At her 3rd Street boutique Satine, Jeannie Lee has been mixing luxury brands such as Alaia with lower-priced emerging designers such as Isabel Lu, refining an appealing high-low sensibility that's built a following for the last six years.
Lee, a former real estate lawyer, has expanded to a branded boutique in Tokyo, and this month, chain retailers Forever 21 and Anthropologie are tapping her to put her mark on affordable looks.
"I'm known for high-end fashion and finding new talents," Lee says, "and I want to bring my point of view to the masses."
For Forever 21, she designed Shibuya Mon Amour, a collection of six $13 to $16 T-shirts in styles including crew and scoop necks and tank tops. The line, named for a trendy section of Tokyo, features graphic black-and-white prints of wildlife. She envisions buyers pairing an oversize owl-print tee with a black blazer, leggings and Converse sneakers for an au courant casual look. A new round of T-shirt prints in full color will arrive in April.
Lee and partner Virginia Pereira also designed a line of $28 to $78 lingerie for Anthropologie called Bacini (Italian for "little kisses"). Pieces range from $28 basic panty-briefs in yellow, pink and navy to $38 for a lace racer-back bra. "The collection is sexy but not in an obvious way," Lee says.
For her own boutique, she is bringing in the spring collection from Jason Wu ($800 to $5,000), designer of Michelle Obama's inaugural ball gown. And this summer, Satine plans to carry the new fall luxury collection from Jeanne Yang and Katie Holmes, which she previewed this month.
Lee says luxury fashion shoppers have adjusted to the times, and she has adjusted her buying strategy.
"Girls are coming in and buying one thing, saying, 'I want the best item in the store,' " Lee says. "People still want beautiful things. A buyer has to be smarter and selective in finding what people will drop money on."
8117 W. 3rd St., Los Angeles. (323) 655-2142. 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Saturday. Noon to 6 p.m. Sunday. www.satineboutique.com.