Elmwood’s newest addition to the retail scene, Belle, is slated for a soft opening this month. Stocking its shelves with knits, jewelry, handbags, shoes, accessories, and decorative home items by brands like Foley + Corinna, Jack Rogers, Vintageous Sweaters, Karen Zambos, Central Park West, Streets Ahead, Minnie Rose Cashmere, Beso Beso jewelry, Eastland moccasins, and Roost, Berkeley’s stylish shoppers will now have access to the owners top picks for a travelled, classic look.
The store’s owner is no stranger to opening luxury fashion boutiques. Polly Simmons honed her retail skills travelling around the world for over a decade opening stores and styling fashion elite, working side-by-side with Calypso’s creator and retail powerhouse, Christiane Celle. With Calypso, frequent trips to St. Barth, Los Angeles, the Hamptons, Palm Beach, Paris, and other exciting cities were the norm. These exotic and hip locales were where Polly developed her love for the style she’ll be offering her clients at Belle.
Belle will occupy the loft at 2981 College Avenue above Rue Atelier, just named Oakland Magazine’s 2013 "Best of the East Bay" in the highly competitive women’s boutique category. The name Belle pays homage to Polly’s Southern roots and is a combination of her two very Southern grandmothers names, Betty and Ellen, and is a nod to Polly’s French-speaking mentor, Celle, and means “beautiful.”
Direct from New York City, Polly recently relocated to the area for her husband’s job, and immediately saw an opportunity. In this climate, “every girl needs a cardigan, scarf, classic belt, unique jewelry, and Jack Rogers or moccasins every day.” She lives in Oakland with her husband, two dogs, and a cat.