Set up like a modern art gallery, and stocked with under-the-radar-designers such as Rick Owens Drkshdw, The Celect is the antithesis store in O.C.’s favorite anti-mall, The Lab in Costa Mesa. The inventory of American and European collections is timeless, says Carrie Martines, 35, who opened the boutique in February with husband Murphy, 36. The clothes are “more like art pieces as opposed to something you wear once then throw away,” she says.
The Tustin couple, who met in art school and spent years in the fashion industry, have an eye for curating. Carrie was a Volcom design director for 10 years, and Murphy, who was making clothes as a teenager, has a menswear line called Copy. They dreamed of providing an O.C. boutique experience usually reserved for New York, Stockholm, and Berlin.
Women’s, men’s, and unisex lines boast a post-modern minimalism in grays and blacks, with pops of color and prints. Sleek unisex capes by Montreal’s Rad Hourani drape mannequins near a rack displaying pink flamingo print jerseys by British menswear designer Katie Eary. T-shirts, pants, and dresses ($84 to $264) are from French line Damir Doma Silent; silky painterly-print skirts from Germany’s Anntian ($470) hang next to jeans from New York’s Rachel Comey ($380). The owners know their customers well. Murphy describes them as “artistic and sophisticated.” Says Carrie: “They take risks. They are obsessed with fashion.”