Attention, ladies of New Orleans: The Warehouse District is officially open for fashion business. Haute Boutique (725 Magazine St., 522-8687; www.hautenola.com) celebrated its grand opening in November 2011.
"The CBD is such a trendy, up-and-coming area for people to work and live, which is why I was so shocked that there really isn't much in the way of shopping here," says owner Sanja Alickovic. "I wanted to provide a cool, contemporary space that offered classic lifestyle pieces as well as new, edgy designers."
Alickovic's passion for fashion is apparent in her animated descriptions of the little-known brands her store carries. One is Dora Mae, a jewelry line of vintage beads and chains repurposed to create flashy, one-of-a-kind pieces with whimsical titles like Distant Star and Talent Unlimited. Alickovic, who previously worked in pharmaceutical and medical device sales, has always taken an interest in ferreting out emerging designers. Her love for apparel finally prompted her to devote herself fulltime to Haute.
"Opening a boutique is always a risky venture, but in an area with this kind of amazing energy and potential, you honestly have to wonder why no one else thought of it first," she says.
Haute's selection of merchandise includes clothing (red leather leggings are selling like hotcakes), accessories, handbags (by designers Tory Burch and Kate Spade), jewelry, fragrances, knickknacks and shoes. "We found that a lot of tourists came in seeking cute flats or flip-flops to ease their aching feet, so we began selling those as well," she says.
According to Alickovic, store items are "haute couture without the haute prices," averaging between the $80-$250.
Haute is one of five retailers sharing space in a former parking garage, and the renovated building's sleek design lends a sophisticated and storied air. The boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.
Alickovic encourages shoppers to bring their significant others along for the ride: "We want everyone to feel comfortable and happy in the store, even guys, which is why we provide snacks, Wi-Fi and magazines for your reading pleasure." — Alex Pence