Arlyn Goldsby has never put the stops on her acquisitive nature.
"I've been traveling and consuming all my life," she says. "But when I filled up two houses, I decided I didn't want to collect anymore." She wanted a gallery.
Goldsby, longtime owner of the Van Dusen Green specialty dress store, just opened an Encino gallery full of jewelry, pottery, glasswork and other handicrafts picked up on travels and at crafts shows. The 1,400-square-foot shop adjacent to her dress store, goes by the name Van Dusen Green Etc.
Commercial, Artistic Eye
"I'm very simpatico with artists, but I have a commercial eye as well as an artistic eye," says Goldsby, a one-time designer who teamed with '60s model Ricki Van Dusen to open her first Van Dusen Green store 20 years ago.
What Goldsby deems commercial for Etc. is a homey amalgam of pine furniture, throw blankets, matching mother/daughter sweaters and whimsical pottery designs.
Her tastes are most dramatic in jewelry: exotic bib-shape beaded necklaces by Masha Archer, ivory bead chains by Susan Green and chunky turquoise necklaces from Santa Domingo, N.M.
She also carries enamel pictures by Montreal artist Bernard Seguin Poirier. Goldsby says she was visiting Poirier last year when she started thinking about opening a gallery for his and other Canadians' works.
"I love working with Canadians. They speak our language--and they're darling," says Goldsby, wearing an irreverent '60s rats-nest hairdo and black leather skirt.
She later added Oriental silver picture frames, Peruvian throw pillows and works by several West Coast artists, including ceramic kimonos covered with ancient appliques by Etsuko Sakimura of the Bay Area and seaweed-pattern pottery by Santa Barbara's Loren Nibbe.
Goldsby refers to Etc.'s assortment as "jewelry for the home." It's priced from under $100 into the thousands--and she admits she's still "testing ground" on what will sell.
'We Get Sidetracked'
Her clothes store is less the marketing mystery, stocked with sportswear from $50 and dressy outfits from $300 by Italian, New York and L.A. designers. It's geared to Valley tastes she defines as casual by day, dressy by night. She regards Southern California as serious about fashion. "We just get sidetracked because of our life style," she says.
"We want comfort, whereas in New York, they're willing to suffer to make a statement."
She and her husband, furniture manufacturer Marlowe Goldsby, travel several times a year to New York, Europe and the Orient for "pleasure and buying." Since her homes in Tarzana and Carpinteria are full--"they definitely look like collectors' homes," Goldsby says--she's abstaining from plucking up goodies from Etc. for herself.
"I'm trying to behave," she says.