Cute And Contemporary?
Cut It, And They Will Come
As one of the undisputed go-to’s for Isabel Marant, Alaïa, and Preen in L.A., West Third Street’s Satine boutique has built a fiercely loyal clientele who trust owner Jeannie Lee to buy the best of the best collections season after season. But for the woman on a budget, all Alaïa all the time can be hard to manage. “It’s very difficult to find great clothes at the contemporary price point,” Lee admitted. “That lower price point so often just compromises quality and design.” So, together with one of her very first customers, former model Kelly Sawyer Patricof, Lee founded her own private label to fill the void. With Sawyer as creative director, the duo turned out a tight collection of basics with an Angeleno twist: among them, colored silk pants in the most eye-catching sherbet shades, a double-tie strapless dress, an accordion-pleat chiffon skirt with a curved hem, collectible linen tees, and silk boat-neck blouses.
“Two role models for me and the line are Alexander Wang and Isabel Marant,” the retailer went on. “They’re these two brands that give you this feeling that you’re buying into this beautiful brand that really means something and it’s not prohibitively expensive. That formula is genius.” Her own formula, she admitted, was somewhat unlikely. “We almost worked backwards. Instead of working from a design board, we started coming up with ideas and designs that we liked and what works and what’s flattering and what sells, what we feel is going to be in, what we’re looking for, it just all kind of came together as a story.” That story tells a decidedly West Coast tale. “L.A. style is definitely a little more relaxed and easy, but there is a large group of women that are stylish, current, and are paying attention to the shows and what’s going on in the world,” Sawyer added. (She did note that their clientele spans both coasts and that the line has elicited plenty of attention in New York.) “There’s an easy elegance to the way women dress in L.A. and we’re catering to that customer.”