Foxhole (Miami Beach) – Hidden in a Miami Beach alleyway; a very high-priced trip down the Foxhole to a universe of arcade games, DJs, vintage firearms, and grafitti-covered walls.
Lindsay Lebby knows a thing or two about the needs of stylish LA women. She’s the director of Arcade Boutique, the West Hollywood one-stop shop for all things designer, and along with boutique owner Rochelle Gores, Lebby and the Arcade crew are making sure that every chic-loving girl in town knows about their fashion Mecca. More after the jump on accommodating celebs, the new in-demand website, and cleaning out your closet to get the perfect new look.
Retail on the brain: I’ve been in the retail industry pretty much my whole life. In high school and in college, I worked at little boutiques and managed stores. I briefly moved to New York, where I worked for Intermix , and I was brought back by Guess. There, I managed the retail marketing department for North America. It was quite a bit of travel and it was managing the day-to-day dealings of over 400 Guess stores. I met Rochelle shortly after moving back from New York. We hit it off right away and became very good friends. I helped her out when she opened her store, spent a lot of time there, and then we just kind of had an a-ha moment where something clicked between us.
On the day to day: My days here involve everything from overseeing all aspects of the sales floor and the sales associates to marketing and working every single day on ways to grow business. We just recently launched ArcadeBoutique.com, which has been a huge focus of mine.
On building the site: The whole process took about three to four months total. Researching everything and coming up with all the strategies of how we wanted the site to look, feel, and work. We had the site programmed specifically for Arcade. It was built by an amazing programmer and graphic designer and customized to our business and exactly how we wanted it to function for the customer. It’s working out very well so far. It’s only been a little over a month, but there’s definitely a buzz developing around it and it allows us to really take our West Hollywood store and offer it nation-wide to customers.
On the Arcade aesthetic: The aesthetic here was a vision of Rochelle’s. It’s modeled after 19th century European shopping malls, which were called arcades. The look and feel of our store feels very much like if you walked into a Parisian arcade. Our style is always a very feminine, very chic, classically sexy style. We reflect that in all of the products we buy, the lines we carry, and it’s really the same style and offerings that we have at ArcadeBoutique.com.
Store Faves: My favorites are Yigal Azrouel, as well as Kimberly Ovitz, who is a fairly new designer based out of L.A. Preen is another great British collection that we carry. Anita Co. Jewelry is a staple at Arcade. Doo.Ri and Barbara Bui. And we are one of the only stores in Los Angeles that sells Barbara Bui.
On personal shopping services: We try to set ourselves apart with an exceptional level of customer service. We can do anything our client needs, whether it is show up at their hotel room with a cocktail dress for a party in an hour, going to their home to clean out their closet and figure out the missing pieces they need in their wardrobe, and then tie that back to Arcade and style them. The clients we work with are fantastic and nothing over the top or real crazy has happened on one of those house calls. They have to have a relationship with us where they really trust our taste level and our own style as well as the style of the store in order for them to want and allow us to do that.
New York vs LA fashion: In New York, fashion is much more influenced by the season, where in LA, you dress the same because our weather doesn’t change very drastically. For me, the difference is that in the summer in New York it’s so hot and you’re wearing clothes that are comfortable and breathable, and you can get in the subway wearing. And then the winter is layers, coats, and cold weather accessories. Here, we’re really lucky to have beautiful weather all the time; it’s not really super cold or hot, and the lifestyle in general is more casual. At Arcade, our style reflects that women should always be feminine and chic and dressed even if you’re just going to a casual lunch with your girlfriend—really being outfitted and put together in a feminine way. I often wear jeans and a t-shirt but I’ll throw on a big statement necklace so the outfit looks completed. I wear heels. Even if I’m in jeans to go to lunch, I probably have on a wedge. I’m always accessorized.
Tips for effortless dressing: I’d say it’s really important to wear what you’re comfortable in, and that’s how you make it look effortless. It’s really important to read a customer’s own style, comfort level, and body image so that you can style them and dress them in a way that they feel good about themselves. If you put someone in something that looks fantastic on them to an outsider, but they’re not comfortable, they aren’t going to appear effortless.
On celeb clientele: In L.A. you get used to seeing the celebrities and it’s a delicate balance between treating them like a V.I.P and making them feel comfortable. It’s also offering them a certain level of privacy. We have a lot of celebrity clients that no one would ever read about because we make sure that their shopping trips are kept private and personal rather than photographed and exploited.
