NOT JUST ANOTHER BLAND FROM L.A.
ITS NEUTRAL NAME SUITS BEIGE NOT IN COLOR, BUT IN STYLE: BEING A CLEAN PALATE WITH WHICH TO TASTE SOME SPICE.
Byline: Kristin Young
Beige has its place as a fashion hue, but not on the shelves of the new contemporary boutique opened last month by two young, fashion-minded Angelenos.
So why, then, did they name their store, of all things, Beige?
“We keep on having people ask us that, and I’m, like, ‘Well, of course not,”‘ said Tina Webb, a Los Angeles clothing designer. “Nobody looks good in beige.”
Obviously, there’s irony at work here. To Webb and her partner, Kelly Peterson — fresh from a three-year sales associate stint at the Madison boutique on Robertson Boulevard — beige is not so much a neutral shade, as a spare state of mind, which works almost in counterpart to the store’s emphasis on provocative contemporary clothing.
While beige, the color, exploded in the Sixties and that is the decade that influences Webb most, she insisted that at no time has she been tempted to carry the hue. “Part of the reason we chose the name is because as a color, beige is very nondescript,” said Webb. “It’s very open. It’s very clean, and a nonprejudiced color, and that’s the whole feeling we wanted to have.”
The 1,200-square-foot boutique is at 7274 Beverly Boulevard, just a few doors down from the venerable Richard Tyler boutique. Beige is sparse in design — with white walls, stripped and stained cement floors, and neo-modernist furniture and lamps — but warm in spirit. All of the furniture at the boutique, some by Gucci, is for sale.
The clothing is segmented into distinct areas: funky and casual, formal and sophisticated, and bohemian. But contemporary reigns above all, by local designers Ina Celaya, Frankie B., Lilly Cheung and Alicia Lawhon. Other resources include Mark Kroeker, Arana Caras, Nicole Anenberg and Mapuche. Price points generally range from $300 for a pair of jeans to $1,000 for a coat.
The merchandise was culled from the partners’ buying trips to New York and downtown Los Angeles. “I would wear everything in this store at a different time for a different occasion,” said Webb, noting she personally tries on the merchandise before she places a buy. In January, the two will make their first trek into the European market.
“That’s really where we’re heading,” Webb mused, emphasizing the clothing must have elements of funk to it. “We don’t want to carry what everybody else is carrying. We want to carry interesting pieces — pieces people will talk about.”
Following the lead of many other forward Los Angeles retailers, vintage clothes will become a part of the mix — but, again, with an exclusive edge. “I think it needs to be very strong before we put it out,” said Webb. “There really has to be amazing details to leather and fabrics, because there’s so much amazing vintage out there.”