C California Style

Curve's S.F. dressing room.
AOTC blouse, $465. Isabel Marant leather pants, $2,815, and heels, $800. Proenza Schouler bag, $1,335.
For fun, Borrisova produced and style a Hotel California-inspired shoot.

Curves Ahead

by C California Style

Nevena Borissova carefully maps out the future of her expanding sartorial empire.

Fifteen years ago, Nevena Borissova—a feisty 22-year-old originally from communist Bulgaria—borrowed some money from friends and family to open a luxury boutique on Robertson Boulevard. “I was so scared. Will people come in, will they like, will they buy?” In short order, they did all three—Marisa Tomei was one of her first clients—and Curve became a second home to L.A.’s serious shoppers. Borissova has a visceral approach to buying, with a propensity for up-and-coming and often European talent. She is responsible for introducing innumerable young brands to California: Preen, Iro, Berardi, Isabel Marant, Raquel Allegra “and probably 100 more.” “I first bought Isabel Marant personally in Paris and made an appointment at the showroom over a decade ago. The chain boots were madness. We had presold 70 pairs. We were the only people in the States to have ordered them. She couldn’t produce them and wanted to cancel the whole thing. We literally got one pair that Kelly Wearstler owns. In the end, she decided to [go through with production] and saved us from refunding an insane amount of money.”

In 2005, Borissova started producing pieces for the shop that she couldn’t find elsewhere. She also expanded: Soho opened in 2008, followed by Miami in 2009 and S.F. in 2011. This month, she opens a destination storefront on Bond Street in N.Y.’s Bowery district. And in 2015, Curve will anchor the new Hayden Tract development in L.A. with a 7,000-square-foot lifestyle shop.

Borissova, who is expecting her second boy this fall, is also excited for the launch of AOTC (Ahead of the Curve). It took many years for her to come back to production after the death of her first pattern maker. Now working with a designer from Joie, the full line is stocked with timeless pieces: flouncy skirts, leather tops and updated wrap dresses. “I really wanted something exclusive because everything gets taken away from me. We discover designers, make them cool, and then other stores come in and buy them two or three seasons later.”

For the 15th anniversary, some of her best selling labels have contributed exclusive pieces (a Jenni Kayne D’Orsay flat, Viktor&Rolf bodysuit, Mary Katranzou scarf, Mugler purse, Pamela Love ring and more). “You can buy clothes anywhere,” says Borissova. “The truth is, we are here and we will be here because I am still so passionate.” shopcurve.com.

Written by Kelsey McKinnon