Most coveted piece for fall: Pieces I always, always covet for every season are Yigal Azrouel dresses. The way his dresses fit a woman’s body is unbelievable. You can put on any of his dresses and instantly feel special, sexy, and confident. I love his dresses for every season.
Go-tos: My favorite restaurant is Terroni, great food and music. My friends and I go there for long girl’s dinners. For a quiet dinner, Pace in Laurel Canyon is delicious and has an extensive wine list. The bar I enjoy most is Bronson Bar on Monday nights. I also like to get spicy margaritas and tortilla soup at El Carmen. I always love to go to Chateau Marmont. Any day or time this gorgeous, historic hotel makes me happy.
The arrival of a massive Forever 21 in Times Square is nigh. Set to occupy the former Virgin Megastore storefront, Forever 21 will open its doors to a sprawling 90,000-square-foot (read: an entire city block long) fast fashion behemoth in the middle of billboard-and-tourist heaven. To help ring in the highly-anticipated June 25th debut, the LA-born retailer has installed a massive countdown clock (pictured here). “Bonus intel: Our spies tell us that everything inside the store is white, including the chandeliers hanging from the ceiling over the escalators to the lower levels,” says Racked.com. In addition to a monochrome interior, shoppers can expect countless racks stocked with knock-offs and the cheap, disposable, uber-trendy styles with which the retailer has become synonymous. Meanwhile, fellow Angeleno clothing purveyor Arcade has taken its shop into digital territory.
LA’s Arcade boutique has been busy constructing a virtual storefront. The shop, which sits on Melrose, stocks the likes of Preen, Yigal Azrouel, and Kimberly Ovitz, among other designers. As of this week, shoppers from around the country can nab designs being housed at arcadeboutique.com. Also on view: a blog offering features like Creative Director and CEO, Rochelle Gores Fredston’s 5 favorite pieces from the shop and previews of what buyers have snapped up for future seasons.
Rochelle Gores, owner of Los Angeles boutique Arcade, on working long days, saying bye bye to boho-chic, and the year of expansion.
Where do you go out? I love Foxtail, a new club in LA. Cut is a great restaurant that I love to go to for a good steak. One of my favorite restaurants that I’ve been going to for like 18 years is Mistral. It’s in the valley. The owner is Henry. I actually really like 1912 in the Beverly Hills Hotel. It’s very casual and just a nice bar to go to.
What’s your favorite aspect of owning Arcade? The buying, obviously, is one of the greatest parts, because that’s the product, and that’s the branding of the company. I am constantly overseeing the big picture and how it’s going to grow. Last year’s focus was creating the boutique, and this year, it’s launching it into doing private label and possibly into another boutique and growing as a brand. I’m really excited about that.
Who are two people that you admire in your industry? There have been so many great women in my industry. Obviously, Coco Chanel. She was the first one to put a woman in pants, and the first person to put a bag over the shoulder as opposed to carrying it in the hand. I look up to her for innovative ideas. Donna Karan is an amazing businesswoman. Stefani Greenfield from Scoop is amazing in the aspect of retail and buying. And then, my father Alec Gores on the business end.
Trends you love in fashion? Color. People are really into bold color in fashion and accessories. People are loving accessorizing everything from earrings to bags to necklaces and layering things. I think my favorite trend is going back to femininity and sophistication. And going back to that 1920’s woman.
Trends you hate? I’m really liking what I’m seeing because it’s going away from boho-chic, which I really didn’t care for. I really like where things are going. That is what Arcade is all about, feminine, womanly, beautiful, a sophisticated, very ladylike look.
One thing that people may not know about you? I work 18 hour days. I think that may shock people.
What are you obsessed with right now? I’m getting married in May so I’m obsessed with my wedding. The ceremony will be at my dad’s estate in Beverly Hills, and the reception will be at the Beverly Wilshire. I’m getting my dresses made by Herve at Carolina Herrera. I am also obsessed with the jewelry collection that I do with Neil Lane. We do these diamond letters. I wear my “R” every day, and the girls in the store wear the letter “A” for Arcade. It’s called Neil Lane for Arcade, and all of the pieces are one of a kind. I’m excited to expand with him.
What’s on the horizon for 2009? This is the year of expansion for me. I’m looking to expand through online selling, doing my own brand, and opening another store. I’m looking to expand into a larger empire.
What’s your favorite item in the boutique right now? My bathing suits. They’re fantastic. I have all Brazilian bathing suits. I have Rosa Cha, I have Lenny. And we’re one of the only places in LA that sells them.
What’s your guiltiest pleasure? Buying cosmetics. I’m very girly in that way.