Wednesday, August 29, 2007

New ISSA of London Collection

Stunning new dresses from ISSA of London. These fabulous silk jersey dresses can be worn from day into evening with ease! This is a must see collection by the designer-in-demand ISSA!

Friday, August 24, 2007

The art of Burlesque

So this is my first non-Brick Lane based post on this blog - although I did warn everyone this blog would be about my store and London fashion as well as my life. And if you think about it Burlesque - while it is considered a bit "racy" is not just about dancing, or taking your clothes off, but also about the fabulous costumes as well. I have to admit something from the get go, I think I have always been interested in this type of dance - even before I knew what it was. As a child all I ever wanted to do was perform. Dance, Sing, dress up, act, if you ask my family they will tell you I was always performing. I took the words of the Bard , "all the world's a stage and all the men and women merely players" to heart at a very young age. I spent my entire childhood until college in plays and musicals, learning dance steps, singing in the chorus (I generally do not sing solo unless I feel the need to punish someone, never in front of an audience), and dressing up. I would raid my mothers closet and play with the beautiful clothes and her theatrical collection of masks, stoles, fans, feathers and such and then dance around the house to Saturday Night Fever. It WAS the 70's! The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, as my mothers greatest aspiration was to be a performer as well, so her closet was a wonderland of dramatic fashions to delight my desire to dress up and play different parts. To this day I am probably the only person I know with several storage boxes labeled "costumes". Halloween is my favorite holiday and dancing is one of my favorite activities - so it is interesting that it took me 30 some odd years to discover how it all merges together in Burlesque Dance and give it a try.

I have never been to Forty Deuce, the closest to a live performance I have ever seen was years ago at the premier party for Charlies Angels Full Throttle when the Pussy Cat Dolls did a dance and I was enthralled. Recently my friend Christy and her husband went to Forty Deuce and saw a performance that she could not stop talking about, so when I received an invitation to a Burlesque workshop here in Venice at the Electric Lodge she was the first person I thought of to join me. On our way there she was talking about the show and how incredible it was to see these women who were not all LA-ified skinny actress types but curvaceous, voluptuous and sexy. As she puts it they were so sexy they made you realize that you need to "learn to love your back fat". Well I still don't love my back fat, not many of us do, but I do fit more into the body type of voluptuous then skinny minny and always will so I figured this could be the class for me. When we walked in and were given long satin gloves, feather boas and fans to use as props I realized I was right! Dancing AND costumes! Bring it on!

The workshop was taught by two amazing dancers who met dancing at Forty Deuce; Jade and Dakota. I have to admit here that they both had killer dancers bodies to die for with no hint of back fat, but the rest of us were a refreshing cross-section of your average Venice girl. Jade and Dakota were so warm and welcoming that if you even had the slightest bit of nerves about coming into a burlesque class, they made us feel at ease right away. Of course they made every move look as simple as could be - because that's what professional dancers do - but they had a wonderful way of breaking it down for us. It is always a bit intimidating to try and new workout class - especially a dance one where you need to remember a routine you are being taught - but yet again they kept reminding us that we were free to create our own "style" of dance with the movements. In fact that is one of the beauties of Burlesque - all the dancers who are doing the same routine have their own individual styles and personalities which comes through in their dance. They encouraged us to relax and not worry about doing the steps perfectly and to find our own style and expression. There was a lot of laughter, feathers flying everywhere fans that got broken all in all so much fun you hardly realized what a workout you were getting. That is until the next morning when I remembered what your legs feel like after an evening of vigorous dancing in high heels no less! I don't know how those girls do it for an entire evening!

Currently the regular classes for Burlesque Body are not yet here on the Westside - but they are trying to build an interest in it, so if you log onto Burlesque Body you can find out when the next Venice workshop is and try it for yourself. I for one will sign up as soon as they have a regular class. It was fun, a great workout and without thinking about it I think all of us women had a bit more "strut" in our walk on our way home that evening. The most positive thing out of the whole evening was realizing it isn't the size of your curves that matter, its learning to love them and then learning to work them. Once you do that it is hard to NOT feel sexy and as we all know when you feel it that's when people really see it! Check out Burlesque Body and give it a shot. You have nothing to lose but negative body image and that's a win in my book!

