Grayse, the first Orange County boutique for the semi-eponymous line by Marie and Kelly Gray—of St. John Knits’ founding family—sits in an airy corner of Fashion Island near the Bloomingdale’s courtyard.
Featuring the Grays’ fall 2015 ready-to-wear as well as the holiday collection, the boutique opened two weeks ago.
Kelly Gray, who launched Grayse in 2013 with her mother Marie, explains how the line got started.
“We were inspired by our chemistry as mother-daughter,” she said. “As you get older, you get closer in age emotionally and we were enjoying collaborating. Where it was very combustible in our 20s and 30s, now we could enjoy each other.”
That enjoyment resulted in a collection of luxe mix-and-match separates in easy, lightweight fabrics that reflect the duo’s dueling style ethos of edgy vs. elegant.
“I’m edgy,” Kelly says. “My edge is very, very important to me and being elegant is very important to my mother. And so we I think clash over those two and we try to get those two elements into the design.”
Grayse does possess an edgy elegance that plays out in clean shapes and silhouettes punctuated with intricate detail as in a navy and studded leather dress ($345) or a knit jacket fronted with overlapping leather squares ($725). But attention is also paid to the fabrication of the garments, Kelly Gray said. Being a West Coast collection means Grayse’s clothing is not rendered in heavy knits or thick fabrics.
“You have to acknowledge that there’s not very many cold weather months here, that we’re a Southern California brand,” she said. “Think about 90-degree heat in the middle of October—and last year it got warm in January. I think that comfort and ease and fashion are all expected to be one and the same thing now. So we really did make an effort to develop fabrics that were lightweight, that were made beautifully, and that had an edgy fashion sense to them.”
To that end, Grayse’s holiday collection, Kelly Gray’s favorite, includes a sexy, body-con gold and black dress worthy of the red carpet but made of T-shirt material ($1,500).
The gown, with its draped neckline, is the perfect holiday party piece for the Grayse woman, who Kelly ,describes as “Sexy, vivacious, fun, and spirited with a strong sense of self.”
401 Newport Center Drive,
Located between Anthropologie and Traditional Jewelers
Mon-Fri 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Sat 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.
Sun 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.