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Gillian Flynn | Photo: Noa Azoulay | September 25, 2013
A Flower Hill boutique gains cult status.
“Let me Instagram it,” says Andrea Van De Vort of her eponymous Del Mar boutique (shopvandevort.com). It’s not just a buzzword in this boho-chic haven; it’s the business plan for the 28-year-old entrepreneur who sowed her oats managing big labels in L.A.’s Fashion District. “I had a woman drive from L.A. for a dress I posted,” she says. “[Instagram] drives 90 percent of sales.” Van De Vort has nailed the SoCal style-savvy look with her exacting mix of flowing separates, on-trend staples and statement jewelry. She also turns to local S.D. designers, while her L.A. connections give her mega-exclusives on cult-followed, made-in-the-USA lines like Stone Cold Fox. “Their stuff blows out of here.” On a recent Wednesday morning, it appeared that coveted brand wasn’t the only line with a tailwind, as customers nabbed the last Lady Bird floppy hats and Monroe pants. “It’s loungewear, but it’s so not Lululemon.”
Front Row Flower Hill hasn’t been synonymous with fashion, but developer Jeffrey Essakow wants to change all that with The Row, an initiative to lure edgy brands and young creatives (flowerhill.com; for inquiries call 858.380.8684.) After investing millions into the center, which boasts new restaurants like Sea & Smoke and a shiny, be-seen Whole Foods, Essakow wants to create pop-ups and workshop-type spaces showcasing local brands. “It’s going to be a little bit different, a little bit edgy and a total lifestyle vibe,” says Essakow, who is inspired by The Camp and The Lab shopping centers in O.C. Plans include a communal sitting area where people can work, shop and, of course, people-watch.
“They’re trying to tap young, creative-minded types,” says boutique owner Andrea Van De Vort. If her success is any indication, they’re onto something.