Women’s Wear Daily: Beth Buccini Looks Back on 20 Years of Fashion at Kirna Zabete, and Plans for 20 More
Kirna Zabete’s raison d’etre in opening in August 1999 a 5,000-square-foot boutique at 96 Greene Street in Manhattan’s SoHo was to introduce monastic New Yorkers, whose go-to uniform was black everything, to the pleasures of color.
Everything about the store seemed exotic, from the unabashedly vivid hues of styles from emerging designers – discovered by the retailer and nurtured like hothouse flowers – to the space itself, envisioned by contemporary artist Jim Dine’s son Nick with lavender-painted wood floors, school-bus-yellow jewelry vitrines, a maraschino cherry-colored staircase, and Dine’s furniture for the store, including hexagonal purple Neoprene poufs for the dressing rooms.
Even the name was unusual, a mash-up of nicknames owner Beth Buccini and her former partner and University of Virginia pal Sarah Easley said were bestowed on them by “some stupid boyfriends,” Buccini recently recalled in her lilting Southern drawl. She added that the moniker caught the attention of curious consumers at
a time when “advertising for our little boutique wasn’t in the budget.”