by Robby Robinson
The word boulevard conjures up visions of exquisite shops showing stunning clothing in the windows, lively coffee shops, diverse restaurants emitting mouth-watering aromas, gorgeous galleries, unusual book stores, colorful toy shops, inviting pet stores, yummy bakeries – in other words – pure bliss. But wait – that’s our very own Girard Avenue! And Kate Whitney’s new consignment store, Boulevard, has taken The Avenue to a new level. Lucky us! The sensational store carries carefully edited pieces by such designers as Yves St. Laurent, Roberto Cavalli, Thierry Mugler, Todd Oldham, Gucci, Oscar de la Renta, Emilio Pucci, Versace, Chanel, Missoni, and the list goes on and on and on.
Dubbed “Hurricane Kate” by a friend, readies herself in the morning by whirling and twirling through her closet, coming up with an outfit that just feels good. “It’s all about feeling good in the outfit”, Kate states. And her day begins. That poor closet.
What else do we know about Ms. Whitney besides the fact that she wreaks havoc on her closet on a daily basis? Well, she spent the first 6 months of her life in New York City and seriously feels that she forged an attachment to that city in that short time. After moving to Palm Springs for her early school education, Kate moved around a bit- attending Emerson College in Boston and living in LA for a stint while screenwriting in such areas as fantasy, thriller, religion, and – get this – period westerns (her fave). Whitney always spent summers visiting her grandparents at their home in La Jolla Shores. “What was not to love about La Jolla? We lolled on the beach and stayed in the water until 10 pm. Paradise.”, says Whitney. And there were further Kate connections to this precious town. She worked at GQ on Girard for years, admiring the Ascot Shop and Capriccio’s, and generally felt warm and comfortable in La Jolla. Exactly as she feels now, years later, as Boulevard is smack in the middle of Girard. “I love walking to the cleaners and to the cobbler”, states Kate, “this town projects a sense of niceness.”
When consignors come in with designer treasures, I ask “How can you put them out onto the store floor and not hang them into your home closet?” “Well, I have a routine around this impulse”, says Kate. “I’ll put the prize in the trunk of my car for two weeks. If I still love it after the two weeks – it’s mine!” What’s your most recent consignor -to car trunk- to your closet acquisition? “A red quilted satin Chanel clutch shoulder bag with gold double Cs and a gold chain.” Exquisite! Dreamy! Drool! More drool.
As I enter Boulevard, Ms. Whitney enthusiastically bounds to the door welcoming me into her chic and comfy store/salon. She is clad in a white crew neck sweater with a blue seahorse emblem (which she bought from a hotel gift shop), bedazzled Zara jeans, the most gorgeous electric blue Chanel lace-up boots imaginable-and a newsboy hat – topping off her look. Her style has me responding – “Dress me!”.
Kate believes in mixing her vintage designer clothing with today’s pieces. “Throw on a St. John jacket with leggings and Adidas sneaks”, (nice) – “or wear a Versace dress with a denim jacket”(Ooooh). Her style of customer service is a bit unique. When customers come out of the dressing room inquiring whether the outfit is flattering, Kate will say, “How do you feel in and does it make you happy? That’s the answer! “Feeling great in the clothes will bring out the light in you”, emphatically states Ms. Whitney. “If you feel good in the outfit, you will light up, your stars will align, and Lassie will come home.”
What’s your favorite thing about your boutique, Kate? “The array of women who come into the store”, Whitney says enthusiastically. Fascinating women who are bright, insightful, and fun! I see local women, international tourists, bank presidents, CEOs of large companies, and moms of three kids that carve out time to come in – every day is an adventure and a story. I just love it.”
How’s your fashion designer knowledge? Let’s find out. Here are some fun fashion designer facts:
Donna Karan dropped out of school at age 14. She began selling clothes at a local boutique, and years later she was accepted at the Parsons School of Design. She then rose up through the Anne Klein empire, began her own company, and is known as one of the most influential fashion designers in the world. I guess never having studied trigonometry didn’t really impact her career.
Miuccia Prada graduated from the University of Milan with a Ph.D. in poly sci. She was always active in the women’s rights movement. Get this – she trained at the Teatro Piccolo to become a mime and performed for 5 years.
Ralph Lauren began his career in fashion as a tie maker, selling ties out of a drawer in a showroom at the Empire State Building. He made the ties out of fabrics that he found himself. In the early days of his necktie business, his wife and her parents would sew in the labels.
Gabrielle Bonheur “Coco” Chanel is perhaps the most well-known fashion designer of all time. When Coco was 12, her mother passed away from TB and her father left the family. She spent the next 6 years in an orphanage. Oy! Chanel left the orphanage to join a circus as a cabaret singer – thus the nickname “Coco’ came to be. She later became a licensed hatmaker and owned her first shop in 1910. The rest is history and her brand is best known for costume jewelry, two-tone shoes (the best!), quilted bags (yum!), and simple suits made of tweed or jersey.
Kate Whitney has pizzaz, style, and energy galore -come in and meet Kate – she’s great!
The best news of all is that last month Kate opened a second location at 7734 Herschel Ave Suite J called BLVD where everything is at least 40% off. It’s like the outlet store of an already great store.
Well, if you cannot get to Paris Fashion Week this year, (darn), instead – browse Boulevard!