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.

1 comment:

Christine said...

This store sounds very cool! I cannot wait to visit Madison again and visit! I wish they had one in Milwaukee!