Style Counsel: A Cult Shoemaker in Echo Park
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One visit to Los Angeles and you’ll notice it too: the streets from Venice to Silverlake and Downtown LA are filled with Beatrice Valenzuela shoes. They're a California staple, and the styles at Beatrice's Echo Park store tend not to change. “The way I approach my shoes is as wardrobe essentials, unchanging in style from season to season. I’m the kind of person that once I find something I love, I always want it in my life; I think we all have that inclination toward objects and clothing,” says Beatrice. The concept behind the leather shoes came about while Beatrice was traveling through Mexico. “I studied anthropology and have always been looking at handmade shoes from different cultures around the world. I had never made shoes before, but I knew what I liked, and at an open-air market in Mexico City I met the man who I continue to collaborate with today.” An early career in styling and an interest in antiques led Beatrice to take the slow fashion approach to her own label. "Many times I’ve found the perfect dress, have worn it until it has practically dissolved, and know I won’t be able to find it again,” she says. “It’s like that pair of Levis we all have in our closet—it’s always available and it doesn’t matter that we all have them. My shoe collection is modeled in the same way. The colors of the leather might change seasonally, but you can always find the same style you rely on.” Beatrice grew up in Mexico City and lived all over the US before spending a few years in Paris where she met her now-husband, Ramsey. She was on her way to Cuba when she followed Ramsey to LA. “We’ve lived here for 11 years, and are now in a home in Echo Park with our daughter, Astrid, just up the street from my store,” she says We asked Beatrice for some fashion and design advice, including how best to wear her shoes, scents to wear each season, and what she can't stop buying for her home. To browse her store, go to Beatrice Valenzuela . Above: Photograph by Jeana Sohn of Closet Visit . Remodelista: Three words that describe your personal style? Beatrice Valenzuela: Vibrant, feminine, and chic. RM: What are your wardrobe essentials? BV: A good jacket (either fitted or abundant) and a pair of perfectly fitted jeans cropped at the ankle. I really like Won Hundred and Acne jeans, but it really depends on your body type. You have to go out there and try on a ton of jeans until you find that perfect fit. I also always have a structured leather bag made by a friend: Clare Vivier , Agnes Baddoo , and Samantha Grisdale , among others. Above: Beatrice bought this handknit sweater at an estate sale in Malibu: "I also got a gorgeous Josefa kaftan from Acapulco; it was an amazing sale." Photograph by Jeana Sohn of Closet Visit . RM: How do you brave the elements? BV: When it's cold: Cresent Down Works' Wool Italian Vest over a fitted sweater, a big soft scarf, and a pair of by own Botines . When it's hot: an Eres bikini over a loose see-through caftan by Dosa or one of Jesse Kamm's Imperial Tunics with the Nahuatl Sandal . Above: Beatrice wears an ear cuff that a friend brought back from a trip to Provence. She's currently working on a small jewelry collection to include hair accessories and ear cuffs (inspired by this vintage one). Photograph by Jeana Sohn of Closet Visit . RM: Do you have a signature piece of jewelry? BV: I have two! I've been wearing my jade bracelet since I was 18; it has been on my body the whole time. It actually doesn't come off now because it has become part of me. The second piece is from my husband, Ramsey, who made me the most beautiful sculpted ring band and I wear it on my finger everyday. It's rose gold and feels wonderful on my hand. RM: Hair maintenance and beauty essentials? BV: I deep condition my hair once or twice a week. I recommend finding a hair repair treatment or mask that you like and waiting 10 to 20 minutes before rinsing. When I shampoo my hair, I always leave in a bit of condition. It acts as a leave-in condition and helps with any frizz. For beauty, I use Tata Harper products—I especially love the Regenerating Cleanser , the Hydrating Floral Essence , the Rejuvenating Serum , and the Restorative Eye Cream . I find that her products are absorbed into the skin very easily and I like the aromatherapy. Above: Photograph of Coqui Coqui in Tulum from MySuites . RM: Go-to scent or perfume? GD: It depends on the season: spring is Coqui Coqui's Orange Blossom , summer it's Coqui Coqui Coco (coconut), fall requires Diptyque's Philosykos (fig), and winter it's Dasein's Winter scent. RM: What's in your bag? BV: Measuring tape, nail polish, lipstick, Tata Harper's Stress Treatment and Hydrating Floral Essence for rejuvenating a bit in this dry winter season, stickers (for my daughter Astrid), a Postalco sketch pad , a book, and sunglasses. Above: Photograph via Tomboy Style . RM: Any advice on how to wear a pair of Beatrice Valenzuela shoes? BV: Our shoes look great with an ankle cropped jean and a chunky knit sweater, while the sandals are best with loose skirts and dresses. Above: A Magdalena Suarez Frimkess untitled tile from LA's South Willard gallery. RM: Favorite art piece or architectural work of the moment? BV: I've been collecting Magdalena Suarez's ceramics since I was in my early twenties. I just recently acquired some new pieces that I'm really inspired by. RM: What's the last thing you purchased for your home? BV: I am always buying baskets. I think it's a bit of an obsession really. N.B.: Beatrice and textile designer Rachel Craven are the cofounders of the Echo Park Craft Fair , a twice-yearly event that showcases over 50 designers. For more style profiles, see our previous posts on Apiece Apart on Living with Less and Heidi Swanson's Travel Kit .