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Carolina Herrera Launches in L.A.

Jenny Peters
November 14th, 2006 @ 4:28 PM - Los Angeles

Melrose Place is a quiet, tree-lined street tucked just off La Cienega Boulevard in heart of Los Angeles, a byway made famous first by the eponymous Nineties television series and nowadays by the internationally renowned clothing designers who dot the short blocks. Marc Jacobs spans three shops there, Marni is just down the street, and now Venezuelan couture queen Carolina Herrera has joined the flock, with a new boutique that opened Monday night with a chic fete.

Herrera greeted familiar faces including Brittany Murphy, Lauren Graham, Gabrielle Union, Ginnifer Goodwin, Tracee Ellis Ross, and Angie Harmon - all dressed in her signature designs, of course - then explained why Melrose Place is the spot for her first California shop.

"I was always in love with this street and with this place. When I used to come by, I always said, 'whenever I open something in Los Angeles, it has to be here.' And I love this building, because it has two entrances. I have the front, and also the back entrance, which is the parking lot. I think in Los Angeles that is very important to have that," the diminutive designer explained proudly.

Having a back entrance where Hollywood types can enter unobtrusively is definitely a plus for any shop that sells $10,000 gowns, $25,000 furs, and assorted other items (including her signature New York collection, bridal, and sunglasses, as well as Manolo Blahnik shoes, Judith Leiber bags, and Faraone Mennella accessories). But having another high-end place to spend money in LA-LA is also a dangerous thing, as actress Rebecca Gayheart pointed out with a giggle.

"It's a good thing and a bad thing, the opening of this beautiful boutique. It's good because we have a great place to shop, and it's a bad thing because we have a great place to shop! Her clothes are beautiful, but expensive. It's too easy to spend all your money here," she laughed.

"Her clothes are so feminine and romantic, and she really knows the female body. And the fabrics are gorgeous," Gayheart added. "The dress I'm wearing I'm in love with. It is cotton and linen and it has all this amazing pleating. It's so comfortable and beautiful. I just love it."

Missing from the night's festivities was Reese Witherspoon, who was scheduled to co-host the party. However, her love of Herrera's designs wasn't enough to get her to leave the house and face a red carpet full of reporters so soon after her split from hubby Ryan Phillippe.

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