Tracy Feith and Winnie Beattie go way back. “She was one of my first employees,” said Feith, speaking by phone while driving in Los Angeles. By Beattie’s estimation, she was more like the third person to join Feith’s team over 20 years ago when he was starting his collection for surfy beach babes and she was a kid from Missouri desperate to be in fashion. Now Feith is working for Beattie. She hired him to design the women’s ready-to-wear line she’s launching next week for spring. It’s called Warm, just like the popular New York City store she opened in NoLIta with her husband Rob Magnotta in 2012.
This will come as great news to Feith fans, who’ve been wondering what became of him after he closed his business in 2010 (He was quietly creative directing at Toms Shoes). “I was really starting to feel the itch to get back into design and fashion again,” said Feith. “It was an easy, natural kind of collection for me to take on because it’s quite similar to the TF girl of a few years ago.
“Oh! And I initially wanted to do it because I’m friends with Winnie,” he added. “She and I appreciate the same stuff and style and all that.”
The lineup is 70 pieces, mostly dresses with a chic earthiness to them. Beattie called it “the Marais meets Santa Cruz” and within the range are groups called Lady of the Canyon and Dance Hall. Everything is made in Los Angeles and priced from $500 to $2,500. While it will be sold at Warm, it’s really a wholesale collection launching with a presentation Sept. 9 during New York Fashion Week.
Warm is just one of Beattie and her husband’s full-time jobs. She runs Siren Public Relations and he owns the photography agency Edge Reps. “We work really hard in the city, but every chance we can we grab the kids and go surf or go snowboard,” said Beattie, who met Magnotta after paddling around him for a year when they were both surfing in Montauk. “We always joke, ‘Let’s go where it’s warm.’” That’s where the name came from.
When they opened the store, it was a passion project to reflect their shared love of surf and skate culture and an attempt to fill the void left when Feith, Jane Mayle and Tracey Ross in L.A. went out of business. “Our accountant was like, ‘Great, the fastest way to lose money is to open a store,’” said Beattie. But three and a half years in, the store is profitable. “We’re not getting rich quick,” said Beattie, noting, however, that there is room to grow.
Feith is not the only well-known fashion person getting cozy with Warm. From its orbit of shoppers and fans, Beattie has struck some interesting partnerships. As a wedding gift her friend, perfumer Sarah Horowitz, gave her a custom scent described as “a dirty day at the beach.” Beattie has been selling it at the store as a body oil and fragrance, and now Nicky Kinnaird, who exited Space NK last year, is consulting on Warm’s introduction of a beauty line — hair salt spray, lip balm, fragrance and body oils, candles and body cream in five different scents — to launch for fall 2016. They had known each other professionally through beauty p.r., and reconnected when Kinnaird was shopping at the store.
A similar story applies to Brett Heyman of Edie Parker, who has signed on as the financial partner in all things Warm going forward. After participating in the CFDA/Vogue Fashion Fund competition last year with Edie Parker, Heyman became interested in investing in small fashion lines using her and her husband Greg Heyman’s personal money. Heyman didn’t disclose the stake she took in Warm, but it’s purely financial and is not the last fashion investment she plans on making, although nothing else has closed yet. “A lot of people have a lifestyle brand that’s not the life they live and it’s the opposite with Winnie and Rob,” said Heyman. “They’ve done such a good job of articulating it already. You can go in that store and smell the fragrance and see their buy and know what they’re doing.”
It seems Warm is just heating up.