Betty Jackson Arrives

The Betty Jackson label is currently celebrating 25 years as a go-to label for many of London and Europe's fashion conscious. The feature to the left was taken from Vogue UK as they are helping celebrate this talented and quintessentially British designer. She has always believed that clothes should perform for the wearer in any given situation, and loves the idea that the outfit you choose at the beginning of the day should take you effortlessly through to the evening, simply by changing your accessories.

With very limited distribution in the US, Brick Lane is one of the few who proudly imports her elegant and well tailored clothing. This season we have a very tight capsule collection of some of the best items from the Betty Jackson Two label. A black boucle belt tie coat that will be a staple in any wardrobe for years to come, a brown wool coat/sweater that I personally can not WAIT for it to be cool enough to cuddle up in, striped cotton jersey tops in the softest cotton you have ever put on your body, stylish elegant trousers and cashmere blend sweaters as well as an incredibly unique silver dress that will make the wearer stand out at ANY party.

Regular customers who have purchased Betty Jackson in the past always remark on the excellent tailored fit of the items and enjoy the details that make her pieces classic yet unique enough to stand out from the everyday.

While I am at London Fashion Week I will be attending her catwalk show and hope to be able to post some photos from it. Stop into Brick Lane to peruse this truly elegant collection from across the pond.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Calling all Orla Kiely Fans!

New Orla Kiley Fall arrivals of purses and clothes! In the clothing area this amazing dress featured below is made of ultra soft wool. Also on tap are great cotton smock tops and super funky striped footless leggings.
This seasons collection of bags are a mix of laminate with leather detailing in incredible shapes/sizes and featuring details such as exterior phone/pda pockets. Orla Kiley has been gaining a cult following for years and here at Brick Lane we know some of our Orla fans are going to just love the unique designs and prints of cutlery, tumblers and lampshades in this fall's collection. Limited amounts so hurry in or feel free to phone us to place orders until we have the online shop up and running. Cheers

Sunday, August 19, 2007

New Arrivals for Men Week of August 20th

I love unpacking boxes and pulling out items I bought 6 months ago, it's like Christmas! This past week at Brick Lane we received a lot of new fall merchandise for men from Ted Baker, Oliver Spencer, Fred Perry, English Laundry and Kangol.

Dark grey zip up by Ted Baker, light grey sweater by Smedley, pants by Fred Perry

Classic Fred Perry polo, jeans by Ted Baker, hat by Kangol

Plaid jacket by English Laundry

White shirt with embroidery by English Laundry

Military style green jacket by Oliver Spencer, camel sweater by Smedley, pants by Oliver Spencer

Our model is one of our regular customers Vic Garvey. Vic is a neighborhood local who enjoys walking his dog around Abbot Kinney Blvd when he is not at school studying business. Some of his favorite hangouts on the boulevard are The Brig, Stroh's Gourmet, Lily's, Collage and of course Brick Lane! Thanks so much Vic for being such a great model for some of the new Fall collection! Photo Shoot Styled by Jordan Cappella

Ted Baker in Glamour UK

Just love the fact that the sweater and shirt in this photo are BOTH items here at Brick Lane. The sweater we carry in navy blue and the silk top in red.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Anya Hindmarch in the Press

Anya Hindmarch has become this season's new press darling, with her bags showing up in so many magazines this fall it is hard to keep track.

Here are a few more press hits for her unbelievably fabulous fall bags, a few of which are stocked at Brick Lane

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Pringle 1815 Black Label arrives at Brick Lane

The newly re-designed Pringle 1815 line is making waves in the fashion industry and in the magazines. In UK Glamour September issue the line is labeled as one of the hottest labels on the rise. Largely in part to the new creative director Clare Waight Keller at the helm of this quintessentially British line it is eclectic, fun and irresistibly cool.

"The Pringle 1815 girl has an independent spirit and is inspired by the cool way Londoners dress on the street. The 'P' print dress worn with black tights and chunky ankle boots under a swing knee-length coat is great for a statement"
~ Clare Waight Keller, Creative Director

The line mixes textured knits with vintage inspired pieces. It's every urban girl's dream wardrobe! Check out a few of Amanda's favorite pieces that are in this fall's collection at Brick Lane.

