Naomi Watts, Kate Bosworth, and Laila Ali all choose her designs, and for good reason. Simple yet elegant silk dresses, weightless shirts, and other stunning pieces in Catherine Gee’s newly opened boutique on Haley Street find their way to your heart as soon as you see them. It’s not a secret that every woman wants to feel special, and here in the showroom, you do.
Gee found her way to fashion design through art and photography in her family. Her father was a painter, and her grandfather was a photographer. “It was pretty much my dream from childhood to become a designer, as I always loved fashion,” she said. “In high school art class, I drew all the time. And then I started drawing clothes.”
Before launching her own brand, Gee did marketing for a Santa Barbara arts foundation and a fund based in the Funk Zone. She also contributed to a number of nonprofit organizations. “Doing all that helped me understand I’m ready to run a small business,” she said.
Gee started making sales online and through wholesale chains, but she wanted a place to interact directly with clients. Somewhere they could look at and feel the clothes themselves. “People are craving for an authentic experience,” she said of her move to brick and mortar. The Haley corridor, with all its emerging talent and businesses, was a perfect fit.
Every detail of the store is attended to, from the gentle scent of burning candles to the variety of other merchandise, including bags by Altaire, which fit with Gee’s aesthetics. Almost all of her pieces are made in Los Angeles, and the signature fabric is silk with simple, clean lines.
Gee said that in the regular rush of everyday life, shopping at the boutique is a chance to slow down and get lost in the fascinating world of design.