I had discovered the Phoenix, Arizona boutique Purple Lizard Boutique online a few months prior and had been quietly obsessing over the small boutique ever since. I found Purple Lizard Boutique when I was digging online for quarantine clothes, and their offering of uber-comfy chic dresses had turned up. As I started clicking through the rest of Purple Lizard Boutiques offerings, I knew I had stumbled upon a very special store.
With so much of fashion retail becoming increasingly slick and data-driven, I have deeply missed the textured landscape of small boutique retail, and Purple Lizard Boutique stands out as a jewel of its kind. Purple Lizard has an extraordinary collection of small and hard-to-find designers, as well as goods made by artists and craftsman. You have graphic African print dresses by Fahari Bazaar, made in Tanzania by a small group of seamstresses. You’ll also find Manuelle Guibal, a French label founded in 1991 focusing on understated clothes in carefully dyed raw fabrics. Elsa Esturgie is another exquisitese French label carried by Purple Lizard, and looks like the kind of clothes a Yohji Yamamoto woman would pack for a vacation. The experience of Purple Lizard is light years away from shopping at a giant like Nordstrom or Net-a-Porter. It’s obvious that Purple Lizard is a true labor of love.
If this store’s vision seems singular, that’s probably because it is. Owners Marguerite Tram and her husband Joe are the sole employees of Purple Lizard Boutique, making it about as small as small business can get. Listings on their web store aren’t photographed on mannequins, but are modeled by the boutique owner herself taking mirror shots with an iPhone. Marguerite explained over email to me that she opened her store in 1998, after a few years in fashion show production. Since then she’s worked hard to accrue a small stable of sustainable designers for Purple Lizard, as well as some artists from Mexico and Europe. They’ve had their brick-and-mortar boutique in Arizona for the last 23 years but in the last year have expanded to online retail. For now their boutique isn’t offering in-person shopping due to coronavirus, but Phoenix locals can do curbside pick-up for all of their Purple Lizard needs.
To be honest, I have been a little spooked by how accurately Purple Lizard Boutique seems to anticipate my wants and desires. You may remember I mentioned the Swedish fashion label Ewa I Walla. Purple Lizard is one of the precious few U.S. retailers who carries Ewa I Walla. People who follow me on Instagram know I have a post about petticoats coming out next week…well, Purple Lizard Boutique happens to carry some of the prettiest petticoats I’ve seen on the market, and I’ve looked far and wide! The latest post my mom and I worked on about eclectic interiors mentioned how important woodblock prints are to a gallery wall. It just so happens that Purple Lizard Boutique carries woodblock prints by Brazilian folk artist and poet Jose Francisco Borges. Maybe I should quit fashion blogging, because clearly, Purple Lizard Boutique has all of the bases covered!
I wish for the day I can come visit their store in person, but until then I’ve bookmarked Purple Lizard Boutique and am checking in frequently…I have loved scrolling through their inventory and making new discoveries over the last few months. Follow them on Instagram too here!