Pringle 1815 cape coat in cream

Pringle 1815 'P' print tunic dress in black

Pringle 1815 cashmere collection with classic white blouse

Pringle 1815 vintage inspired applique skirt with chiffon and tunic white blouse

Men's Pringle1815 sweater coat with toggles

Men's Pringle 1815 Sweaters in cashmere and wool

Lucky and Glamour Magazine

It's that time of year again. It's almost September which means the fashion magazines triple in size and are brimming with pages full of all the best Fall fashions.

This September Brick Lane has been credited in both Lucky Magazine and Glamour Magazine for lines we carry in the store!

Lucky Magazine had a section of the BEST new designers of the year. One of their finds, the jewelry line called The Branch has been calling Brick Lane it's US home for a year now.

I found The Branch during London Fashion Week 2006 and immediately fell in love with the simplicity of the design mixing wood with silver, as well as the quality of the materials and the beautiful design! The cuff featured in this piece has already sold out at Brick Lane - but a reorder has been placed as well as one for the earrings. If you are interested in advance purchase please contact us at 310.392.2525 or This September I will be viewing their new line and hopefully bringing a lot back with me for everyone! This is a line to be watched!

The Second credit landed in the big fall issue of Glamour Magazine.

This beautiful and classic silk blouse is by Ted Baker and will be available in the store in the next week.

For pre-orders please contact us at 310.392.2525 or

Thursday, August 9, 2007

New Arrivals - Week of August 5th

New Fall arrivals on tap at Brick Lane this week for men and women:

Orla Kiely brown cashmere cardigan, Laminate Purse collection in "tumblers"

Ted Baker angora short sleeve toggle clasp wrap
sweater in Navy with Anya Hindmarch metallic leather clutch in Amythest

ISSA of London silk jersey short sleeve mini kimono top
in Black

Ted Baker wool cape with belt in Silver

ISSA of London silk jersey mini dress with Anya Hindmarch "The Jourdan" bag in leather naplak
Ted Baker shirt in Silver/Grey, Babbette Wasserman silk skull tie in Black and Silver, Buckler denim in Smoke

Brick Lane in Statement Magazine

I won't lie - every time I see my shop written up in a magazine I still get a little thrill. Below is a write up of Brick Lane in Statement Magazine for their "British Invasion" issue.
(See I keep telling you, the British Invasion is EVERYWHERE these days!)
Statements Magazine Issue 3, 2007 page 39. Copy of write up below.

U.K. All the Way

Fittingly for a store named after a street in the East End of London, the quaint boutique Brick Lane was started by - and is popular with - devoted Anglophiles. Amanda Dugan, a Yank with a longtime love of all things British, opened the shop two years ago within walking distance of Venice Beach.

Brick Lane, which is located in a century-old Craftsman house, has the feel of a cozy cottage in the English countryside, complete with a fireplace in the front room. Its British bona fides include a signature red phone booth on the front lawn and a motto that would make Winston Churchill weep in his Watney's with pride: "All U.K., all the time!"

A walk through the premises makes it clear that Dugan, to borrow a line from the quintessentially British band the Kinks, is a dedicated follower of fashion. Her specialty "big surprise" is clothing from the U.K. that isn't readily found here in the colonies. Women's lines include, ISSA, Orla Kiely, John Smedley, Nougat, Sophia Swire and Anya Hindmarch. For men, there's Fred Perry, Oliver Spencer, Ted Baker and more.

"I buy things in style but not necessarily things that are trendy, " says Dugan. "I was raised with the premise to invest in quality, as opposed to buying things that are cheaper because you can buy in quantity. I buy pieces that will last you longer then a season - not just in style, but in the quality of the good."

Best of all for shoppers, the mood is as great as the merch. The ocean air is a far cry from Carnaby Street, but the English accents are irresistible. If you feel the urge, ask for a cup of tea and retire to the porch swing on a beautiful beach day.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Abbot Kinney First Friday Event

Well another First Friday evening past and this one was hands down the most popular one on the street to date! For those of you who made it out, you were treated to drinks, specials, socializing with your neighbors, meeting new friends and enjoying a lovely summer evening out and about in your neighborhood! (And that was just at Brick Lane, I hear that the rest of the street had a fantastic and fun evening as well!)

