PDF - Lisa Richmon Communications

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PDF - Lisa Richmon Communications
ESCAPE ARTISTS
92
@6
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5,
BETH
BUCCINI
BY LISA RICHMON
PHOTOGRAPHY BY MARK EDWARD ATKINSON
T
he daughter of an intellectual creative and a self-made entrepreneur, Beth Shepherd
Buccini didn’t hesitate to bring to life her vision for a new biz offspring with sorority
sister Sarah Easley. The Gen Y, unmarried, fashion-obsessed Francophiles opened
Kirna Zabête (using nicknames from college) in 1999 to fill the void in New York’s boutique shopping scene, one that Beth discovered while gunning for designers as editor of
New York magazine. Upon executing their mission as “curators of the best designers of
today and tomorrow,” Kirna Zabête threw big names like Prada and Gucci under the bus
(along with their conspicuous ads) in favor of less-known talent like Nicolas Ghesquiere.
Putting Ghesquière on the U.S. radar gave Balenciaga’s top designer, the most copied in
fashion today, the kind of topspin Warren Buffett gave Dairy Queen and GEICO.
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ESCAPE ARTISTS
W
NE
MY HUSBAND
THINKS THERE’S
A MUSEUM
IN MY CLOSET.”
92
FALL 2010
RK
YO
Perhaps most distinct among Kirna Zabête’s rare and luscious finds (coats,
shoes, necklaces and dresses) is its signature warmth and Southern hospitality.
Buccini succeeded in part deux of her dual mission by creating the kind of vibe
that would make it comfortable for customers to stroll in after yoga – with
their dogs. Sarah (Kirna) is from Richmond; Beth (Zabête) grew up in Virginia
Beach. So what if the New York Daily News branded Beth Shepherd Buccini
as half of the 32nd most important entity in fashion today. Beth’s a beach girl
at heart who gleefully admits to the influence Virginia Beach had in her life. “I
love coming home and being near the water. We love to take the kids crabbing
at Seashore State Park, and do all the things I did as a kid. My kids also love going fishing with my dad … and there’s nothing I love more than sitting on the
beach all day, collecting seashells and taking the boat to Chicks or Dockside
for dinner.”
Oddly, since Beth’s a girl who pays her stiff SoHo rent selling layers of warm
clothing, coats and hats, her personal preference for a fashion season is summer.
“It’s a relief to come home and wear nothing but cutoffs and flip-flops. I have
this one obsession,” she says almost sheepishly. “I have a ridiculous number of
bathing suits … maybe over 100. But I’ve been collecting them for years. I can’t
stand the cold weather and I hate dressing for it.”
Kirna Zabête may be a hedonistic hotspot for celebs like Kate Hudson and
Gwyneth Paltrow, but it also tempers designer-licious with a high appropriateness factor. Perhaps a suggestion of restraint was ingrained in their psyches by
the owners’ Southern upbringing. “Our clients work and have children,” Beth
says. “I can turn it out, and I have to regularly, but we also have watered down
designer clothing for the real world of dirty fingers and play dates. Dressing
more than you have to is wasted glamour.”
Buy high. Never sell. That could describe Beth’s fashion investment philosophy. “My husband thinks there’s a museum in my closet. I still have every
high-end designer piece I’ve ever bought. I have two daughters. And two sons.
One day, they’ll have wives.”
Whether she’s choosing to invest in a garment or a girlfriend, Beth Buccini
holds on tight. She’s still close to a core group of friends from high school, such
as Norfolk resident Emily Keogh Zak. “Back in high school, Beth and I would
talk on the phone at least two to three times every night. One call was to go
over physics and the other was to discuss wardrobe. Now,” says Emily, “when
I want to know what she’s wearing, I just open a Vogue, Elle, Marie Claire
or the New York magazine fashion blog. What makes our friendship so great
is that we will crack each other up at the drop of a hat, and we turn to each
other in times of sadness, without hesitation. Beth has customers like Gwyneth
Paltrow and Cameron Diaz but I can call her anytime from the dressing room
at Nordstrom in Norfolk and she’ll call me back and tell me if I’m buying the
right jeans.”
Beth met Sarah Easley during their first week at U.Va. An instant connection led to a blossoming friendship with lovely layers. Sisters-by-choice, Beth
and Sarah were maid/matron of honor in each other’s weddings and are godmothers to each other’s children. At Kirna Zabête, they’re co-raising a thriving offspring. “A good
friend is like that perfect black cashmere sweater you’ve had
forever,” says Beth. “There’s nothing like that friend who
has grown with you, and been with you through millions
of stages and changes.”

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