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Kerut brings hybrid of styles to La Jolla

Lauren Turek came to La Jolla on a mission to put chic back into boutique.

“There’s a real need in the market here for vintage and unique clothing for the local customer and the tourist,” said Turek of her new women’s clothing store named Kerut (her name backward). “People are going back to the idea of having the boutique experience: They really want the service.”

Billing her fashion boutique as “ ‘50s Palm Springs meets Morocco and Nantucket,” Turek promises customers an engaging and above all, novel, shopping experience. “A lot of large retailers have consolidated and are kind of selling the same thing,” she noted. “People want things unique and different.”

In style, Turek said patrons want things both casual and sophisticated. “I bring the perfect blend to that,” she said, noting that her target market is women ages 35 to 55 for whom there’s just “a real gap in the market.”

Kerut is a reflection of its owner, a hybrid of styles. Turek did a massive renovation of her approximately 800-square-foot retail space, putting in modern furniture and white walls while interjecting some “bohemianism” into it with Moroccan lanterns and rugs. “It’s the most different space probably on the whole street,” she said.

Kerut has a real airy and open feel about it. Guests are treated to a flat-screen TV playing old black-and-white romantic movies such as “Breakfast at Tiffany’s.” A portrait of the film’s star, Audrey Hepburn, is prominently displayed on one wall.

Turek believes fashion and art are inextricably linked and influence each other. “People can appreciate the quality, feeling like they’re wearing a piece of art,” she said.

Prices at Kerut run from $88 for a beautiful silk shirt to $1,100 for a European-designed dress, though Turek said much of her inventory is in the $300 range.

“My average cocktail dress is $400,” she said. “We have beautiful handbags for $595. Designer jeans range from $198 to $300. There are things accessible to most people, though we do have a luxury lifestyle boutique.”

Turek took an unusual path to fashion retail having been involved in politics, even interning at the White House. Through it all, she said she couldn’t fight off a “fashion passion” deep inside.

“I believe at some point you have to follow your heart,” she said, adding that she came to San Diego and more specifically La Jolla because of the potential.

“San Francisco and L.A. are very much developed and matured, whereas fashion design is just emerging in San Diego,” she said. “I’ve had people tell me, ‘There’s nowhere to shop here.’ That very much affirmed for me that I’m in the right place.”

Kerut provides a “curated” collection of innovative international women’s clothing and accessories. The boutique does home delivery, overnight shipping and free basic tailoring. It also offers fashion styling consultation in a homelike environment offering guests amenities such as champagne and hors d’oeuvres.

Hours at Kerut are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, or by appointment.

For more information, visit

www.kerut.com

or call (858) 456-0800.