By  on October 10, 2011

LOS ANGELES — The public is getting its first look at Monika Chiang with the new brand’s retail debut on Robertson Boulevard.

Designed with Space Architects, the 1,300-square-foot store provides a lush and feminine backdrop to Monika Chiang’s powerful clothing and accessories collections heavy on studs, spikes, black and leather. The interior space is divided into three rooms to foster an intimate shopping experience, and the flooring, furniture and walls stick to a soft palette of blues, grays and whites punctuated by a large chandelier out of brass, a signature material that’s fashioned into organic shapes on the store’s facade.

“I want people to feel like they are walking into their dressing room,” said Chiang.

Monika Chiang is backed by J. Christopher Capital LLC, owned by Christopher Burch, who is also co-chairman of the board of ex-wife Tory Burch’s namesake business.

The opening party for the store Monday night was attended by Paula Patton, Sofia Vergara and Shenae Grimes. Next up for Monika Chiang is a preview store in New York that could open as soon as next week on Prince Street before a permanent store bows in four months on Wooster Street.

Burch, who is working to develop eight brands, including Monika Chiang, C. Wonder and Electric Love Army with Kelly Cutrone, said he is investing $15 million to $20 million over four to five years to build Monika Chiang, although he wouldn’t discuss sales projections for the brand. He said the plans are for Monika Chiang to open five stores in 2012, when the brand anticipates starting to wholesale as well, and add 20 more the following year. The retail road map for Monika Chiang could take it to France, Japan, Hong Kong and Mainland China.

“Everything is about the highest quality, but at a very approachable price,” said Burch. “We built our own shoe factory to manufacture shoes for this brand. We brought Italians in. We wanted quality that no one has ever done in China.”

Andrea Hyde, former president and chief executive officer of French Connection Holdings Inc. in the U.S., has been brought on board as acting president of Monika Chiang, but Burch was quick to give Chiang the credit for shaping the brand. “Monika is really setting the vision and the design. I’m here for support,” he said. “It’s what she wants to wear. The brand started out as strictly handbags and within a matter of weeks, it became much more. It is a real lifestyle brand.”

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