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LOS ANGELES — The founders of Foley + Corinna know what they want when they see it.
Dana Foley and Anna Corinna, who opened their first West Coast boutique Tuesday on Melrose Avenue here, were in Los Angeles to launch their resort collection when they saw the 1,000-square-foot space this summer and decided to rent it on the spot.
The line, known for Corinna’s vintage pieces and leather bags and Foley’s original feminine designs, originated eight years ago when the pair met after occupying adjacent stalls in a Manhattan street market. They opened their signature boutique on Stanton Street on the Lower East Side and plan to launch a second Manhattan store in April on the Upper East Side.
The Melrose Avenue store is similar in scale to the Stanton Street space and will carry about the same amount of merchandise, though the look will be largely different. While the New York store has hanging chandeliers, antique sofas and heavy curtains, the Melrose Avenue unit has what Corinna called a distinctly West Coast feel, with a cleaner, more streamlined look.
"This one is a little more sleek and glamorous, a little more Los Angeles," she said. "People here shop differently than in New York. We were warned there isn’t the pedestrian traffic in Los Angeles that you have in New York, but along this strip here, the area has such a great mix of shops that it’s developing into a great walking area."
There are other unique touches, too: Foley and Corinna had Brooklyn-based graphic designer Jill Malek custom make blue wallpaper with huge silver angels emblazoned on the covering specifically for the store.
Though the line of handbags and clothing has been wholesaled in Los Angeles since its inception eight years ago, Corinna said she doesn’t believe the new location, near stores such as Fred Segal, which have long carried Foley and Corinna, will detract from sales. Instead, she hopes that Melrose Avenue’s popularity boosts the brand’s profile.
"This isn’t an untested market for us….We have a great customer base out here," Corinna said. "We have stores with our items in almost every retail hub in the area."
It took the pair three to four months to outfit the store after they signed their 10-plus-year lease.
The space is divided almost evenly between handbags and clothing, with the purses sitting along the top of polished brass wall racks that line the rectangular space. Only about 10 percent of the items are vintage, and the goods are California-specific — shoppers won’t find too many heavy winter coats or sweaters. Racks are lined with colorful, ruched sleeveless tops and light, pretty dresses.
The stretch of Los Angeles’ Melrose Avenue that Foley and Corinna call home also houses a number of other luxury retail outposts, including the likes of Marc Jacobs, Diane von Furstenberg, Monique Lhuillier and Marni, with Chloé and Catherine Malandrino stores scheduled to open on Melrose Place, just blocks from the pair’s boutique.
Jay Luchs, a senior vice president at CB Richard Ellis who specializes in brokering luxury retail spaces in the area, said retail rents, which are now in the $8- to $12-per-square-foot range, are being driven up.
"There are several different areas of Melrose that are becoming very sought after, particularly by New York boutiques," Luchs said.