Sad news for fashionable Denverites, as groundbreaking Cherry Creek North boutique Vertu has decided to call it quits by the end of the year. This 30-year-old store was a go-to for owner Linda Mellicker-Bhan’s fashion-forward selection of European clothing and accessory designers. Look for deals on items like sleek boots and platform wedges by Robert Clergerie, ankle-wrap sneakers by Cinzia Araia, Ilaria Nistri’s pared-down, elegant clothing, and statement jewelry by Gurhan. Expect discounts to start at 30 percent off and get deeper as the end of the year nears. Vertu, 300 Fillmore, 303-333-8883
Collaboration: Dowling & Davis
We love it when local artists collaborate with one another, especially if they’re supported by one of the city’s new independent boutiques. This weekend, concept shop Coucou—which just opened mid-October with an international selection of under-the-radar fashion brands, home accents and artwork—will be hosting a kick-off party in their airy Highlands space for visual artist Michael Dowling and designer Jay Davis’s handbag collaboration. This collection will feature hand-painted leather hides by Dowling, which have been cut by Davis into her signature rocker chic carryalls and clutches. If you can’t get your hands on one of Dowling & Davis’ limited edition bags (there are only 15, after all), check out some of Coucou’s wares like the architectural silhouettes by KowTow from New Zealand, updated minimalist wardrobe staples by Denmark’s Won Hundred and LA’s cult footwear brand Loq, with its streamlined, modern shapes and walkable heel heights (yes!). Dowling & Davis, $200-$500, Nov. 25th from 6 pm – 9 pm, Coucou, 3655 Navajo St., 415-715-9226
Another Highland newbie is Bazar, which also opened mid-October. Owner Katie Jones is a Denver native who relocated back here after living in NYC and working in fashion for six years. Jones, who wanted to bring some of her big city fashion sense back to her hometown, stocks a refined selection of contemporary clothing and handbags, as well as an edited collection of home and personal accessories in her upbeat, sunlight shop. Look for updated wardrobe must-haves such as Equipment silk blouses, cocktail and floral printed dresses by Cinq á Sept, denim by Frame and 3×1, Little Liffner’s sleek handbags, and Alix NYC’s amazing jersey bodysuits (if you’re a bodysuit girl and haven’t tried these, you need to get here stat). You’ll also find chic gift items like scented candles by Night Space, plush Turkish bathrobes and handmade soaps by Colorado-based Formulary 55. Bottom line: Bazar will easily become a regular stop for when you need a retail therapy fix or a gift for your favorite fashionista. Bazar, 2525 15th St., 303-593-0494
For the Guys: Timber Trade Co.
We’ve seen the mercantile concept in retail for a while, but the way in which it’s done at Timber Trade Co. brings a fresh spin on the idea. This RiNo menswear store’s cozy industrial space features all American-made products. However, instead of the standard heritage workwear brands, visitors will find small batch clothing and accessories including shirts by Corridor and Taylor Stitch, waxed canvas travel bags by Frost River and blankets by Fairbault Mills. There’s also a well-priced edit of raw denim from Imogene and Willie, Left Field NYC, Stovall and Young, and Kato’ Brand (from $95 to $250), and a limited collection of USA-made vintage team sport jackets (starting at $60), sourced from a variety of flea markets and antique stores. And if the furniture strikes the perfect vibe for your home or work space, just talk to owner Josh Greenlee; all of the wood and steel pieces featured in the store are handmade by him, so clients can either purchase from existing designs or create something custom. Backyard On Blake, 3070 Blake St., #170, 720-608-0735
Moving: Abby Sparks
Custom fine jewelry designer Abby Sparks is moving her namesake company on November 20th from her jewel-box-like space in the Highlands to the city’s creative hub—RiNo. Sparks is taking over the sun-drenched, industrial loft space directly above Denver Central Market, formerly housing bridal boutique Emma & Grace (who moved down the block this past May). Since Sparks doesn’t actually stock jewelry to sell (the way a traditional jewelry boutique does), but rather designs each piece individually with the client, she says moving to a larger space will allow her to see more than one client at a time for design meetings. We like that clients will be able to hang out—or even plan a proposal—on the amazing rooftop patio with views of the Denver skyline and mountains. 1320 27th St., Suite G, 303-957-6502,
Opening: Larimer Square Pop Ups
Historic Larimer Square is upping their retail game this holiday season by adding two pop-up shops to its unique mix of independently owned boutiques. First up is Qinti, which means hummingbird in Quechua, a language spoken by indigenous people in South America. Qinti’s selection of clothing and accessories uses traditional Peruvian materials and techniques, including colorful baby alpaca scarves and ponchos, as well as handcrafted sterling silver jewelry that combines colonial and contemporary elements, picture frames and other home accessories.
If outdoor sports is more your thing, pay a visit to SmartWool, the Steamboat Springs-based performance apparel company known for its comfortable fit and stylish look. Although SmartWool is hosting two other area pop ups (in Cherry Creek Shopping Center and Park Meadows Mall), the Larimer location will be their holiday flagship. Expect to find products selected exclusively for Denver, like their men’s toasty merino wool Anchor Line plaid shirt jacket ($180) and their women’s fitted Ski Ninja full zip sweater ($200). Also, bookmark December 14 on your calendar when Smartwool will host Denver graphic artist and printmaker John Fellows, who will be on hand to sign and give away prints with a purchase of $50 or more. Qinti, 1426 Larimer St., 720-728-5930; Smartwool, 1425 Larimer St., 646-942-6742