By Ashley Breeding | November 21, 2011 7:00 AM
Photos by Jody Tiongco
Like most 40-somethings in Orange County, Fashion Island, built in 1967, has decided it’s time for a facelift. And what better way to exude youth and refreshment than a chic new style to boot? In addition to a $100 million Italianate architectural makeover that began in 2009 (it was originally designed with Spanish influence), the Island is seeing an array of hip new shops sprouting up between its classic department stores and sleek boutiques, imparting an edgier vibe that sets it apart from other shopping experiences in Newport Beach. Here are the stores whose racks we can’t wait to check out:
The men’s apparel and accessories company—which began in the late 90s as a line of bags constructed in a SoHo warehouse loft—has opened its seventh retail location across the way from sister, Kate Spade. Revisiting an approach to “honest, thoughtful design with a practical purpose,” Jack Spade says it offers quality men’s goods like original canvas work pants, checkered shirts with lining and elbow patch reinforcement, raw denim and classic sport coats. Also find funky retro accessories for the modern man, such as gingham handkerchiefs; canvas, leather and herringbone briefcases and messenger bags; plaid iPhone cases; and silk and wool ties.
A name that simply reflects product sewn in earnest, this clothing brand takes pride in workmanship and commitment to authenticity. Based on the concept of mixing denim’s Americana past with the Japanese beauty aesthetic of wabi-sabi—which celebrates asymmetry, irregularity and objects in their most natural form—the domestic company creates soft layers and classic denim woven from quality Japanese, Italian and Turkish fabrics. Find basic crewneck and V-neck tees and a variety of denim cuts and colors for men and women, in addition to a selection of hip vintage overalls for little ones. Osh Kosh B’gone.
Casual comfort meets fashionable edge under the Ella Moss label, available only online and at high-end department stores until now. Loved for its flowy, feminine cuts in ultra-soft fabrics, the line is often spotted on Hollywood’s more sophisticated A-listers like Gwyneth Paltrow and Reese Witherspoon. The brand recently chose F.I. for its first-ever retail location, which carries a variety of relaxed-fit tops, pants, skirts and dresses in a mix of soft, earthy and bold colors and prints.
Made for the contemporary woman, Rebecca Taylor’s flirty, modern designs juxtapose urban style with ultra feminine detailing, and bold jewel tones with earthy neutrals. Find everything from delicate knitwear to trendy prints (leopard is the “it” print of the season) to romantic, ethereal dresses. The store also carries a small collection of classic coats and elegant bags and shoes.
This Japan native is best known in SoCal for its Robertson Boulevard location in L.A., where celebrities like Nicole Richie, Victoria Beckham and Lindsay Lohan have been known to draw paparazzi aplenty. Popular for its high-end urbanwear, pop-cultural T-shirts and many fun, funky accessories, Kitson recently also launched a collection for men and kids.
The company that set sail with two preppy brothers—who claimed they began making ties on Martha’s Vineyard so they wouldn’t have to wear them in the corporate world—has docked in Fashion Island. In addition to its original collection of silk ties with sea- and sport-inspired prints (whales, starfish and racquets), the shop also carries polo and oxford shirts, classic chinos, and boatwear for women, college coeds and kids. It even offers preppy collars for your pooch, so the whole family can “live the good life,” as the company’s motto states. For matching kicks, check out Sperry Top-Sider, which recently opened its largest West Coast retail location a few doors down from Vineyard Vines.