Attention, budding labels-to-be: For firsthand research, hit the sales floor. “We were all salespeople at Ron Herman,” designer Molly Coonan explained about meeting her muse, Alice Barlow, and Mike & Chris designer P.J. Faulstick (pictured). “I was the worst one, though. P.J. was amazing! He would outsell everybody, so he would ring some of his sales under my number because he didn’t want me to get fired.” The Silver Lake-based designer has come a long way since, but maybe the grunt work was worth the lasting friendships. Coonan tapped Barlow as the muse for her new line, Barlow, and threw a seven-course dinner and party with Shopbop.com last night to celebrate its official launch. Faulstick was also on hand at Los Feliz on the Lower East Side—the friends now find both their labels enviably backed by Cynthia Vincent’s company—and so, too, was Barlow’s budding fan base, which included Blake Lively, Metric’s Emily Haines, and Grey’s Anatomy‘s Melissa George.
Over ceviche and tuna burritos, George chatted happily about decamping to more fashionable terroir. “I’m so happy that I’m in New York now. When I arrived in L.A. eight years ago, I would wear high-waisted denim jeans with a smart striped top and nobody would get it,” the actress said. As after-partiers filled the basement space, fellow L.A.-to-NYC transplant Harley Viera-Newton (and her DJ partner, Cassie Coane) hopped on the decks. Turns out Harley also had a go at the salesgirl life early on but opted to pass. “Ugh, retail is the worst,” she said. “I met Molly way back when we were both working at Curve. But it’s funny. I deejayed Curve’s party last week and now Molly’s. It’s like I’ve come full circle.”