From late 2005 to early this year, fashion boutiques popped up in L.A. like poodle skirts to a sock hop…Feminine outposts such as Iconology, Presse and Lily Savitch helped turn La Brea Avenue into a high-fashion enclave, while Sienna, Milk and ECookie upped the style quotient on the Westside. This new crop of boutiques was the antithesis of mass-market, offering a tightly edited selection of merchandise that represented the owners' particularly L.A. spin on the trends of the day.
Yet some of their closings and slowdowns have cast a shadow on L.A.'s reputation as an up-and-coming fashion capital…When consumers start tightening their purse strings, high-end retail suffers first.
Years ago, it wouldn't have mattered how deeply department stores discounted their merchandise. They didn't carry the edgier designers...But in an effort to chase the boutique business, department stores including Nordstrom and Macy's have, in recent years, developed new divisions for young, cutting-edge brands.
Tracey Ross said she no longer can afford to buy overly avant-garde pieces -- a shame, considering her keen eye for new design talent. "I love cultivating new designers," she said, "but I can't have pieces in my store that don't sell anymore.
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