Brazilian-born Patricia Assui Reed worked for brands such as Tiffany & Co. and Polo Ralph Lauren before connecting with São Paulo-based shopping center giant Iguatemi and becoming executive producer of Iguatemi Fashion Talks, the biggest fashion conference in Latin America. Assui Reed, who was instrumental in bringing Christian Louboutin, Diane Von Furstenberg, Goyard and Vilebrequin, among others to Iguatemi malls, is now working on a more personal project, closer to home: the launch of Matriark, an 1,100-square-foot fashion and lifestyle store in Sag Harbor.
“I always wanted to start my own business, but I didn’t want to open another store,” Assui Reed said. “The world doesn’t need another store. But I’m a merchant at heart and I’ve always liked that business. I decided to open a store in a more meaningful way.”
Matriark, located on the ground floor of an 1870 Carpenter Gothic residence at 133 Main Street, features products exclusively from women-owned companies and will operate 12 months of the year. “Sag Harbor is the only year-round town in the Hamptons,” Assui Reed said. “I live here and stores, restaurants, everything is open. Obviously it’s going to be a lot quieter. We’ll be open seven days a week, at least for the summer.”
Assui Reed’s female-focused approach stems from her dismay in finding few women in positions of power as she rose through the industry ranks. “It started to bother me,” said Assui Reed, who claims that only 14 percent of major fashion brands are led by women. “It’s a real disconnect from fashion school, where 99 percent of the students were women. It’s always been something I paid attention to.
“I want to focus on more casual brands,” Assui Reed said. “There’s something easy and fun about the Hamptons lifestyle. Chufy caftans have beautiful prints and are very global because they’re inspired by Japan,” said Assui Reed, whose grandparents were Japanese. “Merlette’s flowing dresses are very easy and fit every woman’s body. Amaiò swimwear is gorgeous, and designer Adriana Degreas is Brazilian.”
Other ready-to-wear labels, priced from $300 to $700, include Alix of Bohemia, Côme Éditions, Elena Makri, Family Affairs, Fite, Harlin, Industry Standard, Live The Process, Martha Medeiros, Missoni, M Missoni, Rachel Antonoff, Sold Out NYC and Tibi. Eugenia Kim, Lele Sadoughi, Pamela Love, Lucy Folk and Seven All Around provide the accessories.
Assui Reed also tapped Brooklyn-based ceramicists, including Daphné Verley, who designs everything from small bowls to huge sculptural pieces, and is the mother of Alix of Bohemia designer Alix Verley-Pientrafesa. Matriark also features Missoni Home, Casa Violeta and Agnes Studio.
The store is showcasing a revolving selection of art, with Christina Zimpel’s work now in residence. There’s also a reading room and terrace with pergola. “I’m going to use the house for events and trunk shows,” Assui Reed said. “I want to have book signings and discussions, and I want to open the store to the community for art shows.”
Assui Reed said she’s become more conscious and discerning about how she spends her money, and she believes other women are doing the same. “I kept looking for companies that I could support,” she said. “The big luxury brands are owned by big groups. I had to dig in a little and research smaller brands.”
Matriark’s business model allows for 10 percent of profits to be donated to The Retreat, which provides domestic violence and sexual assault services to Eastern Long Island. “As we make more money, I’ll add a national organization,” Assui Reed said. “I have to give money to those who need it more than anyone else.”