Shop Talk: Viva Diva

Photography: Ashley Batz

Amy Anderson, owner of Viva Diva, gave us an inside look at her hip clothing boutique in San Rafael, California. Amy started in the business as a retail sales rep, but quickly realized that her real passion involved independently establishing a creative space of her own. She envisioned a fashion-friendly environment reminiscent of visits with your best girlfriend. Her boutique is brimming with glamorous, bohemian pieces — perfect for the girl who craves a relaxed yet sexy wardrobe. Viva Diva offers a fresh spin on fashion, femininity, and fun!

How would you describe the style of Viva Diva?
Viva Diva is all about sexy, contemporary fashion, and a true girlfriendy vibe. The Viva gals believe in real-girl, wearable trends that are flattering and accessible. We are partial to bohemian, beachy styles paired with a sexy, rocker edge. 

Some cozy winter boots, scarves, and sweaters.

What are your favorite brands right now?
The Viva gals are loving skinny jeans from J Brand and Hudson flares. We love sexy Indah tunics, printed Ella Moss blouses, and drapey Bella Luxx convertible tops. We dig super sexy Tart Collections mini and maxi dresses, as well as more luxurious silk Viereck dresses. Velvet and Splendid are two of our most reliable, consistent lines. The fits are always spot-on, and in general, most of our Viva customers can find the styles that are exactly what they’re looking for.  For Spring, we’re excited about platform sandals from Luxury Rebel, Bronx, and Seychelles, which epitomize Viva Diva’s sexy, boho vibe.

Bri Lindemulder, Viva Diva manager and assistant buyer

Rack of fab fashions for a chilly Nor Cal Winter.

Amy Anderson, Viva Diva owner and buyer

What three or four pieces are key to this season right now? Or for the New Year?
For this season, every Nor Cal girl needs a pair of amazing skinny jeans in black or dark denim. A pretty printed blouse is another must. It can be worn in a feminine yet super sexy way — unbuttoned slightly and worn with a colorful Cosabella bralette and chunky chain necklace. Also key this season in every closet? A pair of high-wedge suede booties or knee-high leather fold-over boots. Finally, every Nor Cal chick should have at least one amazing sweater that can be used as a layering piece. At Viva Diva, we’re loving off-the-shoulder dolman sleeve sweaters from Brandy Melville and Free People, as well as oversized Subtle Luxury and Velvet cashmere sweaters.

For Spring 2012, we are really excited about the amazing saturated colors and tribal prints that will start coming in next month. Four key pieces for Spring include a pair of brightly-colored flare or skinny-leg jeans, a feminine yet sexy tunic that can be worn as a mini dress or with jeans and shorts, an assortment of oversized printed and solid sheer tees, and one stellar pair of platform sandals with leather-covered or stacked-wood heels. To finish off Spring necessities, our Nor Cal customers should get their hands on some long, layering necklaces.

Some of the Viva gals’ favorite pieces from Janna Conner, Voce Keen, Kris Nations, Samanca, and Gorjana.

Tell us about how you started Viva Diva. What inspired you to do it? Any interesting stories/insight?
I opened Viva Diva in 1997 after working as a clothing sales rep. I loved the idea of having a business that was my own creative outlet. I also loved the idea of being my own boss, and of creating a boutique atmosphere that I had not yet encountered — namely one that was fun, encouraging, “girlfriendy,” and a little inappropriate at times.

How do you select what you want to carry?
My assistant buyer Bri and I are always searching out the upcoming looks and trends that will work for our Nor Cal ladies. In addition to our consistent lines that continually prove themselves with amazing fit and great quality, we are constantly seeking new, fresh styles and designers. One of the things that sets Viva Diva apart from other boutiques in our area is that we are constantly scouring the markets for lines that offer the best quality contemporary styles with the biggest bang for their buck. This gives Viva Diva a great balance of high quality and hot trends. Our customers can find special and unique pieces that will work for their budgets. We get new deliveries nearly every day, which keeps Viva Diva always fresh and always changing. Our customers know that they can find new treasures each week.

Bri Lindemulder showing off some hot Viva Diva style.

What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I have a great family and love to spend time with them. My husband and I have twin 10-year-old girls, or “pre-fashionistas” as I call them. We are a family of sun-worshippers, and try to spend time outdoors whenever possible

Lauren Wiley (sales associate), Amy Anderson (owner/buyer), Bri Lindemulder (manager/assistant buyer)

What inspires you?
I am inspired by starlets and rock stars from the ’60s, ’70s, and ’80s.  I love the carefree, beachy style of Brigitte Bardot, the feminine-hippie vibe of Stevie Nicks, and the rocker sexiness of Pat Benatar.

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