oil created by Jennifer Nicholson are displayed at
her new boutique, Pearl Drop, in Venice,
California, on April 9, 2013.
ANGELES ó Designer, retailer and Hollywood royalty
Jennifer Nicholson, who once headlined Los Angeles
Fashion Week and showed her collections in New York, has
returned to fashion after a nearly five-year hiatus. Her
new venture is Pearl Drop, a Venice, Calif., boutique
with a "boho goddess festival vibe," opened
just in time to dress customers for this monthís
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, one of
Nicholsonís favorite springtime excursions.
on Lincoln Boulevard in the up-and-coming retail area
known as the Linc thatís become an alternative to
crowded Abbot Kinney, Pearl Drop showcases mostly
California-based labels, plus pieces that Nicholson has
designed herself under the Pearl Drop label.
L.A. fashion scene has changed so much in the past 10
years," says Nicholson, 49. "There are so many
more designers making things here. And fashion in L.A.
is really respected. Designers like Rodarteís Kate and
Laura Mulleavy have really upped the ante. When I was
starting out, I did sales through Showroom Seven in New
York. Now, they have an office in L.A. Downtown is
revived. Itís really happening, which is why itís
possible now to open a store featuring designers who are
primarily from here."
Drop is a play on Pearl, which was the name of Nicholsonís
Santa Monica, Calif., store that closed in 2005. Her old
store was very "girly debutante on acid," she
says, as was her collection back then.
loved that, but I didnít really dress that way. This
is the way I dress," she says of the haute hippie
Pearl Drop, which is located near several of her
favorite Venice haunts, including General Store and Moon
interior is eclectic and light-filled, with
baroque-looking antiques culled from Nicholsonís
Malibu beach house. She describes the look as one part
"underwater beachy, mermaid grotto" (a glass
side table with pink seahorses for a base; a sea foam
green velvet, scallop shell-shaped couch with carved
wood mermaids for legs; and a glass pirate ship
chandelier) and one part "glorified yoga
shop," with mystic crystals, feathers and framed
who is the daughter of Jack Nicholson and his first
wife, Sandra Knight, recently took up Kundalini yoga
after a bad breakup and plans to offer libations from
Moon Juice and workshops with her yoga teacher in the
storeís outdoor courtyard space. "So you never
want to leave," she says. She even created a
leather turban for her collection inspired by the
traditional clothing she wears during her practice.
the racks and shelves are Gregory Parkinson caftans made
of over-dyed Indian fabric ($415 to $680); GoldDust
one-of-a-kind floaty print dresses ($180 to $475);
Goddis fringed cardigans and ponchos ($220 to $285);
Alex & Lee artisanal crystal collage necklaces
($1,900 to $2,200); Heyoka fringed leather bags and neck
pieces and Calleen Cordero sandals. Mixed in are vintage
pieces, including a fringed suede wrap skirt,
embroidered denim jacket and beaded moccasins.
over from Nicholsonís old store, a wood and glass
display with a sign overhead that says "Beauty
Bar" showcases an expansive selection of jewelry,
including shell rings, clear bracelets with dried
flowers encased inside, serpent rings by Jessica Seaton,
and vintage silver and turquoise Native American pieces.
There are also beauty products, including body oils,
bath salts and lip balms, from Rodin, Sweet Sisters and
own designs are also featured, including brightly
colored leather biker jackets with zipper pulls molded
into the shape of sharkís teeth, and high-waist
leather pants with lacing at the ankles.
love vintage leather pants from the 1970s, but when you
put them on, youíre so stiff, you canít walk. Now
there are all these amazing stretch leathers to work
with," she says.
has made caftans and kimonos in prints created with L.A.
artist Alia Penner. One print is a collage of jewels,
along with the Pearl Drop logo. Another, which is used
as a lining in the leather jackets, mixes naked 1970s
pinups with images of seashells.
just doing pieces I want to do, not whole categories, so
I can go at my own pace," says Nicholson, who made
her first foray into fashion in 2002, launching her line
after a short-lived acting career. Back then, she took
inspiration from the 1950s, with short, ruffle-back
skirts and waitress shirts with the names of her dogs
embroidered on the fronts. Saks Fifth Avenue and Henri
Bendel picked up a few pieces from the line, and there
was an editorial in Italian Vogue. Her campy, fun
fashion shows were a mainstay at Los Angeles Fashion
Week for a few years, but when she started showing in
New York, she wasnít able to break through to the next
level. The grind of the fashion system was getting to
her, too, she says, especially the constant travel for
runway shows and sales. So she took a break to raise her
kids ó Sean is 17 and Duke is 13.
two years ago, Nicholson started designing again,
working on leather pieces and selling them at Roseark.
She missed the creative process, but also
"interacting with customers and making people
happy," she says. "And I felt like there was a
niche to fill in this area ó higher-end beach
Pearl Drop, sheís off to an auspicious start. And her
famous pals are rallying around her.
has the best taste of almost anyone I know," says
singer Belinda Carlisle.
Pearl closed, it left a void," adds actress
Jennifer Tilly. "Pearl was a mecca for fashionistas,
an eclectic melange of just the coolest, hippest, most
desired pieces. She had things you couldnít find
anywhere else ó rare items from couture houses, funky
clothes from up-and-coming designers, and great vintage.
Nobody has Jenís sensibility or such a well-developed
sense of whimsy."