The Grove Gets Stylehaüs
by kathryn drury wagner
Under a blue moon, that rare and luminous celestial occurrence, Marina Monroe has an equally magnetic pull. Influential yet unpretentious, her talent lies in aligning people and fashion. Monroe is the founder, CEO, and creative director of Stylehaüs, a private boutique and styling service on Melrose. For much of 2012, she also operated a pop-up store at the Mondrian Los Angeles. This month, she ascends with a new phase: Stylehaüs is opening a location at The Grove, and Monroe has a glittery new title as the shopping center’s executive style director.
The Grove is in the midst of a 10th-anniversary reboot under the supervision of megadeveloper Rick Caruso, adding the coveted brands Madewell and Topshop, a J.Crew men’s store, and a new LA flagship for Michael Kors.
In her new role, Monroe will orchestrate fashion shows and seminars at The Grove and lend her fashion insights to a forthcoming Grove mobile app. Though she launched Stylehaüs just a year ago, she has been immersed in fashion since she was a teenager—blogging, retailing, styling, and providing studio and personal shopping services. Working with clients one on one is the part she gravitates to most. “You bring confidence out in people by what they are wearing, and you’re there to guide them.”
With her sleek leather pants, flowing blonde tresses, and sky-high heels, Monroe looks every inch the urban stylist. But she is equally a savvy entrepreneur who spotted a gap in the retail world and filled it with Stylehaüs: Her clients pay a $1,000 yearly fee for access to 10 full-time stylists, as well as a roster of hair and makeup specialists, a vintage jewelry expert, and, for the guys, designer Chris Gimeno Chollet, lately of Tom Ford’s team in Paris—all available by appointment. Clients also receive two closet consultations per year and an on-call stylist.
“Everybody wants a stylist,” says Monroe, “but nobody can get one unless he or she wants to pay a huge price tag per day or use a random personal shopper.”
Armed with a client’s dossier of budget, body type, and lifestyle details, the Stylehaüs team scours the fashion universe, seeking just the right pieces. “We monitor the runways; we try every single piece on; we take pictures. We think, ‘Who should we order what for?’” says Monroe. “And then we can say, ‘This is a dress we feel you could use in your wardrobe—we suggest you buy it,’ and if they love it, we order their size.”
In case of a fashion emergency, clients can call a 24-hour hotline that rings to three cell phones. Did your boyfriend surprise you with a romantic rendezvous that simply demands Kiki De Montparnasse lingerie? Call the hotline. Spill your café breve all over your blazer, hours before the big presentation? Relax, you’ve got the number.
Membership also includes access to the private boutique, which on a recent visit, featured Veda cashmere sweaters with leather elbow patches ($308), Bleulab reversible jeans ($210), and vintage jewelry running the gamut from Juliana and Trifari to Givenchy and Hermès.
So what’s in Monroe’s own closet? “I’m obsessed with Veda leather; Preen by Thornton Bregazzi; Walter Steiger for shoes; and A.L.C., which does things that are timeless. My favorite [ensemble] is an H&M tank top with skinny jeans, a really cool pair of boots, and a leather jacket. You can’t go wrong with a leather jacket.”
She is also enamored of Maxfowles, the LA-based design house known for balancing sensual fabrics (and lots of leather) with refined, wearable silhouettes. Her enthusiasm led her to host the label’s first runway show, which pulled together several hundred of LA’s most fashionable folks at the Mondrian Los Angeles.
As for Monroe, while she’ll be influencing the fashion decisions of The Grove’s 18 million annual visitors, Stylehaüs will continue to serve its members-only clientele. Next up, perhaps a store in New York. “I’d love to open everywhere,” she says. “Everyone could use a little advice and a fashion friend.” 8473 Melrose Ave., West Hollywood, 323-655-5900. The Grove location (The Grove, LA, 323-655-5900) is slated to open on November 9.
photography by melissa valladares (monroe); hair and makeup by amber kerns for solo artists (monroe). photography by jemal countess/getty images (jackson); j.b. lacroix/wire image/getty images (johnson)