Abbot Kinney in Venice houses some of the hottest boutiques, workouts, restaurants, cafes, and bars in LA. This hip street so close to the beach was deemed last year one of the coolest neighborhoods in America. What I find is that a majority of the designers located on Abbot Kinney are there because they truly are special. They have not gone mainstream, but have kept true to the principles of real craftsmanship and exquisite design.
The designers are not megabrands quite yet, and that’s what makes them truly appealing to me. Yes, every celebrity you can imagine can be found in these understated fashion finds, but they are not Gucci, Gap, Banana Republic, Coach, and the mass production of items you can find in just about any city. This ‘special-ness’ or uniqueness is what makes me love LA and love what can be discovered when you are surrounded by a city full of creative designers and entrepreneurial spirits.
Diagonal from Gjelina, one of my favorite restaurants in LA, you can find the ultimate leather boot shop, Fiorentini + Baker. On October 30, I had a chance to meet Deborah Baker, the designer and owner who was in for a few days from London and Bologna, Italy. Founded in 2001, the laid back style and lived-in leather boot styles have made the collection a favorite of many around the world. Their signature ankle boots and boots of all shapes, styles, and colors stand out because of their craftsmanship, which stems from Italian artisans on the Adriatic. The high quality materials and attention to detail make the leather boots one of a kind. Belts and bags are also now part of their high end leather design collection.
As we sat with our wine watching the sunset glow, I reminisced with the designer about quaint Connecticut and my love for Italy. So extremely down to earth, Deborah Baker was more than happy to offer me her time and answer a few of my questions. Deborah shared she is design inspired from all directions, even from seeing what an elderly lady on the bus is wearing. First on the scene in LA, the boots branched out to celebrity cliental from the high end store Madison. Deborah shared some of her favorite feedback is seeing her boots on the street, as she recounts how just today a girl popped in the store to share how she bought her first pair of boots in 2002 and still wears them, and how she plans to pass them down to her own children. Deborah also acknowledges what makes the boots is the design thanks to the artisans in Italy. “It s a very personal procedure in the end… the artisans are our friends, and really like family.” Deborah was off to NYC to meet the press who will preview her new collection, before heading back home to Belogna.
The boot regalia evening consisted of over 120 guests sipping on wine provided by Lamborghini. Most guests were gaping at the sexy buttery leather boots in every cut, shape, color, and style while previewing the Spring 2015 Collection. Guests tried on endless boot styles while everyone couldn’t imagine how to pick just one. Boot sales that night benefitted Children’s Action Network.
Hosts for the evening included Shiva Rose (actress and host of her own lifestyle blog) Lilakoi Moon (formerly Lisa Bonet) and Phoebe Dahl (granddaughter of Roald Dahl and designer of her own charitable clothing company -Faircloth & Supply). Music producer and founder of MKRS Publishing Alberto Bof entertained guests on the piano, while the stylish hip crowd sampled food bites and watched the sun go down on the open air back patio surrounded by the smell of supple leather.
To see fans sporting the latest boot styles, click “Feet on the Street.” Drew, Jennifer Aniston, Gwyneth, Halle, Channing Tatum and Emma Roberts are just a few of the proud celebrity wearers of Fiorentini + Baker. The boot designs have also been popping up in major films.
To find Fiorentini + Baker at a fine specialty boutique or major department store near you, click HERE. Otherwise, marvel at all the selections at their flagship store right here in Venice or Soho in NYC.