After 28 years in Park Royal, Phoenix boutique owner Lin Rockwell felt it was time to go. And she’s glad she did.
The fashion industry veteran packed up her designer brands and trademark bling and last Saturday celebrated the opening of a new store at the corner of 15th and Marine Drive in the heart of Ambleside.
The former site of Dream apparel and home accessories has the cool vibe of a Soho loft. With its 20-foot ceiling and double-height windows, “The place is too big and too expensive for us. But we just had to do it,” says Rockwell, who owns and operates the women’s fashion and accessories boutique with daughter, Sasha. “Everything looks so much better in here,” she enthuses, casting a smoky eye across the room.
Exposed rafters and ductwork painted grey add to the raw, industrial feel of the space, while a pair of zebra hides strewn across the bare concrete floor look effortlessly chic. As for the merchandise, rhinestones and gold add sparkle to basic black and this season’s jewel tones, animal prints and lace for a glamorous assortment.
What came over from the old store? Popular brands, a collection of retro-chic Rootstein mannequins, three chandelier pendant lights that are now in the fitting rooms, and “all the staff,” says Rockwell.
New are several international brands, and an expanded shoe and jewelry selection. A cruise wear department will open later in October. Phoenix also now sells fashions up to size 18.
Making their return are a couple of old favourites and Canadian fashion classics: Toronto’s Franco Mirabelli, known for fine quality Italian wool suitings, and Vancouver’s Neto Leather/French Laundry, whose fabric and lightweight leather panel dress is right on trend.
The most lavish items in the store are $600 fur-trimmed cashmere shawls, but there are affordable fashions as well. “We’re really price conscious,” says Rockwell, explaining that today’s style-savvy shopper has the confidence to build an outfit from a blend of brands. “You don’t have to stick yourself in one designer or one price point anymore.”
Rockwell has been in this business a long time. Before Phoenix, she co-operated Zebra on Robson Street. Still, she’s not afraid to put in long hours, working 14-hour days to set up the new shop. “I strung every crystal myself,” she says of the three globe-shape chandeliers suspended above the central cash desk and accessories display cases. At night, they illuminate the store like a glittering jewel box.
And four decades in the business have not dampened her enthusiasm for fashion. “Look at this line,” Rockwell says, showing me Sympli, a collection of easy-wear, easy-care slinky knits made in Canada. She pulls a lacy black tunic from the rack. “This is what I wore for the store opening — with leggings and . . .,” pausing, tongue in cheek, “too much jewelry.”
Some things never change.
Phoenix will present fashions at Nite of Hope North Shore, the fifth annual gala in support of Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, Nov. 1, 2013 at Pinnacle Hotel at the Pier. Buy tickets and find out more at niteofhope.com/northshore.
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