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What’s in Store

Versace’s designer collection drops at H&M, Broadway Plaza’s master plan continues to evolve, an auction house puts high-end designer brands on the block, and more in our retail report.

Versace comes to H&M

Big news this month for designer divas living on a shoestring budget - “The Very Best of Versace” drops into select H&M stores on Nov 17. It’s the first designer collection from the fashion retailer that will also feature home products.

East Bay fashionistas who are quick with their fingers can go online to shop the collection. Otherwise, expect to head out of town to snap up statement making pieces like a draped, mesh-metal, mini dress or cropped and fitted leather jacket adorned with metal studs. Only the Powell Street location in San Francisco and the San Jose Santana Row store will carry the Versace collection, which in true Donatella Versace fashion, is heavy on wild prints and color.

Expect lines, expect pieces to sell out quickly and come prepared to battle crowds as this collection will no doubt bring out every fashionable man and woman (the collection includes sharply tailored menswear) in the greater Bay Area.

Broadway Plaza asks shoppers for improvement ideas

Development plans are evolving for Walnut Creek’s outdoor mall, Broadway Plaza. Early this month city officials added their ideas to those gathered from residents in community meetings, focus groups, and surveys. On the table for discussion are plans to add more major retail space, expand the center’s signature fountain area, improve landscaping to incorporate nearby creeks, create a more pedestrian friendly experience by closing off part of Broadway Plaza Drive to traffic, and build 200 residential units.

“I appreciate the community outreach they are going through right now,” says Walnut Creek Mayor Cindy Silva. “In these economic times it’s good to see a company like Macerich (Broadway Plaza’s parent company) dedicated to the community who supports it.”

A final plan is still a ways away as Broadway Plaza continues to shop for input, but Silva estimates something will be put together early next year and brought to the City Council for approval mid 2012.

Broadway Plaza has scheduled two more community meetings for Nov. 16 at the Civic Park Community Center.

"Community feedback has been very encouraging. Walnut Creek residents have had many positive things to say about both the process and the evolving ideas," says Chuck Davis, vice president of development, for Macerich.

Old Oakland adds shopping to the mix

I’m excited to announce a new project popping up in the beautiful Old Oakland neighborhood. Tamarindo Restaurant owner, Alfonso Dominguez, has teamed up with Sarah Filley to bring much needed retail to an area that, while populated with many great eateries and bars, hasn’t seen major retail activity in its Victorian buildings since 2008.

In contrast to other pop-up store projects Popuphood is about supporting multiple businesses to foster a long-term retail presence and draw daytime foot traffic to the district.

“The idea is that we are incubating these small businesses and creating long-term retail business in the area,” says Filley. “It’s a moment for Oakland to do something really new.”

Six different local retailers have signed on to open late this year. They include Manifesto Bicycles, California lifestyle store Piper & John General Goods, clothing, accessory, and home goods boutique Marion and Rose’s Workshop, Sticks+Stones Gallery, Crown Nine run by jewelry designer Kate Ellen, and Turtle and Hare a furniture and design company which will occupy a shipping container on Washington and 8th. They will be given six months free rent by landlord Sullivan and Associates followed by the opportunity to sign a long-term lease.

Popuphood is working with the city and neighboring restaurants and bars in planning a big opening event for December 9. Stay tuned as more details pop up.

Iniam Closes its Doors

Sad news for Oakland this week as Iniam owner, Lisa Raja, announced Monday that the chic College Avenue women’s boutique would be closing its doors at the end of this year after more than six years in business. Raja says she is leaving the fashion world to spend more time watching her young family grow, but feels blessed to have been given the chance to pursue her dream of owning a boutique.

All merchandise will be 30 percent off both in store and online (use code INIAM30) for those looking to pick up a few parting gifts.

Upcoming Events

For a jump start on holiday shopping check out one (or two, or three!) of the festive shopping events taking place throughout the East Bay in the next few weeks.

Get your adrenaline flowing with a bidding war at Clars Auction Gallery’s upcoming High Fashion Auction – just don’t try and out bid me! With a long list of items for sale, including high-end couture and fashion accessories, designer shoes, handbags, African Tribal art, Asian art, beautiful furniture and one-of-a-kind decorative items, there really is something for even the most eclectic collector. They even have photographs signed by Charles Lindbergh and Amelia Earhart. Fashion hounds should ready their paddles for names like Cartier, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Dior, Christian Louboutin, Prada, Chanel, and Hermes (there are a few Birkin bags within the collection! Shh..). Also on the auction list is an amazing 7.08 carat diamond ring. Peek the complete auction listing online.
When: Nov. 12 – 13, 9:30 a.m. with a sale preview Nov. 11 from 1 p.m. – 6 p.m.
Where: 5644 Telegraph Ave., Oakland, clars.com

Get inspired to deck the halls green this Holiday season with Greenhouse Design Studios’ Your Green House discussion, featuring design and décor guru, Tricia Foley. Author of multiple design and lifestyle books, including ‘White Christmas: Decorating and Entertaining,’ Foley will share tips on creating a beautiful, chic holiday décor using natural elements (think greenery and branches from seasonal trees). Log on and post questions for Foley during the discussion to receive 20 percent off your next Greenhouse Studio purchase.           
When: Nov. 16, 7 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Where: Greenhouse Design Studio’s Your Green House community forum - greenhousedesignstudio.com

Ease into the chaos of the holiday shopping season with SkinSpirit Walnut Creek’s Holiday Boutique Trunk Show. The luxury skincare clinic and spa has hand-picked a unique selection of trendy clothing, jewelry, home décor goods, gourmet food and chocolates, stylish baby clothing, and decadent bath products and candles. If your goal is to shop local this season you’ll be pleased to hear many of the products pulled come from local designers. A live raffle of vendor gifts increases your chances to stick a little something in your own stocking guilt-free. RSVP’s requested to ensure a well-stocked boutique.
When: Nov. 17, 5 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
Where: 1647 N. California Blvd., Walnut Creek, SkinSpirit.com

Walnut Creek gets into the shopping spirit with the Walnut Creek Downtown Business association’s Semi Annual Sidewalk Sale. Participating businesses include Wine Hardware, Bonne Nuit, Liliana Castellanos, and Mancini’s Sleepworld.
When: Nov. 19 & 20
Where: Downtown Walnut Creek

Practice your Black Friday morning wake-up call by rolling out of bed and into downtown Pleasanton and downtown Livermore shops. This year the Pleasanton Downtown Association has teamed up with Livermore Downtown INC to launch the shopping season early with ‘Earlier than the Bird.’ Early bird shoppers will be rewarded at participating stores with special deals, refreshments, and a free winter scarf should they show up in their pajamas.
When: Nov. 19, 7 a.m. – 12 p.m.
Where: Downtown Pleasanton & Downtown Livermore

Got news about new or expanding East Bay businesses? Or tips on great sales and deals? We want to know! E-mail us at style@maildiablo.com, and look for "What's in Store" on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month.