Times Staff Writer

There’s been a lot of talk about bricks-and-mortar stores launching online, but not so much about online stores launching in bricks and mortar. This Saturday, Revolve Clothing -- the online store that specializes in contemporary labels such as Rock & Republic, Joie and Whitley Kros -- is opening on Melrose Avenue, bringing some of the most compelling things about the point-and-click experience to the shopping trip experience.

One of the most powerful tools online retailers have is the ability to tailor their home pages to the whims of fashion, building a “display” of skinny jeans the day after Ashlee Simpson has been photographed wearing them, or telling a trend “story” by pulling out images of plaid accessories. The Revolve boutique, in a converted warehouse behind Taste restaurant, will have that same versatility. The owners will curate the space regularly, giving shoppers a reason to stop in often.

Though features more than 500 brands, the Melrose store will carry about 50 at any given time and, as on the site, merchandise will ebb and flow weekly, reacting to trends and what’s flying off the sales floor. The company’s warehouse is nearby in Cerritos, making it easy to respond to demand, a la fast-fashion chains such as H&M; and Forever 21. But the merch here will be decidedly more upscale -- Allessandro Dell’Acqua, Neil Barrett, Graham & Spencer, Ella Moss Black Label, Erin Fetherston, Degaine and WESC. The boutique echoes the minimalist look of the company’s website, which receives 1.7 million visitors per month. It’s all white, save for the polished concrete floors and wood-paneled shelves. Each collection is sectioned off with fin-like partitions, coordinating accessories close at hand -- simulating the experience of clicking through the breadth of a particular designer’s looks online.

A small upstairs loft area will feature a rotating selection of 100 to 125 shoe styles from brands including Twelfth Street by Cynthia Vincent, Mike & Chris and Jean-Michel Cazabat, along with handbags from Gryson, Gustto and Andrea Brueckner, among others.


“We have a series of layout configurations we can use, depending on what’s going on,” says Michael Mente, a Buena Park native who co-founded Revolve with his pal Mike Karanikolas in 2003.

There will be designer spotlights, with half the store devoted to a specific collection. Mente also hopes to have high-wattage stylists such as Rachel Zoe, Britt Bardo and Nicole Chavez put together chic ensembles for the store, as they do now for a similar feature online. Or “it may be that a stylist curates an entire buy every now and then,” he says.

Bridging the online and in-store shopping experiences further, shoppers can order looks from the website in their sizes, then try them on the next day at the store -- where the items will be waiting. That means no more digging through racks and toppling stacks of jeans. And you buy only what works for you; the credit card need not come out until you’re at the cash register.

Now, if only the store would stay open 24/7.


Revolve Clothing, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, 8452 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, (323) 944-0311.