Chic Boutiques : Elizabeth Charles

by jennine on July 17, 2007

As soon as Elizabeth Charles opened on Fillmore Street, I’ve been coveting the window displays… Beautiful clothing that isn’t really what you would call your regular San Francisco flavor. One Saturday, after chasing a woman in a cafe down to find out where she got her dress (the above mentioned shoppe), I finally decided to have a talk with the owner, Elizabeth Charles herself. All the clothes are imported from Australia and New Zealand, and the only specialty boutique in the States. It’s amazing, because time and time again, I’m blown away by the creative fashion they have down there. It’s probably my third favorite style culture to watch, UK (naturally), Scandinavian, Australian…

Elizabeth Charles, an Australian, had no previous ‘fashion experience’, she was working on Wall Street. Her experience came from her wardrobe, she would get stopped on the street by strangers just to find out where she got her clothing, since it was always from Australia, she decided to change careers, and start her shop in New York City. “She got a lot of support from her husband” Says Tony, her husband. Her good friend Rebbecca Weinberg (the stylist from Sex and the City) also helped her to develop the shop… and it just grew.
The reason why I find this boutique so interesting, is because it extracts a particular genre of fashion, and brings it out to light in a way I personally may have glossed over, instead giving it some time to look at Australian Fashion and ponder what it’s about, and why it’s important. I’ve done many posts over the months about various designers down under, they obviously have something brewing down there… There’s edge, there’s play, and there’s great design. For a small nation of 20million people, it’s impressively cosmopolitan given it’s geographic separation from the fashion capitals of the world. And geography is what has allowed for it to grow it’s own distinctive style, the opposite seasons, the proximity to Asia and the mixture of cultures, and the national pastime: travel (who hasn’t met an Australian backpacker?).

Like everyone else, I’m not exactly sure how the internet is going to affect fashion, if it will do so the way traveling has done in years past, but it certainly is refreshing to see such well-crafted innovative designer clothing that isn’t seen by everyone who reads Vouge, which generally caters to the Northern Hemisphere: London-Paris-New York-Milan axis…

Some of my favorite designers she carries in the shop are:
Kirrily Johnson (the designer of the grey minidress top right and nude one-shoulder dress), Zambesi (grey fitted dress, middle left), Alice McCall, & Karen Walker

Elizabeth Charles : 639 1/2 Hudson Street • NYC & 2056 Fillmore Street • SF
(the lovely woman in the top right photo is Elizabeth Varnell, Style Director from San Francisco Magazine!)

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cov. in cambridge July 17, 2007 at 10:04 am

darling, mind please ID’ing the designers of the 2 dresses you are wearing so i can e-stalk them obsessively? ;)

Candid Cool July 17, 2007 at 10:45 am

a chic boutique indeed

jennine July 17, 2007 at 11:21 am

oh yes! they are Kirrily Johnston and Zambesi. Check out their websites… fab! (links are in the post)

cov. in cambridge July 17, 2007 at 11:38 am

drats. how did i completely miss that in the post? sorry for pestering you!

jennine July 17, 2007 at 11:41 am

oh no… you didn’t miss anything, i had made the correction!
: )

Anonymous July 17, 2007 at 1:58 pm

love the one-shoulder dress!
..what’s so great about the woman’s dress? :(

Iconoclastic July 17, 2007 at 7:36 pm

Swoon, I absolutely love the toga dress. I need to get my hands on it for an upcoming wedding…

Thanks for the lead!

Serena July 22, 2007 at 9:32 pm

Check out Oyster magazine! It’s Australian and covers all kinds of good stuff, including the runway shows out there.

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