Byline: Marcy Medina
LOS ANGELES — It’s the middle of the afternoon and several young women are sprawled on a black velvet day bed sipping Ice Blendeds from Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf, reading magazines and getting manicures. Though it sounds like the opening scene of a girly new sitcom, in fact it’s just another day at Tracey Ross’s Sunset Boulevard boutique. Thanks to the clubby atmosphere and the fact that clients like Tori Spelling, Kate Hudson and Reese Witherspoon drop by regularly for their fashion fixes, the boutique has become an L.A. institution over the past 10 years.
To celebrate a decade in business, Ross threw a party for 600 of her best customers and friends Friday night at Cicada restaurant.
“I felt like it was so narcissistic to do it, but it’s an excuse to give a good party and give back to all of my clients and friends,” she says. Those clients and friends included Winona Ryder, Selma Blair, Rod Stewart, Gina Gershon, Rachel Hunter, Penelope Cruz, Ted Demme, Zoe Cassavetes, Sofia Coppola and Spike Jonze.
Ross has been working in retail since she was 16.
“I had a knack for it, I guess,” she said. “And I realized a knight in shining armor wasn’t coming to rescue me so I had to rescue myself.”
In 1990, before specialty boutiques dotted every corner, she opened her doors on Robertson Boulevard. At the time, agnes b. and Les Habitudes were her only neighbors.
“I thought it was a great idea because everybody went to the Ivy. People valet parked there and walked down after lunch,” she said.
Having acquired L.A.’s power lunchers as clients, Ross moved in 1996 to Sunset Boulevard to combat her rising rent. Soon after, stores like D&G, Anna Sui, Emporio Armani and Hugo followed suit.
Ross’s racks, which include everything from Ungaro to Juicy Couture, reflect her own eclectic style, but as she sees it, “people can come here and find their look. I’m a chameleon.”
Describing her 1,600-square-foot space as “a mom-and-daughter store,” Ross admits that some of her oldest clients came in family pairs: Alana and Kimberly Stewart and Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson.
“Katie was just a high school kid hanging out before she became, you know, a famous person,” said Ross. Now, it seems, the next generation of Hollywood moms is making the rounds.
“When Julianne [Moore] had her baby she would come in and breast feed and change diapers,” Ross says. “The first trip Rosanna Arquette and her baby took was to my store.”
Courtney Love came to Ross when she was making the transition from rocker to actress. “She trusted me because I wasn’t starstruck,” Ross says. “I so don’t care about that,” (Love missed the party because she flew to Milan at Donatella Versace’s behest.)
Indeed, the store’s success owes no small amount to Ross’s attentiveness to the hankerings of her famous customers. Kidada Jones happily recalls how Ross took her to the Chloe show in Paris. “She sat me in the front row and two months later had the items I wanted waiting for me in the store. “