This boutique has a certain, how you say, je ne sais quoi.
By Annie Vazquez
Aptly named Trend, the Leslie Benitah's South Beach shop strictly sells high-end French designers such as Vanessa Bruno and Elia Stone. Clad in her own merchandise -- flowy green flower dress by Isabel Marant and Barbara Bui gladiator shoes -- Benitah, 30, a former journalist, says she decided to open a boutique after leaving her television career in Paris to live in Miami with her husband. "I'm a crazy shopper and when I first moved here a year and a half ago, I couldn't find any of the brands I like," she says. "The French brands that I did find at Bal Harbour were for an older crowd."
Benitah says she carries clothing versatile enough for women of all ages. "Look at this top," Benitah says, pointing out a Barbara Bui blue-and-white striped tank and matching sweater. "I sold this to a 30-year-old and Juliana [Marquez, the store manager] sold it to a 60-year-old."
Dangling on hangers are flowy dresses, shorts, tunics and tops in vibrant tones. Prices start at $60 for a T-shirt and go up to $6,000 for an evening dress. Shoes average about $700 and jewelry like a Paolo Pasotti necklace can cost $259. "I buy all the merchandise and most of the clothes are my taste," Benitah says. "I am still trying to adapt to Miami because they like color and fitted clothing down here," she adds, pointing to her emerald-hued dress. "In France, it's different. We like natural colors like beige, brown, black, and our clothes don't have to be so fitted."
Benitah says she buys only a few pieces of each style to keep her customers feeling exclusive outfit: "I would hate for one of my clients to run into someone else wearing the same thing as them." she said.Trend, 1673 Meridian Av, Miami Beach; 305-534-4755.
Leslie Benitah sits among some of the mannequins at Trend boutique on South Beach. Photo: Nuri Vallbona.