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Retailer Has Designs on Westside Man

November 28, 1986|DIANE REISCHEL | Times Staff Writer

Retailer Leona Horowitz refers to "the Westside man" with almost sociological precision. "He's a 25- to 45-year-old career man. Going places. Successful and fashion conscious," says the tiny, curly-haired woman, who lives in Marina del Rey but has set up shop in the nearby bluff-side neighborhood of Pacific Palisades.

Her menswear boutique, Gables--named for Clark Gable--opened one year ago in the quaint village atmosphere of Swarthmore Avenue. And since then, Horowitz has fine-tuned her notion of the Palisades customer. He's more conservative than the Beverly Hills man, she says, and more casual in dress.

The wilder gear she initially brought to the 700-square-foot store went without takers, she confesses.

"The baggy pants big enough for five people--that didn't go at all." Likewise, the colored, metallic bomber jackets never found homes, she says.

What worked, though, was sportswear that straddles the line between traditional and contemporary. A big chunk of her menswear is by Matinique and L.A.-based Axis. She also carries pieces by Hugo Boss and WilliWear. Prices range from $25 to $500.

The former UCLA student, who has worked in several boutiques over the years, says she combed coastal menswear stores for months before opening her own. She says she was determined to avoid a unisex feeling or anything "too young."

But the most exciting thing, she says, is to see a 50-year-old man put on something that would generally be considered a younger man's style, and to find that he looks wonderful in it.

The education of this Westside retailer included learning a basic difference between men and women shoppers.

"If a man says: 'I came in for a shirt, and that's it,' he'll stick to it," Horowitz notes. But the female shopper is more impulsive, and "more inclined to say: 'I've GOT to have that.' "

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