C. Wonder Hits the C-Spot

[Trendzilla] The new Fashion Island boutique is the first West Coast outpost of the retail cult hit

For anyone who has a fear of color, walk away now. You will cower at the sight of C. Wonder, a whimsical clothing and lifestyle shop that opened its doors the second weekend of August at Fashion Island. Consider this your warning.

For everyone else, get ready for a sensory overload. The gleaming new outpost—think Kate Spade at the Viceroy Hotel—is like a candy store for grown-ups. We're talking bright-orange bicycles, fuchsia suitcases, lime pogo sticks, preppy-cool weekend wear, stacks of neon bangles and fun monogrammed mugs, all at (somewhat) affordable prices.   

C. Wonder comes from New York entrepreneur Christopher Burch, ex-husband of famed fashion designer Tory Burch. The Newport Beach store is its first location on the West Coast, though the brand has plans to expand rapidly. And with the mantra "affordable luxury," most items cost less than $150.

I checked out the grand opening and felt as though I had stepped into a magazine ad. "Each room takes you to a place you've been or a place you'd like to go," sales associate Laura Cowie told me. She guided me through the distinct spaces—the "English countryside" features breezy maxi dresses, piles of colored denim and cute striped tees, while the "Jewelry Box" is filled with chunky-bauble necklaces, rhinestone earrings and other bling.

With a teapot chandelier hanging overhead, the "American Dream" kitchen area is stocked with fancy china, serving trays, geometric cloth napkins and heart-shaped waffle makers. An electronics area has the coolest stuff for your gadgets—a bullhorn iPhone speaker, a rainbow USB hub, brightly colored earbuds and a wireless Bluetooth tablet keyboard to connect to your iPad.

In the next few weeks, the store will be adding touch screens in the dressing rooms that'll let you to choose your own music and lighting, as well as call for help if you need another size. It will also offer mobile checkout so you don't have to wait in line. But the absolute craziest thing about C. Wonder? It'll give you a free pair of earrings if you return something, no questions asked, because it doesn't want you to feel guilty about coming back.

And you will want to come back.

 

Follow me on Twitter: @michellewoo.


This column appeared in print as "The C-Spot."

 
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