Thursday, November 14, 2013
Wayward Debutante - Shop On A Bus!
UPDATE: The Wayward Debutante bus is now closed. For now, you can find Ali and some of her treasures at Principessa on Abbot Kinney.
Just when we're all lamenting the change (and sameness) of corporate b.s. and greed trying to change our Venice, you get some rays of hope that cool people still live here ... and cool people still move here BECAUSE of the way Venice has always been. Like Ali Jenkins. I met her at a party at Principessa last weekend, and she told me about her shop, Wayward Debutante, that she operates out of a decked out old bus at the Love Shack site at 2121 Lincoln Boulevard.
Jenkins grew up on the east coast, and spent 13 years in New York City modeling and working in the fashion world. She always had a passion for clothes, and was inspired by Patricia Field, Anita Pallenberg, Kate Moss and Jane Birkin. Like those icons, Jenkins calls her personal aesthetic, "High society meets rock star." I get it.
After visiting her cousin who lives here a few times, Jenkins kept thinking, "Why am I not in Venice?" So now she is. When looking around for a space to house her idea for a vintage clothing store, she heard about an empty bus available to rent from Udi Levy at the Love Shack. The idea of Almost Famous's Penny Lane, traveling on the bus with the band in her excellent threads was appealing to Jenkins, and she knew it would also be a fun experience for her shoppers. To climb aboard the funky, painted bus and be surrounded by lovely articles of clothing and accessories makes you feel like you're going somewhere yourself ... somewhere fun, somewhere exciting, somewhere where anything might happen. It gives you ideas. "I want it to be more than a store, I want it to be an experience." And it is. You can almost see Janis Joplin sitting right there, with her feet up on the surfboard table.
Beautifully refurbished pieces share space with upcycled bags like the Birkin-looking one that local artist and friend of Jenkins, Jules Muck, has adorned with the Rolling Stones tongue. Another features Kate Moss with a Union Jack. Muck also created the logo for Wayward Debutante, which Jenkins has silk-screened on a variety of vintage shirts that look ultra-fresh. One of a kind, locally found and created gifts (for yourself or a loved one) can be found aboard the bus, and given with the knowledge that for sure no one else is going to have it. You won't get that same satisfaction shopping at Lucky Brand (or any of the other posers that have nothing to do with Venice). The difference here too is that, "All is done with love." That you can feel.
Another real inspiration for Jenkins is Patti Astor, who founded the Fun Gallery in New York. Astor put on art shows for the likes of Basquiat and Keith Haring, and created a whole scene around those artistic, hip hop times of the 1980's. Jenkins feels like that same kind of vibe exists in Venice (STILL!), and the whole Love Shack zone is made up of a collective of artists, "A little family," doing things from paintings to wooden tables to bean bag chairs, all supporting and enjoying each other. The artists and the clients are a mixture of all walks of life, and as we sat chatting on the couch in front of the bus, you could feel the stares of the faces sitting in Lincoln Boulevard traffic, wondering what might be going down at this colorful scene.
The vintage treasures that hang in, on and around the bus are found by Jenkins at flea markets, estate sales, and the like, and it's clear that she has a great eye, and great taste. She is open to selling other peoples' things on consignment, and excited about sharing her space with customers and collaborators alike. As Wayward Debutante gets really going, Jenkins intends to branch out into street/skate wear and will also offer custom styling, so if you have a special event coming up, she can deck out from head to toe, again, in a look that you can be sure no one else will be wearing.
Since arriving in Venice about a year ago, Jenkins has fully embraced what Venice is - and should be. "I love the bohemia of it all. There's such a vibe, and aura, and with all the eclectic people, I couldn't be in a more perfect place for Wayward Debutante." I was relieved she thought this, as so many old school people seem to have kind of given up on all of that. There's still hope!
Especially when you get people like Jenkins adding to the vibe that has been carefully curated here for decades, and I thanked her for helping us to keep it alive. She loves the things we all love here, like biking and skating at the beach, sitting in the cafes watching all of Venice go by, but "You don't really have to go anywhere. You can just sit back and soak it all in." So that's exactly what we did.
Climb aboard the Wayward Debutante bus! Stop in for a glass of Jenkins' special jalapeno water, get a new frock, get styled, feel the love, and thank her for this cool new space in our town.
Wayward Debutante is open 11ish - 6:30ish at 2121 Lincoln - on the bus.