Why You Need To Be Shopping At The Marin Country Mart

Sculptures made from salvaged wood by artist Evan Shivley
Sculptures made from salvaged wood by artist Evan Shivley

Photo Credit: Mariko Reed And Matt Albiani

With a quaint name like the Marin Country Mart, one might think that the Larkspur Landing shopping center is filled with farm-inspired stores. However, that’s not the case at this luxe boutique shopping mecca. The Marin Country Mart is the chicest place to shop in Marin County. Real Estate developer James Rosenfield bought the property in 2009 and has, in just seven short years, transformed it into a much loved community space and mini village. The center is one of three marts in Rosenfield’s portfolio, with the Brentwood Country Mart in Los Angeles the flagship space. All of the marts have a barbershop, post office, ice cream parlor, shoe repair, and communal outdoor dining space—this is because Rosenfield wants them to have an old-fashioned vibe. When building out the Marin retail space, Rosenfield studied old images of Larkspur Landing and tried to recreate what he saw in the photos. There are about 20 retail shops, packed into close quarters, a handful of upscale food retailers, a signature restaurant, a spa, yoga studio and gym.

A band performs at the Marin Country Mart
A band performs at the Marin Country Mart

Interesting programming—especially during the summer months—makes the Country Mart more than a destination for shopping. On Wednesday nights, there is a double feature movie with one film geared toward kids and a second Wes Anderson movie for adults. Friday nights, there is live jazz. On Saturday mornings, there is an organic farmers’ market of local and seasonal producers. Some weekends it gets so packed, it’s hard to find a parking spot, which is why Rosenfield encourages Mart-goers to take advantage of the free valet. When planning a trip to the Mart, slow down—and then hit up some of our favorite stores.

CalypsoPhoto Credit: Mariko Reed And Matt Albiani

At Calypso St. Barth, you’ll find women’s clothing that’s ideal for a warm weather escape. Exotic dip-dyed tunics, delicate cashmere cardigans, flirty dresses, and classic denim styles hang in the bright, airy, white-washed boutique. Calypso is a one-stop shop for anything a jetsetting fashion lover might need. There are espadrille sandals, gold leather flip-flops, scented candles, and linen throws that can double as a blanket or scarf. There is a very feminine feel to the brand—the Calypso girl is one who excels at being effortlessly elegant with a carefully curated collection of eclectic and beautiful pieces.

JamesPersePhoto Credit: Mariko Reed And Matt Albiani

For high quality basics, there is no better shop than James Perse. The Los Angeles based retailer is a friend of Rosenfield’s, so it was a natural fit for the T-shirt maker. Although some of the shops at the Mart are on the smaller side, James Perse is gloriously large and open. The brand has a minimalist feel—there’s no prints here, just neutral-colored classics that work for ordinary life. Shop for the soft V-neck white tees, breathable black button downs, and cozy grey cotton pants. The boutique has a large menswear selection of clothing, from denim to polo shirts to hoodies. A longtime athlete and beach lover, Perse has an easy Southern Californian aesthetic. Also available at his shop? Oversized stand-up paddle boards and austere bicycles.

ET_04Photo Credit: Michael Weber

Erica Tanov is a locally based fashion designer who makes delicate slip dresses, brightly colored chemises, bell-sleeved peasant blouses, and luxurious silk panties. Tanov’s clothing is subtle, pure, soft, and beautiful—there is a thoughtfulness to her designs. The boutique feels like a natural extension of Tanov’s home and sells more than just clothing, but delicious-smelling potions, artsy handbags, and intricate jewelry. The brand recently launched a furniture collection in collaboration with master woodworker Russell Fong, with cushions that are interchangeable. Tanov also sells pretty printed linens, like duvet covers and table cloths, and vintage treasures, finds that Tanov personally scores while scouring flea markets, auctions, and estate sales.

MaliaMillsPhoto Credit: Mariko Reed And Matt Albiani

Two decades ago, a young fashion designer had the novel idea of creating a bikini top that was engineered to fit like a bra. She was the first to make bathing suits that were sold separately, so women could get the exact size she needed; for example a 34C halter top and skimpy size two bottoms. Today, Malia Mills makes some of the finest swimsuits around. You’ll find sumptuous fabrics, precision tailoring, and rich jewel tones. There is a French chicness to the brand with the only prints being traditional classics like stripes or animal-based. Unlike some swimwear lines that promote an unhealthy image of women, Malia Mills focuses on all types of beauty—big and small. A large Polaroid photo collage covers the wall behind the cashier. In each photo a woman, old, young, thin, curvy, wears one of the brand’s flattering suits. Are they models or real life women who have purchased the bikinis and maillots? That is up to you to decide.Poppy3Photo Credit: Mariko Reed And Matt Albiani

James Rosenfield’s wife, Heather, helped set up the adorable children’s shop, Poppy Store, along with her friend and owner of it, Jenny Belushi. The boutique feels like an affluent kindergarten—everywhere there is something to look at. Vintage kiddie rides and glass jars filled with free candy delight younger shoppers. A finch in an oversized cage greets guests with welcoming chirps. The clothing is arranged by age and includes popular international and European brands—names like Chloe, Bellerose, Lacoste, Maan, and Moncler. Unlike some retailers that sell clothing for kids that makes them look like adults, Poppy specializes in items that let children be children. A wide variety of accessories, many with a nostalgic quality, think handmade dolls, boxes of marbles, classic books such as the complete tales of Beatrix Potter, and colorful kaleidoscopes, make Poppy an excellent place to shop for gifts.

Bellus-MCM-5Photo Credit: Aubrie Pick

One of the newest stores to open is a small, narrow boutique filled with plush gorgeous pillows in every possible fabric imaginable. The Cushion Shop serves as a storefront and extension to an interior design brand that’s also run out of the Marin Country Mart, Well Made Home. Founders Kelly Bedford Willrich and Melanie Mount create bespoke custom furnishings and window treatments. Posh pillows are just the beginning. Outfit a headboard, make personalized curtains, or upholster an ottoman. An all-inclusive design team, the Well Made Home ladies obsess over all the details and can oversee any project, no matter how large or small. The duo travel the world searching for the prettiest fabrics, Japanese Yuzen silk, Peruvian woven blankets, colorful Cambodian ikat, and use these materials to make their one-of-a-kind product. At the Cushion Shop, pick up a comfy pillow that’s already made or design your own. Keeping up with the overall theme of the Mart, watercolor paintings, images depicting sophisticated and colorful interiors cover the walls of the shop. Before there was Pinterest, most interior design houses had a watercolorist who would paint the designers’ vision to illustrate a room’s transformation to the client. Well Made Home continues to practice this age-old technique.