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The people have spoken: Cerre is LA's best new store. Beating out covetable contenders like Kelly Wearstler, Clare Vivier and Myrtle is no easy feat, but this minimalist Melrose boutique won by a landslide thanks to its many loyal followers.
We recently stopped by Cerre to personally congratulate designers Clayton and Flavie Webster and to hear more about their cult-worthy brand.
How are you liking the move to Melrose?
Clayton: "This was always our dream neighborhood. We previously had an atelier on Las Palmas behind the Egyptian Theatre. That store was really pretty but had a different vibe because it was in a very old building. We were there for about two years before moving here. We've always liked this neighborhood because it's so chic; we like it better than Rodeo Drive."
Flavia: "It's more like a little village in a sense because people that live around here just walk around. And it's off the main streets that are really crazy. It fits really well with our brand."
Clayton: "Exactly. We love the exterior façade of this building, too. We're really happy here."
Does your store carry any other brands or is it all Cerre?
Clayton: "It's all Cerre. We design everything in our back studio here at the boutique. It's great to have the design studio here because we can just take clients to the back to measure them and make exactly what they want. We also do a lot of custom work for movies."
What movies have you worked on that you can talk about?
Clayton: "The last film was The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. We worked on a new film this summer, but we can't talk about it until August 2013. We did about 150 pieces for it, so that was a lot of work."
Wow. Where do you draw inspiration from for your designs?
Clayton: "We are constantly evolving the collection. Flavia and I both have completely different ways of working. She's very instinctual; some of her designs come from dreams. I design based on deep research on weird subjects. Some of my references come from '70s avant-garde electronic records. For our new print, we were really obsessed with this Russian tea set, which led to looking into Russian royal tea factory art, which led to constructiveness art from the 1920's, which led to generative art. It's a blend of really old ideas with really new ones. I spent a week at home learning a program that computes generative art and then used Photoshop to create a print based on one frame."
That must have been extremely tedious.
Flavia: "We are very specific with what we want to create."
Clayton: "That's why we make everything ourselves; you can't create something unique in a factory here because a bunch of other designers are using the same factory."
Is it important for Cerre to maintain creative integrity?
Clayton: "Definitely. It's not about the money; it's about getting a vision across. Speaking of money, we're actually working on a diffusion line that will feature more affordable items. We realize that it's nice to have things that your friends can afford, so this secondary line will be more accessible."
Is Cerre sold in any other boutiques?
Flavia: "The goal is to start a wholesale program for our next collection, which will allow select stores to carry our designs. It's going to be a lot of work, but it's exciting."
What are some of your bestselling items?
Flavia: "Our signature motorcycle jackets do very well, as do our kimonos. I don't know why I'm so fascinated with kimonos, but I love designing them. We started with very sheer fabrics, but now we're working with heavier materials. Our scarves are also popular since they can be worn in a variety of ways. Versatility is important to me because I'm always on the move. We also have a great leather jacket with a detachable scarf, which comes in very handy. Our small leather goods also do well."
Are there any other store exclusives?
Clayton: "Besides apparel and accessories, our store also features a small collection of items that we've discovered. Currently we have a series of $15 cassettes from an art label in Frankfurt. They do these weird sound installations for art shows. Every tape is different and they're live recorded. Sometimes we'll bring in records or little antiques."
Flavia: "The circular tables in our store can be purchased, too. Our logo is a solar eclipse, so these tables are supposed to represent the planets and the solar system."
Besides a Racked Award, a diffusion line, a new collection and a potential wholesale program, is there anything else that you're excited about?
Clayton: "Christmas! We can't wait to go on vacation."
· Cerre [Official Site]
· Cerre Makes a Move to Melrose [Racked]
· Vote! What is LA's Best New Store? [Racked]
· Announcing the 2012 Racked Awards Winners! [Racked]