Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Stylemaker Q&A

Layla Martin, owner of drunknBUTTERFLY, 845 E. Johnson St. (full disclosure: Martin’s husband, Wes, is associate art director at Madison Magazine).
Originally from Los Angeles, Martin moved here one year ago and opened drunknBUTTERFLY with husband Wes. This contemporary and stylish “lifestyle boutique” with an urban edge has clothing, accessories and shoes for men and women. I spoke with Martin to get the lowdown on her store, her personal style and one of the best deals she’s ever scored.

What’s your background?
I worked in retail [in L.A.] for of number of years as a buyer and manager. I went to the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. When we moved here, I was working as an assistant to interior designers.

What is your personal style?
It depends on the day of the week and the mood. There are times I like to be boyish in tennis shoes, jeans and a top. And there are times I like to be girly and wear heels, jeans and a cute top. I really like black right now.
I also like purples and blues and something with pop to it. I find that with shoes you can always do that, and add a cute pair of shoes, and it can really change your outfit.

How is Los Angeles style different from Madison style?
People are far more adventurous in L.A. as style goes. They’ll wear totally out there, kooky things (she laughs).
I think the movie industry as well as an evolving fashion industry has a huge effect on how people dress in the city. Most people move to L.A. to become a part of the industry and if you live there, it’s almost unavoidable.
Girls will buy Louis Vuitton or Chanel—they’ll spend their whole paycheck on things like that. They go out to the “it” club of the week and sort of make a spectacle of themselves. In a way people are constantly trying to outdo one another, looking for that one article of clothing, shoes or accessory that will make them stand out. It’s quite a sight to behold … I quite miss it, almost like watching a fashion show every time you go out or walk down the street. There’s not a lot of impulse buys here. In California it’s definitely more impulsive and spendy than it is here.

Anything you like or dislike about the style in Los Angeles or Madison?
Los Angeles: The over-the-top sensibility. People put together over-the-top things. They’re really bold with color, and strange patterns and mixes with outfits. They’re just not afraid to try things (she laughs). Most natives have quite a different style than those that aren’t. L.A. kids have a little more grit and more of a true sense of style that is all their own … they are more comfortable in their own skin.
In Madison it’s not a lack of style, more like a lack of choices. Take H&M opening, for instance. You can go to the stores in New York, L.A., Chicago even, and the options are a million times better than what’s offered up here. Really it’s insulting in a way, do the buyers think that Madisonians wouldn’t want the other option? I think they do, in fact, I know they do, and that in its essence is why we opened our doors, to give another option.
Oh and the one style I truly hate in Madison: Ugg boots! They are meant to be worn around the house or after you get done surfing or snowboarding. Definitely shouldn’t be worn in the snow and rain.

How is drunknBUTTERFLY different from other Madison retailers?
We bring style from the coast here to the Midwest. We’re always making sure to carry things that other people aren’t carrying. With what we do in terms of the genre we are in (we call ourselves a lifestyle boutique), it’s sort of an extension of who Wes and I are. Most of the boutiques that are in the genre we’re in don’t have female buyers. So we are a different sensibility than them.
I mean, sometimes I like to wear T-shirts and sometimes I like to wear dresses. Being with Wes, I always would go and shop in those types of stores, and well, there was nothing I would really want to buy.

What are the top trends drunknBUTTERFLY will be carrying for the fall?
For women: Dresses, across the board, everyone seems to be doing dresses. More knitwear and heavier dresses in wools and whatnot.
In our streetwear-geared lines: More cut and sew instead of standard T-shirts. More intricate details that might you not have seen before. More prints and cool patterns as well.
I’m seeing a muted color palette: grays, purples (not vivid); more earth tones.
In accessories, we’re adding more accessory lines. More silver and quirky stuff like things with antlers and strange things (she laughs).
We will carry more of Tashana Kjelland, whose things are made out of wood or painted origami paper. Earrings, necklaces—each piece is unique.

What will you be picking up for this fall from your store?
We will carry really great knit Wesc dresses. There’s one that I really, really like. It’s sort of a bright blue, three-quarter sleeved. It has a cable knit to it. It’s interesting, something different. I like sweater dresses.
For men, we’ll have an old-school fisherman-type looking sweater. It’s Merino wool and it’s the softest, most beautiful thing.
We’ll have really great Adidas shoes this fall. I’ll probably get a pair in every style we get!

Do you have a favorite clothing retailer (besides yourself, of course)?
Halle’s Vintage Shoppe in Mazomanie. The selection is impeccable and the store is what a vintage shop should look like; it’s perfection.
I like what Context is doing for men. I find it interesting.
Other than that, I just haven’t had the time to venture out.

