LOS ANGELES — Alice + Olivia has opened a 1,300-square-foot boutique on Robertson Boulevard here.
The store is the second for owner and designer Stacey Bendet. The first Alice + Olivia boutique opened in East Hampton, N.Y., in May 2005 after Bendet expanded the pants-only line to include tops, skirts and dresses with co-designer Celerie Kemble.
“I wanted to open somewhere that would be really great exposure, but still had a younger, more eclectic vibe,” said 27-year-old Bendet. “It’s the same in East Hampton, [in that] you know your customer there and you get a lot of foot traffic.”
The street’s strong ties to Hollywood’s elite (paparazzi regularly lurk in nearby bushes) was another key reason for opening here, said Bendet.
“Being on Robertson is amazing for celebrity outreach — from a press perspective,” she said.
The boutique, which opened last month, is a study in opposites. White walls and a white-painted concrete floor are juxtaposed with black chandeliers and an all-black dressing room area, which boasts 12-foot-tall mirrors and a Regency-style black-and-white sofa. Merchandise hangs around the store’s perimeters, separated into distinct color groupings: chocolate-bronze and ivory, nautical navy and white, black and white, and hot pink and white.
Most groupings include solid-color, drapey knit tops, priced just over $200; bolero jackets in stretch fabrics, at around $250, and knit pull-on and wrap dresses that cost between $250 and $300.
Most notable, however, is Alice + Olivia’s wide range of pant styles, priced between $165 and $297. Current looks include seersucker shortie-shorts; white pleated wide-leg trousers; black cropped, tab-front pants, and navy-and-white striped leggings.
The company’s apparel debuted in 2002 at Barneys New York. That same year, Bendet invited Andrew Rosen, founder of Theory, to a presentation of the brand’s initial collection, called “Just Pants,” at New York’s Russian Tea Room. Models walked the room in pants — but otherwise unclothed — holding flowers. “He thought, ‘This is really cool. It’s a quirkier kind of Theory,'” said Bendet.
Soon after, Rosen became Bendet’s official partner in the company, which has since become known for its well-fitting pants, rendered in striped and patterned fabrics.
Bendet said she hopes to break $1 million in sales in 2006 at the new store, adding that the unit here will likely be a location where the company will experiment with limited-edition, custom-made pieces, such as the reworked vintage rock T-shirt currently on a mannequin in the front window.
“It’s kind of like a little designer playground,” she said.