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Remember “normcore,” that blip in the fashion lexicon circa 2014 referring to minimalist, non-brand-identifiable styles? It already feels like a throwback, with those in the know having moved on to the equally unappealingly-named hipster fashion movements known as “dadcore” and “menocore.”
Somehow, the New York City-based fashion brand Mansur Gavriel — founded by friends Rachel Mansur and Floriana Gavriel in 2012 with just two polished, clean-lined handbag styles, the bucket and tote, that instantly attracted a cult celebrity following — has managed to hit the timing and look just right to cash in on two of these three fashion movements. (The label has yet to cater to dadwear.)
Just last fall, the brand launched ready-to-wear in keeping with its on-the-down-low aesthetic. With architectural lines, lots of tonal layering and easy, flattering silhouettes, the spring 2018 collection shown at New York Fashion Week called to mind a fashion-forward take on Eileen Fisher (i.e. menocore, if you’re not of-a-certain-age but aspiring to that Palm Springs lifestyle anyway). And now the label has quietly opened its first West Coast shop on Melrose Place, complete with a flower shop and cafe, to sell the geographically appropriate styles.
It so happens, the two designers (who chatted exclusively with The Hollywood Reporter) have a history with Los Angeles; they first met at a concert here back in 2010. “We were strangers and starting talking in the lobby of the Wiltern Theatre; we realized we knew someone in common, a friend, Floriana (then living in Berlin), was visiting in Los Angeles,” says Mansur. “We decided to meet the next morning at the Los Angeles Flower Market, where we spent the day together and realized we shared a similar taste and aesthetic.”
“We both have a love for beautiful materials and color,” adds Gavriel. “This is always our driving design principle. We love shapes that are special, but also clean in aesthetic and comfortable to wear. We work based on a similar visual language across all product categories, and think of all items as building blocks that create an overall Mansur Gavriel world that continues from season to season.”
Now their iconic bucket and top-handle tote bags in polished leather (mostly under $1,000), chunky-heeled shoes and slides and unfussy apparel are regularly spotted on the likes of Sienna Miller, Kate Bosworth, Emma Stone and Gigi Hadid. Just this month, Selena Gomez stepped out in the Crossover Sandal and Greta Gerwig was spotted in the Venetian Loafer, while last month Maggie Gyllenhaal and Naomi Watts snuggled up in Mansur Gavriel coats at the Sundance Film Festival.
The designers collaborated on the look of the 2,500-square-foot shop with New York-based architect Solveig Fernlund and the landscaping of the 1,300-square-foot outdoor area (filled with protea, bougainvillea and olive, citrus and pomegranate trees) with New York floral designer Brittany Asch, who also helped them with offerings in the floral shop perched on the porch. Their Café Flora has a menu of soups, pastas, salads and pastries created in conjunction with Tartine chef Scott Boggs and extends into the courtyard.
“The nature and light in Los Angeles is pure and beautiful; the combination creates an emotion we find very inspiring,” they say.
Beyond carrying the entire range of Mansur Gavriel ready-to-wear, shoes and handbags, the new store offers exclusive apparel pieces crafted of vintage Italian fabrics. The brand has also developed a hand-painted pink protea flower monogram motif just for the Melrose Place store that can be applied to its leather handbags and small leather goods; hand-painted letter monogramming is also available by order.
One room in the store is a dedicated marketplace that sells a curated collection of items from around the globe, hand-selected by Mansur and Gavriel, including “ceramic tableware custom made at a Sicilian ceramic factory, Italian photo albums, Rush Matters placemats and baskets and hand-printed and painted tablecloths,” says Gavriel, noting that the brand’s photo book LA Flower Market published last year, with imagery by long-time collaborators Tanya and Zhenya Posternak, is also in the mix.
Mansur Gavriel, 8475 Melrose Place, West Hollywood.
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