There's a little piece of the beach in everything at Winnie Beattie's new Manhattan boutique Warm.
In a way, warmth is everywhere. It's sunlight on bare shoulders; the comfort of sliding under the covers; a smile between strangers. It's a glimmering experience you can't put your finger on — only now, warmth has an address: 181 Mott Street, New York City.
That's where Winnie Beattie, an urban surfer and president of the fashion and beauty public relations firm, Siren recently opened her breezy boutique Warm. Beattie grew up in Hawaii with a love for the sun and surf, but it was another love, fashion, that brought her to the decidedly un-beachy island of Manhattan. She rented in the city and bought a teeny shack in the woods of East Hampton to fill her life with the best of both ("I never would have survived without regularly seeing the ocean," she explains.)
Over 18 years in the business — which have included stints working for industry heavyweights Tracy Feith and Cynthia Rowley — she's managed to achieve success while maintaining her beachy spirit (the antithesis of the kiss-kiss, scan-the-room-for-someone-more-important fashion cliche). Beattie smiles often and is refreshingly sunny. In a word, warm. "To me, there's no greater compliment than to say 'he or she is such a warm person,'" Beattie says. "That's the kind of person I try to surround myself with." No more so than with her husband, Rob Magnotta, a photographer agent whom she met surfing in Montauk (literally, in the water) and with whom she has two young sons. "Our family, we spend our lives in pursuit of warmth, whether it's in the sunshine or cozying up after we've been skiing. It's the best feeling."
The clothes and accessories lining the white-washed walls and wooden tables of Beattie's boutique have a certain warm authenticity as well. "I love things that are imperfect, that are naturally distressed or worn in," she explains. "I keep going back to the girls in Paris and how their style is so effortless — I call them dirty French girls and I mean that in the most complimentary way. That's my dream girl. A skater, surfer, snowboarder with Paris mixed in." She carries well-known lines such as Vanessa Bruno and also finds treasures on her travels (a recent trip to Jamaica yielded children's clothes that sold out almost instantly). Next up she hopes to scour Peru, Argentina and Brazil after a buying trip to Ibiza this summer. But no matter what ends of the earth Beattie explores to find special wares for her shop, there is one common thread: an intimacy between designer and collection. "Whether it's Giada Forte in her village in Italy who only works with artisans living within 15 miles so she can reach them by bike, or the Roseanna girls who hand-distress their sweaters or the girl that makes my perfume by hand in Malibu: Every single brand has a story."
It's easy to see that there's a genuine intimacy for Beattie, too. She can't pass by a single thing without sharing her personal connection — how she edges up this printed dress with a bootie and leather jacket; would wear that baja having a beach bonfire with her family; bought this Tocca blouse based on the name alone ('70s Summer' — says it all, right?). Nostalgia often factors in too. She speaks lovingly of the things that have remained the same: the flip flops she grew up wearing in Hawaii, the coconut oil she's coated her skin with forever ("the packaging does not change — nothing changes," she says by way of affectionate endorsement).
A summer weekend will undoubtedly arise when you can't stomach another second of traffic to reach a plot of sand. When it does, consider the back garden at Beattie's shop — a lush oasis where customers can hang in the sun and soak up the citrusy scent of the resident lemon tree. It's nice to know that there's a different kind of beachy haven much closer to home.
Check out Beattie's listof beach essentials.