Lexington fashionistas, rejoice. Beloved fashion retailer Anthropologie has arrived.
The chain opened its latest store Friday at The Mall at Lexington Green, which is revamping itself as a fashion center. It is the first store in Lexington and the second in Kentucky.
With 175 stores, Anthropologie has carved out a loyal customer base as it boasts on its website of "a one-of-a-kind and compelling shopping experience that makes women feel beautiful, hopeful and connected." The chain, owned by Philadelphia-based Urban Outfitters, sells clothing, accessories, shoes, home furnishings, "found objects," gifts and décor.
"Lexington has always been one of Anthropologie's favorite cities for its distinct culture, great appreciation for the arts and its historical heritage," company spokeswoman Amanda Woodward said in a statement. "We're excited to finally have the opportunity to contribute to its rich and vibrant community."
An invitation-only preview of the store was held Thursday evening complete with champagne cocktails and chocolate desserts complementing the barrels of dried lavender, shelves of colorful ceramics and, of course, the clothes.
One of the first shoppers in the store Thursday night was Lexington's Marigail Sexton, who previously got her fix by ordering from the store's website.
Sexton was shopping with a friend, Janice Vranicar, and already had snagged a Port Maria chemise with colorful embroidery along the sleeves. Perhaps she would wear it with jeans, she said, or "maybe as a dress with boots."
Among the most well-known aspects of Anthropologie is each store's unique floor and window displays, which are often an artful mix of paper or recycled materials.
Visitors to Lexington's store were greeted just beyond the entrance with a towering sculpture of painted paper with touches of pink.
"It's a moonflower," said Rob Hampton, the store's home department manager. Made of papier-mâché and wire, it was created by the staff and was made overscaled to draw the eyes of visitors. The flower theme is continued throughout the store, Hampton said, with fresh bouquets and greenery.
Until now, the Anthropologie stores closest to Lexington were at Kenwood Towne Centre in Cincinnati and Oxmoor Center in Louisville.
Its opening in Lexington comes after a series of upgrades to Lexington Green, including installation of two fountains, new irrigation systems linked to the lake in the rear, and sidewalks replaced with brick pavers and colored concrete.
The redevelopment of the center has been in the works for more than two years and is linked to a consultant's study suggesting that it focus on fashion tenants.
Since the announcement of Anthropologie, the shopping center has signed up Ann Taylor Loft and Hot Mama.
"Anthropologie is every developer's dream," said Doris Benson, president of Langley Properties and a partner in Lexington Green. "We spent a year going after tenants we wanted, and now we have fashion tenants contacting us."