Oxygene Boutique at the Bal Harbour Shops is celebrating its 30th birthday just next month! Shayne Cohen, owner of Oxygene, swears that her boutique’s long-term success is attributed to constant reinvention. She has always been one step ahead.
Her story is quite interesting, and fitting! This retail queen was running the Carolina Herrera shop at The Village of Merrick Park, when she met her current husband Felix. Shortly after Mr. Cohen came along, Shayne switched jobs and found employment as the Director of Louis Vuitton at the Bal Harbour Shops. Then, she became the MRS, and with that wifey status in tow, she changed Oxygene for the better.
Shayne brought her femme touch. Felix always understood the trends. Now, 30 years later, they have the perfect partnership: she translates his vision of ‘what it should be’ to her realistic understanding of ‘what they will actually wear.’ The perfect team!
They do the buying together, which is where the magic happens.
I sat down with Shayne at the boutique and asked her a few questions about her take on fashion and beyond.
E: How do you find the new, young brands that you bring into the shop?
S: I look at blogs, it is where I see what is going on in the fashion world. It’s where people are finding the new lines. Considering I am a multi brand store, we do the Azzaro’s and the Balmain’s… but that’s not my major focus. The focus is to bring something fresh and exciting. I mean, I’m in Bal Harbor, so my mission is to bring in the newest, freshest and coolest, and back it up with solid brands. Also, when I travel around Europe, for example, in Istanbul, I found brands you may not know of.
E: What is the trend for the moment?
S: The UK new designers because I absolutely love their sense of humor. Collections like Christopher Kane and Ashish, they are my favorite. Miley Cyrus is rocking Ashish. You may have seen the “I’m Having A Shit Day,” tee shirt? That brand is so humorous, I’m attracted to humor, hence my love for Christopher Kane too! This guy’s got a funny edge.
(She then showed me a sweater with a new print of CK. It was the print of a brain and Frankenstein)
S: Its fun, I’m into collections that are happy, fun and sexy. Things with messages are cool.
E: What are some new brands for the boutique for the season?
S: David Kona, whom is also from London. It’s a real mix between Alaia and Naeem Khan. Leather and fabrics! Look at these cuts!
E: You carry mixed brands; some are more expensive than others. Tell me about the fifty-dollar shirts with prints that say ‘Feline Paris’ rather than ‘Celine Paris.’
S: Brian Lichtenberg, I was buying his brand for the store for the past four years. In fact, I used to meet with him before he had a show room, in Los Angeles in his apartment. His shirts fly out of my stock immediately.
E: You sell Jewels. How is that business going for you?
S: Jewels are doing SO well now, it is HUGE!. I’m putting a lot of effort into this. Each case is carefully curated. We carry Loree Rodkin, Repossi and AS29. They are our top three sellers. Also, Amedeo of Faraone Mennella, this brand is doing well.
Color of the season: Electric blue.
Shoe designer of the moment: Isabel Marant. Believe it or not, every boot has a built in lift. They sell out before they even hit the store. I’ve never seen a phenomenon like this.
Strongest clients: Our local woman. They come for the experience of being styled. Also, the Brazilians. They are very beautiful, sexy and have the body to wear the great designers.
Biggest trend of the moment: Going back to raunchy masculine, almost punky look, lets say a black suit with a lace sexy top… Naughty sexy!