Lamarr Nanton and Sue Yang used to work for The Man. Now they’re working for women. After being downsized from their corporate jobs, the dashing Virgin Island native and the petite Korean darling (who have a combined fashion pedigree that includes time at Donna Karan, Giorgio Armani, and Manuel Designs) launched their own ladies’ fashion line, Elli Grace. Significant interest in their fresh, flirty fare quickly led to a retail store of the same name.
Their bitty boutique, which opened in late June, is located on the second floor of the Shops of Willow Bend, across from Saks Fifth Avenue. It’s bright and airy and provides a sophisticated backdrop for the line, which comprises enough tulle, pleats, ruffles, and lace to give Carrie Bradshaw a coronary. Two things make their conceit truly unique: every pretty top, frilly skirt, and flouncy dress is handmade by one of the two, and the designers are in-store to customize the limited-edition clothes. So if you want a hemline 3 inches lower, a t-shirt with twice as many flowers, or the bodice of one dress attached to the bottom of another, no problem—and no extra charge (pretty amazing given that prices range from $50 to $200).
The duo’s first fall collection retains its youthful appeal but has a bit of a rock-and-roll edge. Chiffon floral embellishments make way for those of leather and wool. Metal studs join Swarovski crystals. And you can look for those whimsical Sex and the City skirts to be layered over leggings. To see the collection, go to www.elligrace.com.