Boutique trucks deliver fashion on the fly 

La Boutique Fashion Truck and Bleue Boutique travel in style.

The truck once belonged to NASA, but now it’s hot pink. Who knows what it used to haul — astronauts, moon rocks, aliens perhaps — but now it carries fashion accessories.

And La Boutique Fashion Truck is wheeling its way toward becoming a local gem.

When it arrives, you’ll feel like you’ve arrived, too, as the pink carpet is rolled out along with velvet ropes to welcome you. Step right up and enter La Boutique Fashion Truck’s private parlor-style atmosphere with vertical-striped velvet wallpaper, an oversized mirror, a chandelier, see-through cases with crystal pulls, built-in black lacquer displays, and a seating area.

Before boarding the truck, it’s fun to watch people’s reactions to it. During my visit, drivers slowed their cars while passing by. Pedestrians did double takes and one pair of women hopped on spontaneously for a peek at the goods. I hardly made it past the entryway, where two glittery, acrylic clutches — one with emerald green flecks and the other with amber — clutched my attention. Then earrings, then a drawer full of necklaces and oh, what’s this hanging over here? Printed scarves.

From jewelry of all sorts to hats, belts and rain boots, the accessories range in price from $10-$300. The best part is that owner Kelly Malatin stocks only one (sometimes two, but I champion the exclusivity of only one) of each piece. “La Boutique showcases jewelry designers from all over the world, making for a cultured shopping experience,” Kelly says.  

A recent collaboration with the Children’s Cancer Center led her to add fascinators and hats by local milliner Monstruosite by Dolly Donshey.

“She puts so much of herself into each piece and you can feel it as soon as you put it on,” Kelly says of Dolly and the hats. “Her creativity is refreshing and her style is trendsetting in so many ways. She has definitely brought back the art of wearing hats!”

Kelly also carries Nicholas King, a designer from London who uses Lucite and colorful patterns in his jewelry, and a new line by Allison Daniels. “Her style is edgy and bold.”

So far, La Boutique Fashion Truck has shown up at the Mayor’s Food Truck Fiesta (Wednesdays at Lykes Gaslight Square Park in Tampa) and at various charity events. It’s also available for private shopping parties. The best way to track its movements is to follow the truck on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. “Any time there is an event I post the location and times so the public is sure to know where we will pop up next!”

Bleue Boutique is on the move, too, only differently. Each month, Bleue hosts pop-up shops at various Bay area locations with its signature trailer hauling roughly 2,000 pieces of merchandise to each event. Pop-up shops last four hours, and in between monthly events fans can shop “flash sales” on the boutique’s Facebook page every Monday and Tuesday at 9 p.m., or make purchases straight off the website any day of the week.

“Bleue fashion is for the woman who lives in the real world but still appreciates glamorous moments,” says Tiffany Hausdorf and Jenna Walker, the “Belles” behind Bleue Boutique. With price points ranging from $30-$60, they say Bleue fashions represent practical translations of on-trend styles.

Customers are affectionately referred to as “Bleue Belles,” or “Belles” for short, and will find lots of prints, lots of pastels and maxi dresses.

The next shopping event will pop up at Chart House Tampa on the Courtney Campbell Causeway, February 18. “We were attracted to its great view and opportunity for our Belles to socialize on the terrace overlooking the bay,” they say. March 18, Bleue Boutique returns to Nova 535 in St. Petersburg. “We held our first event there. Clients loved mingling at the bar and the swanky décor.”

Fashion on the fly is one of the coolest trends to hit the Tampa Bay area. It takes the idea of shopping locally in a new direction, and if the mobile fashion movement gains traction, we will surely jump on board in style.

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