By  on February 6, 2007

A decade after opening her popular Curve store in Los Angeles, Nevena Borissova has branched out and launched her second unit in Manhattan.

The 1,500-square-foot Curve at 83 Mercer Street is the fraternal twin of Borissova's boutique on Robertson Boulevard. Although the West Coast Curve looks like a minimalist art gallery with concrete floors, white walls and sunlight streaming in through skylights, the SoHo store went for an English haberdashery feel with oak floors, wood moldings, old lampposts, crocodile skin directors' chairs and animal skin rugs. An old banker's desk serves as the cash wrap.

In Los Angeles, Curve's clients include Jennifer Lopez, Cameron Diaz, Mischa Barton and Lindsay Lohan. "The whole CAA Rolodex comes here," Borissova said, referring to the powerful talent agency. In SoHo, early customers include women who own public relations firms, attorneys and suburban housewives.

The two stores do have some things in common, including a roster of lesser-known designers and a selection of coveted vintage labels such as Chanel, Pucci and Leonard.

Borissova believes Curve's highly trained staff, will set it apart from the other upscale multidesigner boutiques. Her criticism of some Manhattan rivals is that "salespeople just push big-ticket items. They don't want to put together a five-piece outfit. The thing that keeps bringing everyone back to Curve is the free styling."

Barbara Constantin, the manager of Curve in SoHo, added, "We're helping people find an individual style that's not based on trends."

Borissova plans to expand that service in Manhattan. "Next year we'll start organizing people's closets," she said. "We'll rearrange their closets in a new way with new outfits each season."

Not that she's implying New Yorkers don't know how to put themselves together. "Styling is a new thing for New York," she said. "People are very confident of their style here."

Borissova estimated that the SoHo store initially will do sales of $1,000 to $1,500 a square foot. "In L.A., we do $2,000 a square foot," she said. "In three years, New York will be bigger than L.A."

The original store does 80 percent of its sales with 500 customers who spend in the thousands of dollars, she said.Curve mixes high and low fashion, Borissova said, although on a recent visit everything seemed high. There were T-shirts for $50 to a $6,000 collectible Lanvin suit. Constantin said Jenni Kaye is a popular resource for everything from cashmere sweaters to leather trenchcoats and strapless silk dresses.

In Los Angeles, Curve sells Burberry Prorsum, Viktor & Rolf and Valentino, but "in New York, that's so saturated. Everyone's doing the names, but no one is doing the young Europeans."

Albino, a Italian collection; Belgian designer Tim Van Steenbergen, and Paris-based Anne Valerie Hash are favorites. "I love 6267," Borissova said. "I buy lines and drop lines and mix them with vintage." There's also Curve's private label, which includes one-of-a-kind mini dresses with lace overlays, priced from $895 to $1,500, and Curve basics, men's wear-inspired items such as vests with double lapels.

Inspired by Lori Goldstein's styling in Italian Vogue, Borissova, then 21, wrote a business plan for a fashion boutique. Her ex-boyfriend invested $50,000 in the business and a producer friend of hers matched it. "I was living off of credit cards, but within six months, I had Curve," she said. Now that Hollywood and celebrities "drive and sell us everything from soap to fashion," Borissova said she wants "to bring to New York a little bit of that Hollywood glamour."

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