Favorite retailer(s) for housewares or other items?
I love The Century House. I think it’s the best thing in the whole wide world (she laughs).
The Glitter Workshop always has cool, gifty things.
It’s sad Jade Workshop is leaving! (She thinks they’re closing on July 28th of this month). Pick More Daisies, too, I like that place.

Since you’ve worked in interior design, what buildings do you like in Madison for design?
Restaurant Magnus. I like the idea of Natt Spil. The idea that they don’t have a phone, that’s kind of funny. Cha-Cha is fun. It totally goes with the style of the hair they do. It works. Hubbard Avenue Diner is cute as far as a diner goes.

Does your sense of style carry over into your home? Is it pretty contemporary?
I adore mid-century design. I’m sort of obsessed with it. I tend to buy it, and I have to buy it.

What’s your favorite item in your home?
A Scandinavian-looking bar. It opens like a cupboard and there’s a mirror in the back. We found it at this weird random antique store in Albuquerque for seventy dollars. It’s probably worth five hundred dollars.

drunknBUTTERFLY, 845 E. Johnson St. 256-9119.

New Shopping Content!

I am so excited about this week's content that I'm posting it a day early! First of all, our August issue is out and there's some great shopping content in there. Read my fall trends forecast here, which features interviews with four different Madison-area retailers: Context, Fair Indigo, JC Madison and Twigs. These guys and gals tell you what's hot this fall, what they'll be carrying in their stores and what they'll be picking up to sport in cooler temps.
Also read my August column about Patricia Shoppe, a fun, quaint and vintage-y store that looks like it's stepped back in time. But the handbags, jewelry and clothing the shop carries are all things you'll want to wear now!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Savvy Summer Sales

Well, it’s mid-summer, the weather’s hot, and it’s a good time to spend a little time indoors. Why not be productive and check out the sales at local retailers? You’ve still got lots of time to rock the tanks, skirts, shoes and more that are being sold at bargain-basement prices!

Max Out at Maxwell

I can’t overlook the biggest sale in Madison happening this weekend: Maxwell Street Days. Stroll into the likes of Little Luxuries, Patricia Shoppe, Urban Outfitters, UP Spatique and Pop Deluxe (those are some of my faves) as well as countless other boutiques to nab deals on clothing, music, housewares, shoes and more.
At Pop Deluxe, sidewalk sale items will be fifteen to eighty percent off throughout the weekend. UP Spatique will have select items on sale too. Patricia Shoppe’s accessories will be on sale: purses will be twenty to thirty percent off, shoes twenty percent off and accessories will go on sale on Friday. Some of these items will be marked down even more—up to fifty percent off!
Little Luxuries will have prices slashed on bamboo bowls, housewares, hair accessories and more. Sale items will be inside and on sidewalk tables.
I also wanted to highlight a great article Colleen Muldowney, one of Madison Magazine’s editorial interns, wrote on retailers preparing for this weekend’s sale. So shop away!
Pop Deluxe, 310 State St., 256-1966.
UP Spatique, 619 State St., 256-7777.
Patricia Shoppe, 137 W. Johnson St., 256-1111.
Little Luxuries, 214 State St., 255-7372.

Mmmm ... Shoes

Perhaps because I just entered an contest in which I could possibly win a year’s worth of shoes (or even just a free pair of shoes—they’re giving away one pair per day for a month) I wanted to mention how fabulous DSW is. OK, I realize this store is not a local retailer but their eighty percent off sale is too good to be ignored. Yes, I said eighty percent off.
Lest you think the shoes that are marked eighty percent off are all hideous or from, say, 1990, I will direct you to exhibit A: an adorable pair of metallic silver peep-toe flats I recently purchased at the bargain basement price of $11.99 (DSW doesn’t have pics of their merchandise online otherwise I’d post what they look like ☺). But I saw tons of other cute kicks, like a cool pair of red flats and more, but alas, many were not in my size. So small-footed sisters, get thee to DSW!
DSW, 1700 Deming Way, 831-7766.


Context, the hip men’s clothier, has a Summer Jeans Sale going on. Score thirty percent off on select jeans brands like Nudie Jeans and Earnest Sewn.
Context, 113 King St. 250-0113.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Art Smarts

Downtown Middleton is hosting another Gallery Night July 19 from 5 to 9 p.m. Looks like it'll be another fun time and involves two of my favorite things: shopping (even if it's window shopping!) and eating. Shop at stores like La Bella Vita, Tickled Pink, the Middleton Antiques Mall and more. Then nibble on eats at places like the Roman Candle (love that place!), Village Green Bar & Grill, Hubbard Avenue Diner, Vin Santo and more!
Tickled Pink and La Bella Vita are also celebrating their anniversaries the week of July 15-21. What does that mean? Sales! Tickled Pink is offering 20 percent off storewide, and La Bella Vita has an exlusive offer for people on their mailing list.
Gallery Night, July 19, 5-9 p.m. Info: 831-3303 or email

