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April 20 2014

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5 posts tagged "Satine"

Cute And Contemporary?
Cut It, And They Will Come

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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.”

Photos: Courtesy of Satine

Jensen-Conroy’s Knit Wit

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Knitwear may not be the first thing you think of wearing when the temperature tops 90 degrees. But the funky, tribal-inflected statement pieces from Jensen-Conroy will make you think again: The signature knit-wrapped necklaces and cuffs from Wade Jensen and Moire Conroy’s jewelry line are plenty cool in or out of the A/C. Launched last year at the directional Lower East Side boutique Maryam Nassir Zadeh, the collection is now expanding to shops such as Satine and Colette. “When we first went into Maryam, we were exploring lots of ideas,” recalls Jensen. “Now that we’re pretty much focused on the knit pieces, it’s actually helping us create a platform where we can start experimenting again.” Conroy, who designed her own line prior to co-founding Jensen-Conroy with her former schoolmate Wade, notes that neither she nor her partner come from a traditional jewelry background, and that their next phase of experimentation includes learning more about metals and plating. But she adds that the duo are planning to develop their own textiles, too. “Not just for jewelry, but for scarves and possibly other accessories, too,” Conroy explains. “I like the idea of bringing a different texture to jewelry—a little softness.”

Photo: Steven Torres

Jeffrey Monteiro’s New Shoes

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As much pleasure as there is in a pair of pristine, box-fresh shoes, the fact remains that most pairs are basically non-functional until they’ve been broken in. At some point, some designer was going to figure out how to square the circle, producing comfortable new shoes with lived-in character. We’re pleased to report that Jeffrey Monteiro has done just that. His debut shoe collection comprises three styles that he describes as having “something a little rough and rustic and disheveled about them.”

Monteiro, who initially produced the shoes for his Spring 2010 lookbook, drew on the same inspirations for his footwear as for his ready-to-wear—a photograph of writer Katherine Anne Porter and pictures taken by New Deal-era fashion photographer George Platt Lynes, who shot society types against the backdrop of abandoned buildings and overgrown yards. “Once the shoes were finished, I liked them so much I figured I might as well see if retailers were interested,” Monteiro says. They were. Stuart & Wright and Satine were among the first shops to pounce. Though Monteiro can’t entirely put his finger on their exact allure: “They don’t make a ton of sense if you look at the elements. Why a zipper, and a wooden heel? Why eyelets?” he muses. “But I think it all comes together in spirit.” We agree.

Photos: Courtesy of Jeffrey Monteiro

Talking Expansion Plans With Satine’s Jeannie Lee

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A lot has changed in the six years since Jeannie Lee opened her boutique Satine on a cozy stretch of Third Street in West Hollywood. Third Street, for example, has gone from a pedestrian-friendly series of blocks intermittently dotted with shops to one of L.A.’s key retail destinations—a change due, in part, to the presence of Satine. Shopping in Los Angeles is different now: The city is peppered with independent boutiques, each one expressing a unique, carefully cultivated point of view, and all of them, in so doing, following a template set by Satine. Lee made unconventional and off-the-beaten-track look easy—and maybe, at the height of the boom, it was. Now, in the teeth of the bust, she’s charting a new course. The most noticeable change? Next month, Satine moves to a new location, a space across the street and just down the block, but more than double the size of the current shop. Here, she talks to Style.com about silver linings, unmentionables, and Michelle Obama.

Everyone else seems to be downsizing. What made you decide you wanted to move Satine to a larger space?
Well, my lease was ending, and I decided to consider my options. One silver lining to this economy is that rents have fallen, and so that made a larger space affordable, at the same time that I was feeling ready to spread out. I love my store now, but it’s crowded.

Continue Reading “Talking Expansion Plans With Satine’s Jeannie Lee” »

Waiting For The Other Balmain Sandal To Drop on Boutique Closings

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If you missed the news just before the holidays, Tracey Ross announced that she was closing her trailblazing Los Angeles boutique on New Year’s Eve, after 18 years of selling high-end fashion with her particular SoCal slant to a dedicated, celeb- studded clientele. There’s been a lot of bad news on the fashion front between Thanksgiving and now, so we’ll remind you that in November, retail doyenne Linda Dresner also announced that she would close her famed Park Avenue boutique. It opened in 1983. Though Dresner is keeping her original shop in Birmingham, Michigan, both she and Ross cited department-store desperation in the form of early sales and deep discounts as a major factor in their demise. How can the little guy (or gal, as the case may be) compete with 70 percent off at Neiman Marcus? Apparently, not very well. But these specialty stores don’t merely offer just another cash register to buy a dress. What fans of Dresner, ranging from Jackie O to Carine Roitfeld, loved was her eye—one that enabled her to support designers like Tom Binns and Rick Owens early on. In a recent interview with WWD, Dresner decried the lack of creativity in retailing. There are, of course, great specialty stores still standing in both New York (Opening Ceremony, Jeffrey) and Los Angeles (Opening Ceremony, Satine, Mameg), as well as San Francisco’s Susan and Chicago’s Ikram. And Milan Vukmirovic’s soon-to-open Miami boutique The Webster is the source of much buzz. But it wouldn’t be surprising to hear of yet another closing in the near future. Is the ever-worsening economy spelling the end of the boutique with a finely honed point of view? Tell us what you think.