It took a bit of time, but we think that some of the press such as the Santa Monica Daily Press article, the constant word of mouth from all the vendors on the street and the diligence from our Venice Neighborhood Council member Mike Newhouse in creating these evenings has paid off! Thanks to Mike for all his work organizing charities, keeping the group together, notifying the vendors on the street and for his all around supportive and enthusiastic attitude in helping bring success to the shops along the Kinney! (We are anxiously awaiting news of mike and Ruthies first baby, due a few days ago!)

Abbot Kinney First Fridays has been organized to help increase our neighborhood community, support of our retail boulevard of Abbot Kinney and the ability to give back to the community we call home by means of charitable donations. Our main goal is to help drive business to the small family owned establishments in an attempt to keep Chain store retail outlets away from our eclectic, artistic and ever growing and changing Abbot Kinney Blvd.

I would personally like to thank all of the members of the community and my customers who came out in support of the evening, shopping, drinking, laughing and generally creating an amazing environment for me to enjoy in my store for 5 hours. I had so much fun with you all - and would like to give a special shout out of congrats to 2 very special customers Alexa and Anton who came in to let Jordan and I know they recently got engaged! A bottle of bubbly was popped and will be for any future customers who come in with such special news! Sending lots of love to the happy couple from their Brick Lane family!

The drawing for the raffle was done on Sunday and the following 5 winners are the recipients of a $100 Store Credit! Congratulations to: Carie Maniscalco, Katy Ballard, Celena Perkins, Lisa Wren and Alexa Marino & Anton Bacardi!

For those of you who were unable to make it, please stop by the next First Friday Event at Brick Lane for drinks, snacks, specials and gifts! Then you can stroll the rest of the boulevard to see what specials are being offered up and down the street. Enjoy your neighborhood and support Abbot Kinney! Hope to see you all soon!

Paul Weller Fred Perry Limited Edition

Paul Weller, the British rock world legend has been wearing Fred Perry shirts for decades and now he has teamed up with the brand to create a limited run of shirts designed and constructed to his very exacting standards. Slightly slimmer fit, pique cotton, smaller collar and the original sewn on emblem logo from the 60's style shirts are just a few of his modifications.

1000 shirts were put into production in each colorway for the entire globe, so these are truly limited collectors items for the discerning Paul Weller fan. Brick Lane has 6 more of these special Fred Perry shirts in stock ranging from Small to Large in RED. For pricing and sizing info please feel free to contact us. Each shirt is numbered, tag signed and comes in a gift box. Truly a unique gift for the music loving man in your life!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Oliver Spencer for men

As you can see by the article heading - the second British Invasion is in full swing! These days you can't open ANY magazine without reading an article on U.K. based designers and artists - not to mention the countless features on the foggy town across the pond itself! A city with a booming economy brimming with fabulous restaurants, hotels, museums, nightlife and of course SHOPPING!

Oliver Spencer is an incredible menswear designer with an eye and attention for detail that is hard to surpass. Named one of the TOP 10 Tailors in the U.K. by U.K.Vogue in 2006, his label is British style and fashion for men personified. Quintessential English style mixed with quirky flourishes and topped off by an astounding attention to detail, his collection is one that every man who likes English Style is absolutely required to investigate, and fortunately for the men in Southern California, you can find it at Brick Lane. New Yorkers can visit his new stand-alone shop!

During my recent shopping trip to the Big Apple in July I was fortunate enough to get a preview of his Spring/Summer 2008 collection at a rather unique party. Generally fashion week and market weeks center around runway shows and parties for women's lines, so it is always a pleasure to see one for menswear. So sister Kathleen (a NYC publicist) in tow, we headed down to the village to Cooper Classic Cars on Perry St, next to the infamous The Other Room (of which we have the west coast location directly across the street from Brick Lane on Abbot Kinney). It was an evening of fun and frivolity with a distinctly New York artist scene vibe mixed with people from my growing circle of British fashion friends and designers, great cocktails, canapes and fashion that was showcased not on models, but instead neon lights. Not the norm, but it does show how Ollie takes something ordinary and puts just enough of a spin on it to make it uniquely his. The collection is spot-on English tailoring meets upscale casual beach vibe. Spring Summer 2008 is looking good!

Fall Winter 2007 Collection for Oliver Spencer should be arriving in the next few weeks. Drop us an email to let us know you would like to be notified when it arrives.