IF IT'S PARIS, IT MUST BE COLETTE; in Every Glamorous City Is a Must-Go Boutique - and, Large or Small, These Retail Meccas Are Universally Masterminded by Women. YOU Opens the Secret International Address Book That Will Fast-Track You to Style Heaven
Byline: SARAH WHARTON
The address: Browns, 23-27 South Molton Street, London W1; brownsfashion.com The owner: Joan Burstein, aka Mrs B, and her husband Sidney.
Browns was founded in 1970 as a small boutique on South Molton Street.
Thirty-six years later, the elegant Mrs B continues to run the show - now a loop of stores in London's Mayfair, stocking the creme de la creme of occasion and casual wear. Burstein has one of the best fashion noses in the business: in 1984 she famously bought John Galliano's entire graduate collection, which then sold out. Missoni, one of Browns' first labels, was another shrewd pick. 'We helped put one another on the map,' says Mrs B.
The reason to go: for a sure-fire fashion hit.
You need no actual taste of your own to emerge from this store looking anything less than divine, because a crack buying team and league of diplomatic sales assistants won't let you. 'The key is to offer that little bit extra when it comes to choice and superior service,' says Burstein.
At the flagship store you'll find Alexander McQueen, Jil Sander, Comme des Garcons, newcomer Marios Schwab and plenty more.
Those with an embarrassment of style (and youth) usually head to the fashion-fierce Browns Focus over the road, to find out who or what is the hottest property of the day. And for the broke or betrothed, Labels for Less and Browns Brides are within walking distance.
THE MUST-HAVE: the Fendi B bag, [pounds sterling]955.
THE HOT-SELLER: cult 70s footwear - the Kork-Ease suede wedge, [pounds sterling]120; Issa dresses, from [pounds sterling]360.
THE PRICE RANGE: from hand cream by Liz Earle at [pounds sterling]8.25 to Monique Lhuiller's laser-cut gown, [pounds sterling]16,490, available from Browns Brides
The address: Kirna ZabIte, 96 Greene Street, SoHo, New York 10012; kirnazabete.com The owners: Sarah Beasley and Beth Buccini.
Best friends Beasley and Buccini bonded as sorority sisters at the University of Virginia.
Beasley sharpened her retail claws at Christian Lacroix, while Buccini became a fashion editor at style-savvy New York magazine. Frustrated by the lack of interesting labels in the city, they decided to join the front line.
'It became our mission to bring in super-high-end designers in a bright, cheerful, non intimidating environment,' says Beasley. Kirna ZabIte (a marriage of their college nicknames) was born in 1999.
The reason to go: for a fun experience but a serious fashion fix. The two-storey boutique has a lilac floor and hot pink railings, and is stuffed with clothes and accessories that are bang on the pulse. Alongside high-octane names such as Lanvin and Chloe, Kirna Zabete keeps its trademark boho edge by embracing new designers you won't have seen anywhere else in the city, like Egyptian jewellery designer Dima. It's this forward mix that keeps stylists, celebs and style-thirsty locals flowing in. 'It's a very personal endeavour,' says Beasley.
'We stocked Rick Owens seven years ago, when he was still distressing his collection in his own washing machine,' adds Buccini. 'And Balenciaga, when no one knew what it was. We are proud to have grown up alongside them.'
THE MUST-HAVE: Lanvin's trompe l'oeil boots in nude and black patent, $1,370; Viktor & Rolf's ruffle front trench, $2,125.
THE HOT-SELLER: Derek Lam leggings, $490; Chloe Edith bag, $1,275; Thakoon's black and white striped top, $495.
THE PRICE RANGE: $3 candy to a $10,000 evening gown
The address: Colette, 213 Rue Saint-Honore, 75001 Paris; colette.fr The owner: Colette Rousseau.
The elusive owner of concept store Colette could be mistaken for nothing but a concept herself: she never gives interviews and prefers to be known by only her first name. It is said that she …
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Publication information: Article title: IF IT'S PARIS, IT MUST BE COLETTE; in Every Glamorous City Is a Must-Go Boutique - and, Large or Small, These Retail Meccas Are Universally Masterminded by Women. YOU Opens the Secret International Address Book That Will Fast-Track You to Style Heaven. Contributors: Not available. Newspaper title: The Mail on Sunday (London, England). Publication date: August 27, 2006. Page number: 44. © 2009 Solo Syndication Limited. COPYRIGHT 2006 Gale Group.
This material is protected by copyright and, with the exception of fair use, may not be further copied, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means.