Some time in the next month or so, you can find fashion designer Cigi Guz working in a clandestine location near Plaza Midwood. At this point, her 400-square-foot space is still a work in progress — Guz mentions good-humoredly having to paint by the light of a lamp plugged into the wall, as the overhead fluorescent bulbs all needed to be replaced.
OK, maybe the Value Village on Central Avenue isn't that obscure, but Guz's "speakeasy boutique" V.Vill will open at the back of the thrift store, in what used to be the Duke Power Payment Center. Here she will work to bring new life to clothing, offering pieces that she has pulled from the Value Village racks, some reworked and some left as is. Her signature will come with her styling and tailoring services. If you want to update a piece by changing out buttons or taking up the length of a dress, she'll do that.
Guz, creater of the Flock Apparel — "a line that embodied everybody, like all shapes, sizes, every walk of life" — says this next stage of her business is "grown-up Flock. It's a little more edgy, a little more high fashion, and I'm staying true to my roots, being thrifty and photographing all types of people."
Creative Loafing: What needs to happen next for you to open this space?
Cigi Guz: I need a certain number that I've been praying for. Once I get that amount [of money], I'm going to finish painting, buy all the fixtures I need, do some general contracting work. In a perfect world, if things went my way, the store would be open right after Fashion's Night Out [she'll be showing at the FNO at Metropolitan on Sept. 8], so I can strike while the iron's hot.
What do you envision the space to look like?
I really want it to be a very neutral space, that's neither masculine nor feminine but will feel like someone's cool house. Something that feels like a store but also a creative work space. I want my sewing machine to be out. I really like Billy Reid — he's one of my favorite designers. Billy Reid offers this Southern feel to his stores, so when you walk in, you feel like you're in someone's house. There'll be tables with serving bowls, shoes in the bowls. Just really clever merchandising. I just want to bring in those elements, merchandising the store so it's unexpected.
What kind of looks will be available in V.Vill?
Here'll you have the crème de la crème of Charlotte thrift. I'm pulling Christian Dior, I'm pulling Oscar de la Renta, I'm pulling some of the coolest fabrics that they don't make anymore. I can find cool things and show people the beauty in it, that people overlook. Going into thrift stores can be daunting, and I'll do it for you.