Claudia Grau has been a creative force in Los Angeles for more than 30 years. In the late 70’s at age 21, she ventured into the fashion world by starting her company, Gräu Design. In 1980 she opened her first store on then-sleepy Melrose Avenue (with only 8 stores from Doheny to Highland), and was one of the pioneering designers that made Melrose famous for fashion. Her shop was an instant success with celebrities and stylists. As an early pioneer in deconstruction and collaged clothing, Ms. Grau was named an LA mover and shaker at the early age of 24. Grau was the first designer to use “green” reused, recycled clothing, and she continues to use primarily recycled clothing to this day. Grau produces free-cut garments (most without the use of patterns) that are hand-died and hand-sewn.
Her distinctive one-of-a-kind work has been designed for characters on TV shows, commercials, and movies. Grau designed for Cher, Diane Keaton, Bette Midler, and provided clothing for Heathers and other films. She has opened up more than 300 wholesale accounts and sold her signature Japanese Kimono Jackets to many major department stores. Her Melrose store, with its curved wood walls and cracked tile façade, was featured in many magazines.
In 1994 after the birth of her second child, Claudia closed her shop on Melrose. In 1996 she opened a studio in the beautiful Crossroads of the World complex. For the last 14 years Gräu has been an appointment-only location for Claudia’s many fashion clients that include Matt Groening (Simpsons), Barbara DiSantis (Borat) and Larry Charles. She continued to participate in Artisan craft shows with her innovative work while raising her family with her husband of 21 years.
Ms. Grau’s bold, up-cycled, collage clothing and eclectic designs offer “adventurous clothing for fearless women.” Always upbeat and inspirational, Claudia Grau doesn’t follow a master plan, but an adventure – following serendipity, taking the next inspired action that seemed the right thing to do. Her studio needed more space and a friend observed that her new storage space in the Crossroads would make a great store. With three children almost raised, she saw the idea unfold into reality.
The unique collections of hand-made crafters and fellow artisans will be offered in The Gräu Haus, Gräu and The Small Gräu Haus. The stores will offer salon-type intimacy with small craft dinners and evenings of spoken word by people of interest in LA. Expect happenings and pop-up stores that feature new works and collections of hand-made or “carefully collected” works of inspiration. “I want to create an environment more than a store, where things change regularly.” Ms. Grau is looking to create a gallery setting for collectibles and hand-crafted work that will change frequently, one month a bookstore, another month a men’s store, etc.
The Gräu Häus creates a shopping adventure. Customers can expect to be surprised with what they find.
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