A little boutique in the Lower Garden District has that certain je ne sais quoi.
Have you ever been somewhere and something smells or looks a certain way, and it immediately makes you feel safe or happy? It may even conjure up memories of home or a loved one. We have unearthed a little shop on Sophie Wright Place off of Magazine Street that is intriguingly familiar and draws you in with inviting and enticing inventory. You almost want to say aloud “Oh, I have been here before.”
Saint Claude Social Club, celebrating its two-year anniversary this month, embodies the spirit of all fashionable New Orleans ladies both past and present. From high end, yet affordable, curated vintage clothing pieces to cannot-leave-without trinkets and dresses, it has everything you never knew you needed but instantly desire. It defines the essence of this city without being stereotypical or kitschy. In a city that is literally drowning in nostalgia, Saint Claude Social Club feels fresh yet proverbial. You will be hard-pressed to find a single fleur-de-lis or “Who Dat?” memorabilia in the entire inventory, which is completely refreshing. However, you will encounter a sense that everything in the boutique feels like it was made for New Orleans.
Saint Claude Social Club is full of color; it’s alluring; and it caters to all walks of life. From locals to tourists exploring our sultry streets, Saint Claude Social Club welcomes customers with a locally distilled cocktail from 73 Distillery and a respite from the heat in the lovely sitting area. The owners pride themselves on being able to accommodate every genre of shopper and every type of woman.
Owners Sarah Killen and Margaret Sche were actually drawn together by their obsession with the store’s location. They knew they wanted something to go in that space, formerly The Finery, before they even knew what they wanted the space to become. Killen and Sche had also just met each other when the site became available. They became fast friends with a mutual appreciation for each other’s talents and the desire to created a retail concept that complied everything a stylish New Orleans lady might be lacking in her wardrobe. “We wanted to create a New Orleans-style boutique of fashionable things that were missing in this city,” Sche says. Saint Claude Social Club has clothing and accessories from across the world. You will not find any of their lines and designers repeated anywhere in the city — and some not even in the United States. “Our products come from all around the globe, like ingredients in a gumbo,” Sche adds.
The boutique is heavily driven by accessories and includes the Saint Claude Jewelry collection by Killen. With her studio in the back, Killen creates unique pieces from whatever inspires her in any given moment. Saint Claude Jewelry does not follow a traditional fall/spring collection release schedule. Killen simply invents from inspiration and fervor. “Saint Claude Jewelry and Saint Claude Social Club does not believe in following trends,” Killen says. “We do what we love and are passionate about regardless of what is currently popular.” Both Killen and Sche, when curating the store and attending the Paris trade shows, only purchase what they both are enthusiastic about; they buy with their gut and intuition.
As well as vintage clothing pieces from Paris, distinctive accessories and art work, the store has the most exceptional collection of non-traditional Mardi Gras costumes and costume accessories. Saint Claude Social Club is transformed during the Mardi Gras season. Throughout the year, the owners are constantly building inventory and gathering items that will add something extra to any carnival costume; it is truly a discovery zone for anyone wanting to take their costume to another level.
The boutique seems like a place you’ve frequented in your past and a store that will definitely be part of your present and future. It has that feeling of déjà vu — a place to visit, shop and chill. Just look for the brightly colored mural out front.
Saint Claude Social Club
1933 Sophie Wright Place
–Happy shopping! Aimée Gowland, ALG Style