Photo: Pol' Atteu Beverly Hills
As of Friday, June 5, 2020
Pol’ Atteu Beverly Hills was one of the scores of boutiques that were looted in Beverly Hills, Calif.’s luxury Golden Triangle retail district last week. Separatists sought the opportunity to engage in the destruction of property while peaceful protests took place to bring attention to the murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis on May 25 while he was in police custody.
While the unrest impacted Rodeo Drive flagships of prominent brands, such as Alexander McQueen, it also affected independent businesses. Pol’ Atteu co-owners and spouses Patrik Simpson and designer Pol’ Atteu hoped to rally and support a rebound by starting a GoFundMe crowdfunding page. The page, Restore and Reopen Pol’ Atteu Beverly Hills, was launched June 1.
Currently the GoFundMe page is one of the main avenues to rebuilding the 27-year-old boutique, located at 9414 Dayton Way, just off of Rodeo Drive, Simpson said, as he discussed plans to rebuild.
Atteu has dressed celebrities such as AnnaLynne McCord in red-carpet gowns. He and Simpson also appear in an Amazon Prime video series about their lives called “Gown and Out in Beverly Hills.” Their operations were also ready to expand prior to the COVID-19 pandemic. On March 3, they opened a Pol’ Atteu Beverly Hills atelier in Seattle. Only a couple of weeks later, they had to close the Seattle boutique and their Beverly Hills store due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The bided their time by making face masks through a new business venture named Designer 90210. They also donated masks to homeless shelters, hospitals such as Cedars-Sinai and to essential workers at supermarkets.
They recently got a go-ahead to open their Beverly Hills store with a reopening scheduled for June 1. Their preparations were interrupted during the late afternoon of May 30 when Atteu and Simpson received a call from the Beverly Hills Police Department.
“The police told us that we had to leave,” Simpson said. “It wasn’t safe.”
By that time, thousands of people had flooded the area. Atteu and Simpson reported being escorted out of the area by Beverly Hills police officers around 5 p.m.
They feared for their store. About three hours later, their store alarm went off and they called their security company. Representatives advised that typical procedure would compel them to call the Beverly Hills police, but normal procedures wouldn’t work. Police were overwhelmed.
“My heart was in my stomach,” Atteu said. “The hand-beaded collection that I had made, gowns that I had designed for the upcoming Daytime Emmys. They were all in the store.”
When they returned to their 1,000-square-foot shop the next day, they found a looted space in which walls were defaced with graffiti and glass cases were broken. Jewelry and handbags in the glass cases were gone, or discarded onto the pavement. Shards of glass were scattered across the store. Store mannequins and the gowns covering the mannequins had vanished. There were some drops of dried blood at the scene, probably from people who had cut themselves trying to break open glass. Atteu wanted to put the damage in context.
“I don’t mind protestors. But protests should be peaceful,” he said. “What the looters did feels like a hate crime. I feel so violated.”
Atteu and Simpson have been in touch with their insurance company and the Beverly Hills Police Department to assess the cost of the damages. The store is currently closed, but a reopening will be crucial.
“If we don’t reopen, all of the people who looted win,” Atteu said. “I don’t want to fail our client base, our retailers and our vendors. We’re all helping each other to get through this.”