The new space in Venice represents a fresh start for the designer — and the neighborhood
Words by KELSEY McKINNON
Photography by MARK GRIFFIN CHAMPION
Nick Fouquet’s new brick-and-mortar on Abbot Kinney is an impressive hat trick — in every sense of the phrase. Three years after the model turned milliner outgrew his first shop on the storied street, he moved operations to a bungalow off Lincoln Boulevard. With over 130,000 followers on Instagram and accounts like Maxfield, Amarees and Net-a-Porter, last year Fouquet’s company grew another 30 percent — “we were bursting at the seams,” he says of the decision to move again.
“Venice is a very different place now with all those corporate main-core stores, but down on this end [between Washington Boulevard and Venice Boulevard] we still have the mechanics, welders and woodworkers,” he says of the location on a quiet block beyond the main drag. “It’s kind of like the OG Abbot Kinney.”
Inside the minimalist, gallery-like boutique, the seasonal, ready-to-wear collection rests on sculptural custom wood pegs. “I pride myself on these hats being wearable pieces of art,” Fouquet says. T-shirts and pins feature the company’s matchstick logo, inspired by Fouquet’s distressing technique, which involves lighting felts to add patina. There’s a vintage barber chair where custom clients (the likes of which include Diane Keaton, Pharrell Williams, Madonna, Jessica Hart and Cara Delevingne, who wore a bespoke top hat to the wedding of Princess Eugenie and Jack Brooksbank) are measured and fitted. And behind the shop is the bustling production studio where each piece is made by hand using sustainably harvested beaver fur felt.
Fouquet, who commutes from his Buckminster Fuller-inspired geodesic dome home in Topanga Canyon, says hats will always be the backbone of the business, but that he is also working on other accessories: backgammon boards, fanny packs, belts, wallets, silk scarves and bags. “We are just constantly creating. It’s hard to reinvent the wheel, but every time I feel like we come up with something unique with a specific point of view.”
2300 Abbot Kinney Blvd., 310-310-2315.
Feature image: NICK FOUQUET outside his eponymous Venice shop wearing a hat of his own design.