Crimson Mim in Palo Alto challenges any stereotypes of suburban fashion. The boutique, which opened this month at Town & Country Village, is the latest created by former software buyer, Christine Campbell, a Canadian whose work brought her to Silicon Valley. She found the shopping so dismal that she switched careers and opened her first Crimson Mim store in Los Altos in 2005.
Campbell fell in love with textiles as a child, when her father's mining career led the family to live briefly in Guatemala, where fabrics and clothes were handmade. Crimson Mim carries dresses, pants, T-shirts and jackets in natural fibers and soothing colors by emerging lines such as Harvey Faircloth, and more established designers Caron Callahan, 3.1 Phillip Lim, Whit and ALC.
Campbell aims for items with a twist - a khaki pant with a higher waistband and fabric cut on the bias, or handmade waxed linen and brass jewelry by Winifred Grace of Chicago or chunky cuffs and crystal pieces by Mikal Winn of Palm Desert. Apparel prices range from $75 to $695, jewelry from $100 to $100 and shoes from $150 to $395. Stock changes weekly.
"Our customer is well-educated and well-traveled, so she's not interested in seeing the same-old, same-old," Campbell says. "She's not interested in the mass market experience."