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