Retail Reporter: Heidi Merrick Opens First Brick-and-Mortar Shop in DTLA

Heidi Merrick DTLA Store - Publicity-H 2016
Nicole LaMotte

The H. Merrick of California store infuses the designer's love for urban culture with her beach-town upbringing.

Ten years after launching her eponymous California-tinged clothing and lifestyle brand, Heidi Merrick is set to debut her first H. Merrick of California brick-and-mortar. Located on 9th and Broadway, the store — which opens on Thursday, Nov. 3 — is the latest addition to downtown L.A.’s buzzy new destination retail stretch, keeping company with the likes of Acne Studios and A.P.C.

Merrick is no stranger to the fashion-heavy block: She opened her ninth-floor studio here eight years ago, and when the ground-floor 1,500-square-foot space below became available, Merrick not only decided to open a boutique, but also to bring her production team — three sewers and a cutter — in house. Each piece hanging on the boutique’s brass racks was crafted under the same roof.

Her line, she says, is as influenced by downtown as it is by her farm in Carpinteria, Calif., where she and her family camp on the weekends. “I swing both ways. I go from being a full-on farmer to being surrounded by sophisticated urban culture. I think my collection lies somewhere between,” says the designer, who seeks to harness the “ease and elegance” of California living with breezy signature silhouettes, which have been worn by fans including Drew Barrymore, Gigi Hadid and Jessica Alba.

As the daughter of Channel Islands Surfboards founders Al and Terry Merrick, the designer also spent her formative years on the beaches of Carpinteria outside Santa Barbara, before putting down roots in L.A.’s eastside. Her inaugural flagship takes cues from that coastal upbringing, as evidenced by the large-scale photos of the Pacific, taken by photographer Sharon Montrose ($1,350 unframed), which line one wall. Sculptor Josephine Wister Faure’s The Source anchors the 1,500-square-foot space — a river rock with a gold-foil vein running through it, surrounded by sand (“I asked her for a water feature,” explains Merrick. "I think it’s just gorgeous").

A floor-to-ceiling collage commands the back of the room, peppered with images from British and French Vogue from the 1990s and 2000s, layered with pages ripped from surf magazines — a nod to the ever-evolving inspiration board in the designer’s studio upstairs, where Merrick and her team also dream up one-of-a-kind custom pieces, including wedding dresses.

The boutique also serves as a showcase for pieces Merrick covets, from black peacock chairs ($625) to a queen canopy bed ($4,400) from L.A.-based MASHstudios’ PCHseries that’s laden with pillows from Merrick's home line. “I got this same bed for my 40th birthday,” she explains. “It might be the best thing I own.”

The most telltale sign of Merrick's surf lineage? A wall of hanging surfboards ($1,850 each) in the colors of her fall line, designed by her brother, Britt Merrick (head shaper for Channel Islands), which originally were crafted for world-class pro surfer Dane Reynolds. “I kept drawing the board I want. I told him I wanted it to feel like a '70s gun — a big-wave board,” she explains of the saffron, black and blush-hued collection, which will be sold exclusively in her boutique for the next 18 months. Expect new surfboards to be released timed to each clothing collection.

“This is a combination of my home and studio,” says Merrick, surveying the space with a smile. “This is my world.”

115 W. 9th St., L.A. 90014