When jewelry designer Kathryn Bentley and handbag designer Clare Vivier — who share a pared-down luxury aesthetic — outgrew their respective home offices, they set out to find a shared design studio.
The duo's ideal workspace turned out to be a storefront in the heart of Silver Lake.
Vivier and Bentley, a new boutique that stocks the designers' collections along with a handful of likeminded local brands, was born.
The space's retail area, which occupies roughly one-third of the total square footage, with the remainder dedicated to studio space, "was kind of an afterthought," Vivier said a few days before the store's recent opening. "But we thought, 'Why not?' If we sell anything we'll be happy. If not, we'll have a great workspace. But the retail is turning out to be beautiful."
Indeed. Ascending from the boutique's roughed-up cement floors are 14-foot-high stark white walls, capped by a classic wood-beamed ceiling. Up front, Vivier's stylish-but-simple leather bags are displayed on a large wall, hung from tree branches that were cast in bronze.
Bentley's two jewelry collections — the swanky-but-stylish Kathryn Bentley line and the more accessible, multiethnic Dream Collective — are exhibited in raw-feeling wooden display cases.
"There's a real earthy chic to the [store]," noted Vivier, whose self-named, locally made bags range from $79 to $460. Bentley's dual lines are priced from roughly $50 to $2,000.
The intimate new shop, which shares the block with hip businesses that include Stark waxing studio and Lark Bakery, also carries ceramics from local artists Heather Levine and Victoria Morris, in addition to handmade, hippie-luxe leather shoes from fellow Eastside designer Beatrice Valenzuela.
Though Bentley's and Vivier's lines are stocked at local stores including Mohawk General Store, Theory (Vivier) and Creatures of Comfort (Bentley), the new studio-cum-boutique will also function as a test lab of sorts, specializing in one-of-a-kind pieces from both designers.
"I often find one or two [leather] skins that are really lovely, and I'll make one or two things with them," added Vivier, "so I'm really looking forward to selling my limited-edition pieces. It's been hard to do it on the Web, and stores don't buy it because they want a lot of one thing."
1404 Micheltorena St.,
. (323) 665-2476. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Current/Elliott, Equipment and Joie sample sale
Friday and Saturday: Score 70% off retail prices on past season samples from high-end denim brand Current/Elliott and contemporary labels Equipment and Joie.
4599 District Blvd., Vernon. 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Friday; 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday.
Thursday through Saturday: Check out the dreamy, feminine bridal gowns of Reem Acra at this three-day trunk show.
Saks Fifth Avenue, the Bridal Salon on Four West, 9634 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills. (310) 887-5509. By appointment only.