A passion for celeb fashion
Boutiques cater to starry-eyed shoppers

By LaReeca Rucker

Orange jumpsuits are all the rage in prison, but when Paris Hilton isn't sporting the latest inmate ensemble, she's luring the paparazzi down Robertson Boulevard in West Hollywood.

Yes, when Nicole Richie, Britney Spears, Lindsay Lohan and other Hollywood girls aren't going wild, they're going shopping.

But you don't have to jet set to California or New York to find the clothes worn by your favorite stars. You can shop high-end boutiques in Mississippi.

Joyce Cole-Marion was a psychologist who had a private practice many years before opening her shoe and handbag boutique Joycey Baby in Jackson's Canton Mart Shopping Center.

"I decided I wanted to do something fun, and I thought this was something Jackson could use," she said.

Her store carries lines like Anne Klein New York, Donald Pliner and Kenneth Cole New York.

"Calvin Klein has launched a new line of handbags so we will carry that in upcoming months," she said, adding that people often come to her store in search of items they've seen celebrities wear. After Oprah raved of the new Cole Haan shoe line with Nike air technology, Cole-Marion said she quickly sold out. The Cole Haan Nike Air line generally retails for $150-$200.

Holli Duffie, 21, loves to keep up with the latest trends and has spent more than $2,000 on a single shopping excursion.

"I'm a hairstylist, and we're always checking the magazines to look at celebrity styles. You don't want to be behind with it," said Duffie, who works at Belle Ami salon in Tupelo's Gloster Creek Village.

One of her favorite stores is Tupelo's Omi Boutique, which carries brands like Rock & Republic, Nicole Miller, Tibi, Milly and Nanette Lepore. She's also fond of Omi's jewelry lines, Jane Hollinger and the symbolic Me&Ro.

Karen Trumpore owns the store, and said it's not uncommon for some customers to spend $6,000 during one shopping trip.

"Our clients vary in age from 14 to 64, but there is an age of women who have their babies and only think of buying cute clothes for their kids," she said. "Then, all of a sudden, the light comes on, and they think 'I'm important too.' And it's OK to spend $400 on a dress if it makes them feel good about their appearance and comfortable with what they are wearing."

Trumpore lived in Jackson 15 years before moving to Tupelo and opening Omi. After working in the family business 14 years, having her fourth child and turning 40, she opened Omi in 2004.

"There was a need here that we were able to fill," she said. "We have a lot of people who come in and say this is what they see when they go to New York and L.A."

North Mississippi is also home to Oxford's Village Tailor boutique. Like Omi, the courthouse square store carries a variety of brands including BCBG: Max Azria, Juicy Couture, Lilly Pulitzer, Tracy Reese, Theory, Trina Turk, 7 For All Mankind, Citizens of Humanity and Tarina Tarantino. Celebrities wearing some of these brands are Jessica Biel, Sophia Bush, Jennifer Lopez, Amanda Bynes, Hilary Duff and Rachel Bilson.

M. W. Squared, sister to Jackson's Maison Weiss boutique in the Highland Village shopping center, also is located in the Oxford square. Buyer Whitney Curran said Maison Weiss has a new denim line called Rich & Skinny that's known for its flattering fit, and a popular jewelry line by Alex Woo often worn by celebrities Debra Messing, Jessica Simpson and Kelly Ripa.

"They do this numerology series," Curran said. "Kelly Ripa wears a '3' because she has three children. It's kind of like a lucky number thing."

Maison Weiss also carries Escada, St. John, Manolo Blahnik, Prada and Beyonce's House of Dereon furs in the fall, Curran said.

"We carry the House of Dereon's sheered mink vests. They are really fun and trendy." The furs usually retail for $250 and up.

The store blings with Gorjana, a designer jewelry line worn by Lohan, Rosanna Arquette, Claire Danes and Mischa Barton. The jewelry pieces usually retail from $40 to $140.

Highland Village is also home to the Juniker Jewelry Co. While some pieces cost $500 or less, high-end shoppers can pick up a 30-carat diamond necklace or 8-carat solitaire ring that costs more than $100,000.

Judith Ripka is one of the store's most popular jewelry lines. "She is one of the leading designers in our industry," owner Don Ravenstein said.

Back in the Jackson metro area, you can find celebrity trends at the Celebrity Trends Boutique in Flowood. Owner Dabbs Smith said, among other designer fashions, the store carries Adina Reyter jewelry, a favorite of Eva Longoria, Cameron Diaz, Brooke Shields and Terry Hatcher.

"She has heart, circle, star, moon, snake and horseshoe necklaces," said Smith. "The two most popular are the circle and heart."

The sterling silver and 14-karat gold pieces range from $50 to $130.

Robertson Boulevard may be the place to shop in L.A., but Washington Avenue in Ocean Springs is also a good place to track down the latest trends. Yvette Blackwell, manager of The Bay Collection, said her average customer spends about $300 per visit, but ringing up a $2,000 sale isn't unheard of.

"Some women will come in and buy their whole summer wardrobe at one time," she said.

A blouse from the store can cost $230, and suits can run up to $600, but the store also carries less expensive items.

Fashion consultant David Creel, owner of With David Salon & Image Studio in Jackson, said stars set the tone for fashion.

"The labels Prada, Gucci, Jimmy Choo and Chanel did not just happen," he said. "These brands of shoes, handbags and ensembles were first seen modeled by the likes of Sarah Jessica Parker, Paris Hilton and even made famous by magazines' paparazzi pages and best dressed lists.

"So, needless to say, boutiques like Celebrity Trends in Jackson, exclusive upscale landmark stores like Maison Weiss and the new, chic CoatTails not only cater to locals following on the heels of celebrities, but make it fun."

Kindal Underwood, 21, attends Northeast Mississippi Junior College in Booneville. She admires the style of Richie, Jennifer Aniston, Avril Lavigne and others, but doesn't try to copy them.

"I don't really look to any one person for style tips," she said. "I just pick things I like and fit them together until I like what I see."

After seeing Reese Witherspoon in a yellow Nina Ricci dress while watching the Golden Globes, Janice Weaver and her daughter, Melissa, said they knew they needed to add yellow to their wardrobes this season.

CoatTails on West Jackson Street in Ridgeland is one of their favorite stores. "My daughter and I love their Marc Jacobs and Diane von Furstenberg," she said. "Our favorite jeans are Armani Exchange and Diesel, but you have to shop out of town for those."

Weaver said wedge sandals, cropped jeans and metallics are hip, but some fashion statements just didn't catch on this season.

"Despite Britney Spears' plan, bald, shaved heads are not in," she said.