A new specialty boutique channels the glamour of old Hollywood
"We just love glamorous moments!" declared the diminutive vintage retailer Rona Gaye Stevenson from the airy new Melrose Place penthouse space that's housing her drool-worthy collection of vintage gowns, furs and cocktail dresses. Along with her business partner, Cassandra Huysentruyt, the owner of Coquette vintage, which for the last four years was located on a quiet West Hollywood street, has recently moved her covetable collection of clothing, jewelry and home objects to what's now being called P.H. 8442, creating an old-fashioned salon-type setting for celebrities, VIPs or anyone who wants a one-on-one retail experience when shopping for a special occasion or just a gift for the person who has everything. In addition to Ungaro, Scaasi, Halston and Geoffrey Beene from the '70s, Stevenson stocks objects such as vintage Gucci ashtrays and cigarette boxes.
The Chicago native, who says she has always had a passion for vintage and was known to wear a full-length fur and high heels to school, has certainly put her personal touch on the second-floor space, designing an environment that feels like a giant dressing room, decked out with old Hollywood touches, including '60s Vogue covers displayed along a hallway in light boxes, a wall filled with at least 50 framed original Edith Head sketches and the piece de resistance: a leather Hermes desk blotter engraved with the initials "C.C.," for Coco Chanel -- truly a prize find.
"It's almost like an old-Hollywood-studio-system kind of thing we're creating over here," said Stevenson, who is offering a full-service experience offering clients everything from a gown to a pedicure. In addition to her Coquette vintage collection, Stevenson is also hanging special runway pieces from designers such as Marchesa and Naeem Khan in the space, as well as accessories from Christian Louboutin and underpinnings from Kiki de Montparnasse, making the location -– which is nestled in a quaint courtyard next to the John Freida salon -– a one-stop shop for getting glammed up. Makeup artists, tailors, hairstylists and even eyelash-extension experts are on hand if a client wants the real head-to-toe treatment.
It's only been about six weeks since P.H. 8442 has been up and running, but Stevenson's stylist and celebrity clients who have shopped with her for the last four years have been stopping in to get inspired and try on the regal, ruffled and retro items sparkling from the racks. "It's a dress-up party here every day," she said.
P.H. 8442 is by appointment only. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 323-782-9700.
-- Melissa Magsaysay
Photo: Rona Gaye Stevenson in the new home of Coquette vintage, P.H. 8442. Credit: Brantley Gutierrez