Chic Competition

As I wrote about last week, Project Lela is Milwaukee’s answer to Bravo’s hit TV show, Project Runway. I spoke with Lela’s owners Carrie Arrouet and Stephanie Sherman about the first challenge, which was due earlier this week. Seven designers (three were eliminated after the first challenge) are poised to take on the second challenge this Saturday, July 14th at the Milwaukee Public Market in the Historic Third Ward.
The first part of the second challenge was to create any type of garment out of two yards of muslin and bring it to the Market. Then, a second, secret part of the challenge will be assigned on the spot. Contestants have two-and-a-half hours to have the secret challenge completed and their model styled for a runway show taking place at 12:30 p.m. Winners of the second challenge will be announced at 1 p.m. that day.
I also got more details about the big event, taking place on August 25th. In addition to the four looks each of the final three Project Lela contestants will show, Lela will showcase fall fashions from the store and Shanel Regier, a Milwaukee designer I’ve written about before, will put together a special Lela 4th anniversary collection for the show. I can hardly wait for this chic event to take place—you can bet I’ll be there, covering all the fashion from the front lines.
Project Lela Challenge Two, July 14th, 12:30 p.m. runway show. Milwaukee Public Market, 400 N. Water St., Milwaukee.

Eco Ensembles

Since I’m on a fashion bender this week, let’s talk about another upcoming fashion event. The Eco-Organic Fashion Show is a collaborative event of Sustain Dane and Nadurtha, an organic living store in Stoughton. Looks will be modeled by Jazzworks Dance Company members and will showcase organic products. More details on this event to come.
Eco-Organic Fashion Show, Aug 18, 1 p.m. Tickets: $20. Call 819-0689 to reserve a seat. Nadurtha LLC, 3752 Hwy 138, Stoughton. 873-7965.

On the Move

Did you know Satara moved locations about two and a half months ago? The natural and organic baby and home store used to be on Henry Street, right behind Overture Center. For space and parking reasons, owner Sue Brown decided to pack up shop for Odana Road. The new location will have twice as much space as the old location. Currently, the shop is renovating the space next door to add even more space to their showroom. Brown says the new location has been ideal for parking and more accessible for moms with babies and kids in tow. “This is a really, really good location for us,” she says.
Satara, 5621 Odana Rd. 251-4905.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

It's Thyme

It’s hot outside, so may I suggest cooling off with Thymes’ Azur line of body wash, lotion or bubble bath? This ocean-themed collection is described as “notes of white tea, water lily and sea grasses wash over sandy shores to mingle with earthy notes of amber and musk,” according to the press materials. Not to sound like an ad or anything, but this stuff seriously smells good and is soothing. I would know; I’ve personally tried the hand wash and lotion and used the lovely aromatic candle. Thymes also has other yummy scents like limon, lavender, olive leaf, green tea and more, all offered in soaps, lotions, candles and the like. Learn more about Thymes at
Thymes products are sold in Madison at Carol Thompson Cosmetics (741 N. High Point Rd., 836-1012), Little Luxuries (214 State St., 255-7372) and Orange Tree Imports (1721 Monroe St., 255-8211)

It's a Walk-Off

If the name Project Runway means anything to you, keep reading. Lela, a boutique in Milwaukee’s Historic Third Ward, is hosting its own version of Project Runway called, appropriately, Project Lela. Similar to Bravo’s hit TV show, ten contestants will try their hand at creative challenges, like the first one, “Trash to Treasure.”
Contestants were given a bag of materials along with one pant leg and one T-shirt, each of which must be used to make the final garment. They could also use up to one yard of a fabric to complete the outfit. In my opinion, yikes! I find it challenging enough to mix and match my own clothing …
The “Trash to Treasure” challenge is due July 9th, and it appears as if contestants’ work will be shown at a July 14th contest at the Milwaukee Public Market. Another challenge is slated for July 27th, and the final showdown will be on August 25th, where the final three contestants will use their $500 allowance from Lincoln State Bank to make a final four-look collection. I'll keep you posted on this event.
Lela, 321 N. Broadway, Milwaukee. 414-727-4855.

I Love the Nightlife

I know this is a retail blog, but I just had to point out that Madison was featured in Jane magazine’s July issue. The magazine’s road trips article sent two of their writers out on a Midwest jaunt. I was pretty amused to read that Natt Spil and Weary Traveler, two really fun nightspots, were featured in their Madison pit stop. Natt Spil is one of my favorite places—a good people-watching place for fashion! I think the d├ęcor is pretty fab, too.
Natt Spil, 211 King St., no phone. Weary Traveler, 1201 Williamson St. 442-6207.