Ghost LA Just Haunts Me

Given the level of pre-opening excitement, Tanya Sarne has high hopes for her newest Ghost store, a 3,500-square-foot unit that opened Saturday at 125 North Robertson Boulevard here.

“I made my clothes for California,” said Sarne, owner of the British women’s wear company. “This is my biggest business here. Our clothing is perfect for the L.A. climate and the L.A. mentality. It’s machine washable, and everybody in L.A. has washing machines.

“People in New York think they’re trendier and sharper, but our best sales have always been in L.A.,” she added. Ghost is sold at Neiman Marcus and Theodore in Beverly Hills.

A measure of that popularity is that some people — including young Hollywood actresses — didn’t wait until the opening to buy the company’s signature viscose designs.

Sarne bumped into Gillian Anderson last week at The Ivy, a popular restaurant just a few doors away from the store, and brought her in for a profitable preview.

“Gillian bought more in one afternoon than I’ve sold in the Paris store in a week,” Sarne said. Anderson purchased $10,000 worth of clothes, including a double-layer skirt and a poppy tulle dress that retails for $240.

“This poppy tulle does well at Barneys New York,” Sarne said, laughing as she recalled that her staff was too busy unpacking clothes to fawn over an actress, even one “willing to pay retail.”

Roseanna Arquette and Joely Fisher also stopped into the store last week to try on outfits, Sarne said.

A few days before the store’s opening, one man knocked on the door seeking admittance, but since the cash registers weren’t yet working, he placed six shirts on order.

The night before the opening, Ghost hosted a party for more than 250 people inside the store.

As guests inspected Ghost’s designs, which range in price from $100 for a silk crepe camisole to $8,700 for an embroidered full-length gown, Tara Subkoff, an actress who appears in the movie “The Last Days of Disco,” said the store opening was “like a New York fashion party in Los Angeles.”

Allison Eastwood said she was there “because I love Ghost.” And Carolina Herrera Jr. pointed to her friend and said, “He dragged me out.”

Other celebrants included Vidal and Ronnie Sassoon, Sandra Bernhard and Carol Alt.

Sarne declined to project a volume for the new store. Ghost did $11.4 million at wholesale worldwide last year. Sales at retail were about $39.1 million in 1997.

Sarne, who has been looking for retail space here for some time, said one reason she wanted to open a store here is that she lived in the city from 1969 to 1972.

There are two Ghost stores in London, including a 3,500-square-foot flagship that was the prototype for the Los Angeles unit. A 600-square-foot Ghost unit opened June 9 on the Rue de Jour in Paris.

The stores have a clean look with rosewood floors, stone walls and frosted glass shelves and railings. The Los Angeles store also has a small garden with bamboo lining the walls.

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