Editor’s note: From now through Christmas, we’ll be checking in at various Menlo Park merchants to get gift ideas, with an eye to shopping locally.
We stopped in to talk with Malika, proprietor of Gitane, a clothing store in downtown Menlo Park, to ask her how she’d guide a husband shopping for a wife’s Christmas present. She reminded us that he’d have choices for both mother and daughter. “That’s our concept,” she said. “I stock clothes a mother could wear as well as clothes her daughter could wear.”
Malika has been involved in the clothing business since her first job in the garment district in Paris. She came to the U.S. 30 years ago and was a long-time fixture at Leaf & Pedal in Palo Alto before opening Gitane, first at the Town and Country Shopping Center before moving to her Santa Cruz Ave location a year a half ago.
As for ideas for the husband shopping for his spouse, if she didn’t have his wife in her database — which would give an indication of her taste — she’d call on one of her employees to model some outfits based on his wife’s size. She also stocks a good selection of accessories — purses, scarves, jewelry — where size doesn’t matter.
Shoppers will find selections across a range of price points. “We use a lot of local designers who are not household names,” she said. “Not being brand conscious keeps our prices reasonable.”
Local also extends to the artists she showcases on the bright yellow walls of the shop.
Soon the mother/daughter concept will extend beyond her clothing selections. “My daughter is going to join me in the business!” she exclaimed.
Gitane is looted at 855 Santa Cruz Ave.; Malika has a second location on State Street in Los Altos.
Photos by Irene Searles