Haute Hippie Opens First West Coast Store

After establishing three stores in New York, Haute Hippie, the 5-year-old women's contemporary label, is headed west.

The New York–based brand signed a lease on Aug. 19 to move into Sunset Plaza, an exclusive retail district on Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, Calif., said Jay Luchs of Newmark Grubb Knight Frank, who brokered the deal.

Haute Hippie is renting a 1,725-square-foot space that had previously been occupied by jeweler Phillip Press. Press will move upstairs to another location in the building.

Haute Hippie’s Sunset Plaza neighbors will be the Drybar salon; homewares, fashion and accessories boutique Tobi Tobin; and the Café Med restaurant. With Haute Hippie, there will be no vacancies at Sunset Plaza, said Francis Montgomery, president of Montgomery Management Co., the owner of Sunset Plaza.

“A new brand brings new energy and excitement,” Montgomery said of Haute Hippie’s store. The store is scheduled to open between Thanksgiving and the second week of December, said Jesse Cole, Haute Hippie’s chief executive officer.

The Sunset Plaza Haute Hippie store will be larger than the label’s three New York boutiques, which typically have a 1,400-square-feet footprint, Cole said. The extra space will allow Haute Hippie to show one-of-a-kind pieces such as formal gowns, as well as embellished pieces and more accessories.

The extra space also will offer extra fitting rooms in a space that will be decorated with cowhide and vintage chandeliers. “It’s going to be bohemian with an elegant flair,” Cole said. Even with its handful of boutiques, 85 percent of Haute Hippie’s business comes from wholesale, and 25 percent of that business comes from the West Coast, which is one reason why Haute Hippie wanted to open a California store.

When scouting for Los Angeles real estate, Cole was advised to open a store on a retail street such as Robertson Boulevard or West Third Street, but Sunset Plaza inspired him.

“When I think of Los Angeles, the first thing I think about is Sunset Boulevard. The Hollywood Hills are behind it, and it’s in that real, authentic area of West Hollywood. It is the center of it all.”

Haute Hippie is considering a second California location, possibly in Malibu. On Nov. 15, it will open a standalone store in the GoldenEye Hotel & Resort in Jamaica. The venture is a partnership with Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Outpost, the owner of GoldenEye. Blackwell also is the famous music-industry executive who signed legendary artists such as Bob Marley and U2