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Fashion Meets Art at Urban Dolls

Alex Damiano's unique boutique carries independent labels and fashion forward styles

Copycat fashion seems to line Ventura Boulevard as well as the shopping malls, so it’s quite eye opening to walk into a boutique with styles and labels you haven’t seen before—and with prices for most any budget. Urban Dolls in Studio City is that shop and quite a fashion surprise.

Owner Alex  Damiano  opened her boutique in Studio City seven months ago just west of Laurelgrove.  Before that, the store had its first successful life in Sherman Oaks for five years as Scandalo.

“I decided to open up in Studio City because it's a lively, fashion aware area...there's a lot of executive women and performers who have embraced our unique and timeless style, " explains Damiano.

Why the name change? “People couldn’t pronounce Scandalo and I’ve always liked Urban Dolls…a woman is a doll forever.”

Before opening her first store, Damaino studied at Marangoni Design School in Milan.  Her innate artistic sensibility permeates everything she touches. Urban Dolls is where fashion meets art. The small boutique itself has exposed brick, dark wood floors and a olive hue wall that Damiano painted and added an embossed Victorian design.

The inventory at Urban Dolls consists of independent lines by local designers. Most are made locally, however there are select couture pieces from Europe. “I want to give artists an opportunity to their showcase work and promote people who are talented, independent designers,” says Damiano.

Classic mixes with sexy, feminine and comfortable for a wide range of ages and body types.  “I carry styles for a confident woman who is looking for fashion that is another form of art…fashion should be fun,” said Damiano, who adds, “you don’t have to be a size 2.”

Damiano possesses a warm, engaging personality and has the most fun styling her customers—especially those who come in looking for basic black and walk out feeling good with an outfit more on the cutting edge (okay, that would be me in a turqouise Pucci inspired mini-dress I just love!).  She is honest in her approach and has a good eye for telling what styles and colors look best on varying body types.

Popular right now is the “Jackie O” dress that’s a 60s silhouette and comes in prints and solids.  Pair it with an artistic liquid metal, handmade belt and you’ve got a very mod look.  Go another direction and check out long, maxi dresses in strapless and halter styles.  Frilly, feminine shirts are beautiful paired with skirts. Tunics can be worn as mini-dresses or as shirts with leggings.

There is also a small collection of long gowns and short, flirty dresses that can be dressed up or down according to the occasion.

Accessories are select and unique. Jewelry is mostly handcrafted, whether it’s knit, metals, beads or stones.  Among the purses are designs done in baked leather that are hand-painted and hand-carved and others that are hand-beaded. Belts are varying widths and styles.

Damiano is excited about her incoming pieces for fall. She says that purple and lace are going to be big using some 60s elements with a European, rather than hippie, twist.

“I like to implement certain elements of a trend, while adding an artistic element,” says Damiano. “I like to say we’re not trendy, but rather trendsetters catering to the fashion forward.”

Shopping at Urban Dolls is easy and fun— both for the fashion choices and for Alex Damiano herself.

Urban Dolls 12307 Ventura Blvd. (just west of Laurelgrove), Studio City, CA 91604  (818) 980-7788

Kelly Stacy June 14, 2011 at 08:40 PM
Urban Dolls is one of LA's best kept secrets. I am a long-time customer, and every time I wear pieces from there I get compliments from both men & women on how unique and fashionable my outfits are. Alex truly knows her stuff and will make you feel like a million bucks no matter what size you are! I highly, highly recommend you stop by her store the next time you are in the Studio City area. You will not be disappointed!! :)
Barbara June 15, 2011 at 02:14 AM
Alex is amazing. I spent an hour or so trying all the gorgeous dresses she has in Urban Dolls. Alex really knows what looks fabulous on you and without her I would have probably bought another black dress. If you are looking for that special boutique with fabulous clothes, go see Alex. You will not be sorry!
Deborah June 15, 2011 at 03:07 AM
I am a huge fan of Urban Dolls. I have several dresses from this store and whenever I wear them people stop me to ask where I got my dress. Alex knows how to style everyone that comes in and I always leave knowing I'm going to get a lot of use out of my purchase.
Marine June 17, 2011 at 07:19 AM
A few months back I was given a gift from Urban Dolls, when I opened the gift I thought, "wow, what an amazing dress." I gotta admit, I've always been afraid of color, but I slipt into the dress, I was completely blown away, my goodness the dress fits into all the right places and the colors just livened me up. Upon wear the dress, I could not believe how may people asked about the dress. What's so great about the dress, is that I'm a size 4 and the dress looks great on me, just recently my sis who is a size 8 borrowed my dress and the dress looked sooooooooo good on her. No matter the size or the age, there is just something about these dress that look great on everybody. I love this dress, it's a timeless dress so I'm happy it's not going to be out of style tomorrow. Upon visiting the store I could not believe how low their prices were. If you are tired of seeing the same stuff in all the stores, I dare you go in and try their tunics and Halter dresses, which are my favs, one print is better then the other. I know you will be SOLD.

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