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FABULOUS AT 50

Landmark La Jolla retail shop Sigi’s Boutique celebrates half a century

BY CHRISTINA ORLOVSKY PAGE | PHOTOS BY NOUSHIN NOURIZADEH

STROLL DOWN GIRARD AVENUE in La Jolla Village and you’ll find yourself among a wide variety of shops, old and new. While trends come and go and businesses shutter and rise, one retail landmark has stood the test of time. Sigi’s Boutique, a purveyor of upscale European fashion, has been a Village mainstay since 1968. Now celebrating half a century of styling the La Jolla community, the store has firmly established itself in San Diego’s fashion landscape. 

Founded by European dressmaker Ann Peters, Sigi’s Boutique began by selling strictly bikinis. Today, items range from classic staples to luxury designs—with accessories, stationery, gifts and lifestyle products mixed in for good measure. There are even products for pets and the people who love them.

When now-owner Phyllis Lanphier got into the business in the late 1970s as a friend of the owner’s daughter, Mary Ann Brown, she learned the business and liked it, but never anticipated owning it one day herself. Still, in 1990, when Peters was ready to retire, Lanphier jumped at the opportunity.

“My favorite part of owning the boutique has always been the
creative, artistic part,” she says. “I enjoy expressing my creativity through the displays, the windows, the product packaging and presentation. Aesthetics truly are part of the store. Whether it’s a $10 item or a $5,000 item, the presentation pays respect to the merchandise.”

When asked what it is about Sigi’s Boutique that has contributed to its long-term success, Lanphier credits the store’s transformational shift to casual elegance.

“Lifestyle has changed over the decades. It’s a globally more casual world—yoga pants can be worn everywhere! By shifting the store to casual—yet high-end casual—we give the customers what they want to wear,” she says.

“I don’t look at luxury as excess. I look at it as excellence that sustains itself,” she continues. “I believe in a total foundation of fine basics—a beautiful blouse, a cashmere sweater. That’s the backbone of luxury. Add to that a fashion-forward European color palette and you follow trends without getting caught up in the clutter. As the world gets more cluttered, I’m focusing on going cleaner and simpler.”

Perhaps the greatest key to Sigi’s success is the staff and the store’s connection to the community. Two sales associates have been with the store for more than 30 years, and the store today serves the children and grandchildren of loyal shoppers from its early days.

“We are so fortunate to have a local community that supports us,” Lanphier concludes. “Tourists do not make our business—they are the icing on the cake. It’s our connection to the La Jolla community that sustains us, and we are so appreciative.”

Carla & Phyllis
Carla & Phyllis
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IMG_7809_RV1_1200

STOP BY AND SAY HELLO! Sigi’s Boutique, 7888 Girard Avenue, La Jolla 858.454.7244 sigislajolla.com