NEW YORK — While those who summer in East Hampton tend to favor the preppy side of fashion, a dose of serpentine sexiness is coming to town with the new Devi Kroell boutique, which opens Saturday at 2 Main Street.
Kroell, who launched a signature accessories line two years ago and has been nominated for two Council of Fashion Designers of America awards since, is known for her overt use of exotic skins such as python, karung and anaconda. She has been expanding into new product categories at a rapid pace, with the introduction last fall of a footwear line. This fall, the firm will add fur coats, small leather goods and cold-weather items such as fox fur-trimmed mittens and leather gloves with python piping. Although the designer’s wares are now sold at Barneys New York, Nordstrom and Jeffrey locations, her mission is to have her clients experience the entire brand at once.
“[This store] is a window into my world,” said the Austrian-born Kroell, who wants to open a Manhattan location in 2007.
The 2,000-square-foot store in East Hampton, which will close sometime in December and reopen in April, is located in the London Jewelers building and has Catherine Malandrino, Elie Tahari and Tiffany & Co. as neighbors. The space is still getting some finishing touches, such as plush couches and additional furniture, as Kroell wants it to have the feeling of a full-service shoe and handbag salon. Products retail from $90 for a luggage tag to $1,400 for larger day bags.
“I would like the store to be an extension of your living room,” said Kroell. “It’s important that the customer feels comfortable while shopping; I want it to be cozy.”
The designer is offering an exclusive collection of 30 assorted bags, sandals and boots in muted, sandy-colored skins inspired by the beaches of the Hamptons. Retail prices for the Hampton Collection range from $90 to $1,400 for a jeweled wooden evening clutch. The python boots go as high as $1,990.
Kroell did not project sales for the store. The firm, which also has a budding e-commerce business, is moving the entire inventory from its New York showroom to the store.
“[Opening a store in] Manhattan is linked to bigger risk,” said Kroell. “It would be more challenging from a merchandising and stock [standpoint]. During the summer [in East Hampton], you have a good sample of the Manhattan population. It’s a good indicator. After all, this is my first retail experience.”