Pioneering Green Designer for Cher, Bette Midler and Diane Keaton Opens New Retail Store in Hollywood
Legendary Melrose retailer Claudia Grau brings â€œslow fashionâ€ to Crossroads of the World on Sunset Boulevard.
Los Angeles, CA, October 01, 2011 –(PR.com)– Claudia Grau, one of Melrose Avenueâ€™s original designer-retailers from the 1980â€™s and arguably the first modern eco-friendly designer, is opening a new retail store at the Crossroads of the World shopping mall on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood. Named by designer Randolph Duke as one of the â€œtop women of personal styleâ€ in 2006, Grau designed for private clients after her famous Melrose store closed in 1994, upon the birth of her second child. The grand opening of Grauâ€™s new store, The GrÃ¤u Haus, will be held October 19, to coincide with Los Angeles Fashion Week, and will include a fashion show of Grauâ€™s latest work.
At age 21, Claudia Grau opened her first store, GrÃ¤u, on Melrose Avenue in 1980, and she has been credited as one of the handful of pioneering designers who made Melrose Avenue famous for fashion in the early 1980’s. Celebrities including Cher, Bette Midler, and Diane Keaton were regulars at her boutique. Grauâ€™s apparel was frequently seen on television (The Cosby Show, Moonlighting and Dharma & Greg) and in films (the cult classic Heathers). Grauâ€™s clothes were also sold at many department stores including Barneys, Saks Fifth Avenue and Fred Segal. In 1994, Grau closed her Melrose store to focus on raising her three children, while continuing to design for private clientele.
The GrÃ¤u Style
Grauâ€™s bold, eclectic style has evolved over the decades, always earning its slogan “Fashion for Fearless Women”. Her first commercial success of the 1980â€™s was â€œdepression wearâ€, described by the LA Weekly as â€œMad Max meets the Stone Ageâ€. Later Grau designed what became her signature collectionâ€”tailored jackets made from antique Japanese kimonos constructed into a patchwork fabricâ€”which sold into many department stores. At one point, she devised practical garments from nylon parachutes, sewing her label on the outside. Over the decades, Grauâ€™s edgy fashion style has been characterized as being in the spirit of punk and new wave, but more accessible and not as trend-conscious, and boho-chic.
First Modern Eco-Fashionista
In retrospect, Claudia Grau could be considered the first modern green designer. One of the earliest pioneers in deconstruction, she began to repurpose used clothing into new garments in the early 1980â€™s. Grau invented what she calls â€œcollage clothingâ€ (combining pieces from many old clothes to make new ones), a precursor to recent recycled and upcycled fashion trends. Grau has focused on reused clothing and fabrics throughout her career. As part of the â€œSlow Fashion Movementâ€, she produces one-of-a kind, free-cut garments (most without the use of patterns) that are hand-dyed, hand-sewn and hand-cut, all designed and made locally in her shop.
Several years ago, in collaboration with her clients, Grau came up with a creative and touching idea for coping with grief: designing recycled garments from the clothing of deceased loved ones. (This is a minor aspect of her work and is available upon request.)
True to her style, Claudia Grau follows inspiration in her career, rather than trying to force a master plan. Always upbeat and outgoing, Grau sees life as an adventure and she follows serendipity, taking the next inspired action that seems the right thing to do. Recently, when she rented additional storage space for her studio at the Crossroads, a friend observed the new storage area would be perfect for a retail store. With her three children almost grown, Grau realized it was the right time for her to open a new store.
About GrÃ¤u Design
For more information about Claudia Grau and The GrÃ¤u Haus, please visit www.graudesign.net or â€œGrÃ¤u Designâ€ on Facebook. An e-commerce website, www.thegrauhaus.com, will launch in early November. To attend the grand opening and fashion show on October 19 at 7pm, RSVP to 323-461-4462. (Space is limited.) The GrÃ¤u Haus is located at 6679 Sunset Blvd. LA, CA 90028. Store hours are listed on the website.