Karan Dannenberg’s eponymous Belltown shop isn’t a mother-of-the-bride shop per se. Neither is it a shop for cross-dressing beauty queens — per se. But anyone looking to get dressed up and paint the town with leopard prints and rhinestones would do well to stop by. And because it isn’t only the bride-to-be who spends months looking for just the right gown we selected Karan Dannenberg Clothier and its special occasion-loving proprietor for a very special Wedding Wednesday edition of Meet the Shopkeeper.
WWW: What’s your personal spin on the ubiquitous “How can I help you?” question?
Dannenberg: Well, we don’t just ask that question — we ask what is the need of each customer. Is she traveling to Europe? Is she the mother of the bride or groom? What is the date of the event? What colors do you like to wear? Do you like long or short? What color are the others wearing? What color tablecloths and flowers are you doing? What is the climate and time of the event? Do you want to take one suitcase? These are the in-depth conversations we have with each and every customer that stops to shop with us.
What’s your favorite thing in the store right now?
We are very excited about all of our jewelry lines — they fly out of the store. The Frangos collection from Greece is like none other. The new Yoana Baraschi knits are stunning, a great new line for us. It shows how versatile knits are. An Ren jackets are always a huge hit. The transition weight for work or travel is amazing. Another must have is LEOPARD…see the An Ren metallic leopard trench on our blog.
Where do you shop when you’re not at your store?
Nordstrom shoes, DSW and for fun, Chico’s. I actually bought my birthday outfit there. My sales staff was amazed that I was buying something there for my birthday. I like to mix it up. Just bought a gorgeous Philip Stein watch in Juno, Alaska, and yes, just getting in my Joan Rivers QVC fun necklaces. I love her things.
What specific store or type of store do you feel is missing from Seattle’s shopping scene?
Definitely shoe shops. [Hm, well, we know where plenty of those are":/style-and-shopping/find-a-shop/#/search:business_listing.name=shoe&shoes=1/ -Editor] We miss a lot of the independent little boutique stores. I’d love a real NY bagel shop. Give me my twice toasted onion bagel with lox, capers, onion, tomatoes and chive cream cheese. No, I am not Jewish…Irish Catholic Ukrainian. I love and miss the east coast food.
What’s the weirdest thing that’s ever happened in your store?
A few years back a tall, handsome black man in a baseball cap came in to ask me about this backless black boucle gown I had in my dressy area. He asked if he could try it. I was a bit skeptical and a little nervous but I said OK. Next thing I know, the curtain slides open and there he was looking hot as hell the gown, hat off and totally bald. He looked at me and said “What do you think? I am running for Mr. Gay Washington State.” I responded by saying,“What are you doing to do with your hair?”