The latest wave of the East Liberty renaissance includes a fashionable face-lift -- and new spots to shop for the holidays -- thanks to the arrival of contemporary clothes and food shops, a luxury bath and kitchen store and designer Kiya Tomlin's new studio.
The up-and-coming retail strip on Broad Street known as Indigo Square has welcomed a handful of higher-end tenants in recent months. Washington, D.C.-based Nigel Parkinson of Parkinson Construction is heading development in the area, which will include a hotel that's being built across the street.
"There's such an energy, and there's so much hope," said Ms. Tomlin, wife of Steelers head coach Mike Tomlin. She moved her design studio, Kiya Tomlin Pittsburgh, there over the summer after being located inside Meadeworth Interiors at Penn Circle West, East Liberty.
"When I was at Meadeworth, I knew it was going to be a temporary situation. It was kind of like my little stepping stone," she said. "Here [there is] open space and the windows and the trees and knowing there is going to be a hotel there and people just walking and can stop in and chat. To be social, that's what I was looking for."
By appointment, Ms. Tomlin can help clients learn about their body type and design apparel fit for them. Her "fitted dress" concept provides women with a few dress selections with choices for how to customize the neckline, fabrics, sleeves and hemline.
"It's my Build-a-Bear approach to customizable clothing," she said. "I really want it to be like where people can come in and play and sketch."
Ms. Tomlin also offers a made-to-order collection, which features her original designs that can be created in a client's size. Additionally, she works with women on collaborative designs, the ultimate custom experience.
"You come in, I design it for you," she said.
At her new space, Ms. Tomlin plans to grow her ready-to-wear offerings. Right now, she carries a small line of pre-washed/pre-shrunk sweatshirt dresses that run about $250 each, and she hopes to add blouses and other wardrobe staples.
For another fashion fix, shoppers can visit the neighboring boutique, Chemistry, a clothing and accessories store for women and babies. Jeneane Hugus manages the shop, which stocks upscale women's apparel, such as BCBG-MAXAZRIA and BCBGeneration, designer denim, lingerie and jewelry and accessories. Upstairs, baby clothes, novelty items and some furniture are available.
Her husband, Brent, co-owns with John Nicklas the nearby Luxe bath and kitchen specialty store that opened in late October. Its sister store is on Fifth Avenue, Downtown, across from the Fairmont Hotel.
It specializes in luxury lighting, tile, cabinetry, bathroom fixtures and kitchen design and installation. The store includes two fully functioning kitchens and a bathroom gallery.
"We were kind of taken back by the response that we had for our grand opening event for Luxe. We had about 300 people," Mr. Hugus said. "We took the steps to make a statement and really show different lines and lines we have exclusively in the Pittsburgh market."
For the foodie, Olive & Marlowe sells gourmet olive oils and balsamic vinegars in unique and traditional flavors from groves and presses in California. The shop also maintains a stand at the Pittsburgh Public Market, Strip District, and a seasonal location at South Hills Village.