When I first walked into “L.A. Boudoir Miami,” (snuggled into the back of Via Verdi restaurant in the MiMo District,) it was as if I had accidentally stumbled onto a quaint and charming movie set. There were beautiful nicknacks everywhere, old fashion appliances and a smattering of shabby chic furniture. The most unique and inspiring vintage handbags, hats and clothing also lined the walls. Curio cabinets dazzled, too, with delicate broaches, earrings and necklaces.
Everything in the store seemed to have a special place and a special story, because its owner, Lauren Arkin (hence the L.A. in the store’s title,) makes it that way. The avid vintage collector (she’s been at it since she was a young girl,) designed her store to entice the senses and evoke a feeling of privacy.
Lauren explains it best: “I wanted it to feel like a giant closet” and it does (hence the word Boudoir in the store’s title.) I would even go so far as describing it as a Parisian-style loft with a pure Rachel Ashwell-type of energy. (Rachel is a famed English home decor designer who coined the term, “Shabby Chic.”) “L.A. Boudoir Miami” means something, too. At least, it does to me.
In a world where social media shopping, big chains and malls consume our time and interests, this boutique is a refreshing change. It’s shopping intimacy at its finest, with personal attention and a genuine understanding of its customer. The store definitely resonates with the Magic City, being voted one of the “Best of the Best” by Miami New Times, Conde Nast Traveller and Racked Miami.
It’s a solidifying accolade, especially in the now hyped-up, uber competitive world of “lightly used” everything. Over the last few years, the word “vintage” has been tossed around like a gigantic rag doll, everyone (from store owners, collectors and investors) uses it differently to suit their specific needs. As a result, it’s become one of the fastest growing fashion trends in the country, making loads of money and sometimes confusing people about how best to shop, enjoy and incorporate it into their lives.
Some people think “vintage” is “expensive couture fashion,” other says it’s “junk” or as my Deco Drive co-host, Lynn Martinez lovingly calls it: “Cool old stuff.” Actually, while there’s a bit of truth to each aforementioned description, technically speaking, it’s a reference to a “period of origin that something was made or its length of existence.”
Styling & Assist: Jackie Kay
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Editor: Matthew Auerbach