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Meet a Force of Nature in Fashion

Bay Area native Erica Tanov is the owner of three boutiques in Berkeley, Larkspur and Los Angeles

Mention the words “fashion” and “textiles” in a continuous sentence in the Bay Area, and a single name tops the list: Erica Tanov. On a shoestring budget of her own savings in 1990, the designer began working on seamed slips and chemises with antique buttons inspired by her collection of vintage flea market treasures, and caught the attention of Barneys and boutiques in SoHo. From there, her collection morphed into an entire ready-to-wear line complete with lingerie. “Since I was a child, I’ve loved decorating and rearranging my bedroom and my apartment, and collecting and creating beautiful spaces with what I’ve found,” recalls Tanov, who opened her first Berkeley store in 1994. “When I moved back to California after being in New York for nine years, I knew I wanted to open a store, a place to showcase my clothing collection, creating a full experience for friends and customers.”

The tastemaker has since expanded her fashion repertoire with home goods including wallpaper, metal tile, and bedding; a book, Design by Nature; and a newly launched perfume. “Who doesn’t want their own fragrance?” asks Tanov, who worked alongside a Los Angeles perfumer to extract the perfect blend of her favorite fragrances and essential oils. “I knew I’d want it to be all natural, something subtle, fresh, comforting, and a modern fragrance.”

Marin boutique

For Tanov, nature is a common thread woven through her designs from her boho-meets-glam wallpaper collection “Botanicus,” evocative of 1900s botanical drawings and the spirit of the grand forts of India; and a clothing line, Nature Studies, a collaboration with local artists Jessica Abbott Williams, Emily Payne, and Dharma Strasser MacColl, and comprised of non-toxic, screen-printed  silk belted dresses, caftans and  portrait blouses in three patterns.

As for what’s next up, she’s already  got that covered. “I’m sure more collaborations are on the horizon, and I’ve loved collaborating with artists, working with their artwork to create original prints,” explains Tanov, busy expanding her Shimmer tile collection with Clé Tile and transforming her design studio open to the public this year. “And, the possibility of a new store always exists. The right place and space has to present itself, but I do have a passion for creating meaningful environments, so whether it’s a new Erica Tanov store, or a beautiful space for someone else, I know I’ll be working on interior projects.”