Friday, July 23, 2010

Splendor in the Grass

A few of my recent posts have been a tad bleak, noted by grim topics about tough economic times and pressing environmental issues. A friend mentioned that even listening to Joy Division songs cheered him up after the reads...

So let us take a little summer break. Let us free our minds and go to a soft, fuzzy place. I'm imagining a 70's style movie clip - a close-up of a sun drenched daisy field, followed by a zoom to a mod-styled Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg strolling gently in the distance to the sounds of easy grooves. Then later in the evening, glasses of Riunti wine are clinking in front of a glowing fireplace, shag rug and all.

Fast-forward a few decades and you'll get that same hip, fuzzy feeling at Grasshopper, a fabulous chic boutique near Philadelphia's Old City area, with all the latest fashions for the new generation of Jane Birkins and Serge Gainsbourgs.

Grasshopper Boutique
The stylish apparel and accessory shop, which is in its 4th year of operation, is the creation of Tracy Lutz and Regina Louise, two young ladies with an amazingly keen and playful fashion sense.

In addition to offering forefront designs from labels around the globe, the shop also features items from an assortment of talented local designers and fashion artists, such as Magic Outlaw apparel by a team of young entrepreneurs at Philadelphia's own Outlaw Printing Company.

Buying from area vendors, or being a locasumer, not only helps the local economy, but can be another small way to cut down on carbon emissions and help the planet (see my post The Art and Soul of Philly). It also puts you at ease knowing that your clothing wasn't the output of some slavish sweat-shop somewhere overseas.

Both Tracy and Regina both met while working at a swank t-shirt design company here in Philadelphia, and though neither were of formal fashion design education - albeit Tracy already had experience in the industry as a fashion model, and Regina worked in the design department at fashion-loaded Urban Outfitters, which is headquartered in Philadelphia - they shared an intuition for style and love of clothes, and decided that opening their own "supertique" would be an ultimate fantasy come true.

Much of their inspiration can be found at their visually dazzling blog Come Spy With Me. But be careful, you may be forever lured into an intriguing world of fashion espionage.

The two ladies also seem to have an uncanny eye for interior design, especially 70's style, evidenced by the hard work they've done on the store's great decor. The walls are decorated with colorful mylar floral and photo prints, the crystal lighting fixtures give a neo-baroque sense of elegance, and the lipstick red metal fireplace and bearskin rug near the dressing rooms adds sexiness and warmth, literally - the wood-burner is their main heat source.

Tracy says she loves to collect items from the '70's because it reminds her of childhood and that she feels like it was a fun decade. She has wonderfully decorated the walls of the store with the numerous super-groovy paintings and drawings of the era that she has collected throughout the years. It gives the space a very personable, but hip feel.

"I didn't want this to be just another vanilla box," she says, referring to standard white-walled boutiques and galleries that house clothes and art. "I wanted the space itself to be art."

Based on the looks of their Grasshopper Boutique, they've made that happen in a fun and beautiful way.--D.A. DeMers.

Ballade de Melody Nelson. Classic hit song by Serge Gainsbourg.


Grasshopper co-owner Tracy Lutz.

Cozy mod.

Grasshopper's interior with vintage owl wall art.

Grasshopper's interior - vintage photo wallpaper

Accessorize yourself!

A celebration last year at Grasshopper's 3'd anniversary.

Note: This article is an update from my earlier post last September.

Coming soon to designer in exile - the magnificent landscape design of Chicago's Botanic Gardens. Would Daniel Burnham be proud? And be sure to visit my new site, Home Science, for professional energy saving advice on your digs.

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