Walking into Mila is much like being transported into a Sex and the City montage. Specifically, the one where Carrie is trying on her entire closet while her girlfriends pop Champagne and coax her through it.
Here, Michele Gonzalez and Laura Weiss are the ones with the bubbly—and the chops to style any shopper who comes through their doors.
Gonzalez was the owner of the beloved former Ms. Vintage boutique, opened in North Park and later relocated to Logan Heights. She has a vintage clothing collection that spans decades.
On the flip side, Weiss is a former fashion executive and consultant from Los Angeles with connections to contemporary labels such as Free People, Daydreamer, and Pistola.
The two combined their first names to christen Mila, which they opened in November. Located in the former Artelexia offices next to The Observatory, the boutique’s floor plan illustrates their concept: The middle of the store is reserved for modern threads with nods to nostalgia—Wrangler and Lee jeans, rock ’n’ roll tees, sweaters, and jewelry, mostly selected by Weiss—and the surrounding walls are lined with vintage pieces plucked from Gonzalez’s collection.
“We try to keep ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s styles in the store, ones that reflect up-and-coming trends,” says Gonzalez, herself sporting a vintage dress and new Gucci belt. “It’s all hard-to-find stuff, everything from a vintage JCPenney piece to real-deal, high-end designer pieces. Both in the old Ms. Vintage space and this, you can go through a rack and every piece is a gem.”
Weiss adds that the boutique is also a springboard for other ventures. This year, she and Gonzalez plan to launch their own line of graphic tees. And in the back of the store, mother-daughter duo Rosie and Kristina Mouritzen are running a “shop in shop,” retailing vintage home decor, kitchenware, and even their own line of shoes, under the name Shop Steen.
On any given weeknight, one of the women might greet you with a glass of wine (Sundays, probably a bloody mary) and begin guiding you through how to update your modern wardrobe with vintage pieces, or vice versa.
“The thing with vintage is you just have to try it on,” Weiss says. “We just want whoever walks in to have a good experience.” (Suffice it to say, that’s your invite.)
Go on in, play dress up with your girlfriends and, if you feel so inclined, abide by Carrie Bradshaw’s philosophy: Put your money where you can see it—hanging in your closet.
2879 University Avenue, North Park