British actress Elizabeth Hurley in 1994, and a pink mirrored dress worn by Kourtney Kardashian. Mandell also has a range of Hermès bags — from Kellys to Birkins. Rentals are for seven days and include dry cleaning. Evening gowns start at $300; the safety pin dress is $1,500; and a rental Birkin is $600. Clothing sizes are from 0 to 8, and entry is by appointment. Also, there will be an open house (8638 Franklin Ave., Los Angeles) with cocktails and a chance to check out pieces from 6 to 8 p.m. Nov. 13 and 14.
New York-based fashion brand Madewell chose its Santa Monica store as one of a handful in the country to carry its year-old men’s offering. In October, the boutique was reconfigured to hold Madewell’s signature denims and other casual pieces. The brand has a stand-alone men’s store in Brooklyn, N.Y.
“We’re so excited to bring our laid-back men’s offerings to our Santa Monica community as one of our first men’s shop-in-shops in the country,” said Joyce Lee, Madewell’s head of design.
New arrivals for fall include twill shirts in a large checked pattern in autumnal shades of rust and saffron as well as everyday crewneck tees and cashmere sweaters.
Denim is about $110 and up, while puffer jackets are $148 and short-sleeve T-shirts are about $30.
Madewell, 1349 Third Street Promenade, Santa Monica, madewell.com
Kitsch X Justine
While working at the international runway shows earlier this year, L.A. celebrity hairdresser Justine Marjan noticed that hair accessories were everywhere. “It looked like 70% of the models had something in their hair, including the high-end designers,” she said.
Some of those trends she noticed — think sleek headbands and bejeweled clips — are now in the newly launched Kitsch X Justine collection, launched in October, as part of a collaboration between Marjan and the L.A.-based hair accessory company.
“Justine had been authentically using our products anyway and tagging us on Instagram, and we thought, ‘Who is this person?’” said Cassandra Thurswell, owner of Kitsch, which is now sold in 20,000 stores in 27 countries. “It was a cold call.”
The 24 pieces in the line, which is priced from $12 to $49, include faux leather, blush-colored knotted hairbands with gilt chains, patent black scrunchies and hefty rhinestone bobby pins. Clips spell out words such as “boss” and “vibes.” At this year’s Met Gala, model Ashley Graham wore Kitsch hair bling.
“Knotted headbands are a standout this season,” Marjan said. “They can be worn day in, day out. We wanted to make them wearable but feel glamorous.”
Kitsch X Justine, mykitsch.com
One thing you’ll notice about Roven, a multibrand beauty boutique that opened in Venice in October, is that it’s laid out differently from traditional beauty stores. Instead of aisles stacked with products by brand, Roven co-founder Nicole Farb arranged options by morning routine. Therefore, the space starts with cleansers and cleansing oils near the entrance before moving on to toners and moisturizers. Color cosmetics and fragrances are toward the rear of the shop.
“It’s an easy and accessible way to shop clean beauty,” said Farb during the opening party, which was attended by Julianne Hough, an investor in the brand.
There are some 30 brands carried by Roven in-store. (It also launched digitally on the same day.) Brands include Pai, Abel, Burt’s Bees, Lip Whip and Josh Rosebrook. The 1,500-square-foot space is the latest venture from San Francisco-based Grove Collaborative, a natural home products and personal care e-tailer, which reached a $1-billion valuation in September. The store is outfitted in soothing nature-inspired shades of sky blue and sunset. According to Farb, top sellers so far have included the Ere Perez Avocado Waterproof Mascara and Osea Atmosphere Protection Cream. Prices for items range from $12 to $150.
Roven, 1132 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice, grove.co/roven
Cariuma, the Rio de Janeiro-based casual shoe brand that counts Los Angeles as its single largest market, in late October launched its latest piece. It’s called the IBI and it’s a shoe made from a blend of natural and recycled fabrics, originating from bamboo and sugar cane.
“We started planning this shoe 14 months ago,” said Fernando Porto, Cariuma co-founder. “We wanted to use bamboo. It’s a super material that has strength and flexibility but is also lightweight. And it’s a fast-growing plant.”
Porto said the new IBI style is in keeping with the brand’s ethos of creating sneakers that are designed to last “and in an aesthetic that will still be pleasant for your eyes in a decade. We also wanted to minimize waste and make sure we would get to the most sustainable product we could create.”
The IBI style comes in eight colors, ranging from neutrals (sand and stone gray) to bold (raw red and sun yellow), and is available in men’s and women’s sizes. Porto said Cariuma shoe launches usually generate thousands of preorders, the majority of which come from L.A.
“California is like Rio with the culture of surf and skate,” Porto said. “The bamboo makes these very breathable, absorbing the temperature.”
Cariuma IBI, cariuma.com
In figuring out their next move, Oli Walsh, who previously had a creative-agency business with clients such as men’s e-retailer Mr. Porter, and Josh LeVine, co-founder of fashion brand Frame, realized that there was a white space in the men’s grooming and wellness market.
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“It seemed to be showing an antiquated viewpoint of masculinity,” said Walsh. “It didn’t speak to us.”
Therefore, the friends and business partners co-founded Asystem, a skincare and supplements subscription brand predicated on clean ingredients. “The skin care is fragrance-free and with essential oils and other natural ingredients,” LeVine said. “They are formulated according to European standards, which are high.”
The three skin-care products in the Asystem line, which launched in September, include the Twice Daily Invigorating Cleanser, containing bamboo stem cells and bergamot, and the Overnight Rebuilding Cream, which has as a key ingredient the Indian anti-aging herb swertia chirata.
The supplement packets include five capsules, such as a multivitamin and others to boost brain function (omega-3 fatty acids) and overall rebuilding (ashwagandha). In September, Walsh and LeVine opened a 4,200-square-foot space in Venice, where they have events focused on mind and body topics, including guided meditations and workout classes. (Subscribers and customers of the brand are invited to the events.) In October, for example, there was a guided visualization with hypnotherapist Camilla Sacre-Dallerup in partnership with meditation studio Unplug.
“For us, these are the ways to build a community that men would want to be a part of,” LeVine said.
A 30-day supply of the skin-care products as well as supplements is $99. The items also can be ordered separately.
The ritual of bathing and an infusion of CBD (short for cannabidiol) is at the heart of Natureofthings, a luxe Newport Beach-based brand that launched in October.
JP Collett, co-founder of the brand, said he wanted the products to center around three things: plants, water and minerals. The initial rollout, which will be available at Mohawk General Store locations in L.A., comprises six products, including the brand’s Restorative Floral Bath, a concoction of shea butter, green-tea oil and extracts of malachite and quartz; and Nourishing Body Cream (botanical oils, black pepper, a hint of the scent of jasmine).
Natureofthings also makes digestible powders that can be taken daily: Lucidity, with 15 milligrams of CBD — it’s a compound found in cannabis plants — mixed with energizing ingredients such as bacopa and lion’s mane mushroom for daytime; and Soothing, with 30 milligrams of CBD combined with turmeric and black pepper for relaxation and sleep. Collett said the objective of the brand is to offer CBD as “a medicinal and highly effective part of your routine, whether it’s skin care, a dietary supplement or a mix of both.”
Prices range from $50 for a packet of 12 sachets of digestible powder to $150 for the Restorative Floral Bath (enough for five pours).