Gail Rothwell is bringing her version of Fashion’s Night Out to the Hamptons on August 8 with Shop at Sunset. The third annual charitable shopping initiative will take place in East Hampton, Sag Harbor, and Bridgehampton as retailers join forces to raise funds for the Retreat, the only nonprofit domestic violence agency serving the East End of Long Island. Taking place from 5-8 p.m., Shop at Sunset will include trunk shows, music, special offers and refreshments. Rothwell tells us more about this event and her famed namesake East End boutique.
It’s been almost a decade since you left your position as president of Nine West. Do you ever look back with any regrets?
I enjoyed my time at Nine West. I was there in the beginning, about 10 years, when the founders, Vince Camuto and Jerome Fisher, were still very much involved; the company ran with a very entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve looked forward, but when I do reflect, I truly enjoyed those years!
What made you decide to move to the Hamptons permanently?
My move out east was a decision based on wanting a different quality of life. I’d traveled my whole career to work out of the city, as well as traveling on a plane throughout every month.
At one point did you first think about opening your boutique, and why East Hampton?
I was living here 6 months when I realized I wanted to do something so I decided that I would open the shop to create a place that reflected my own aesthetic.
Who is your target demographic?
My target demographic is a woman with her own sense of style. She enjoys adding new pieces by season, which updates and enhances her wardrobe.
How do you go about finding the brands you stock in your boutique?
I shop the market in both New York and Europe and I look at Style.com.
What do you think are Hampton essentials that every woman should own for Fall?
Some must haves are The Row leather pant with an ankle zip and their leather jacket, Celine short shearling reversible jacket, and Jason Wu sleeveless black dress with a red stripe down the center.
What do you wear day to day?
Every day I wear black slacks, a new seasonal tops, a blazer, and my everyday jewelry is Antonia Miletto hand carved ebony and 18k white gold, Shawn Warren drop pear shaped black diamond earrings, and Janis Provisor semiprecious stone necklaces and earrings.
How does your day-to-day life compare now to when you were at Nine West?
It took a while to get used to not having the team that I was used to sharing business and life with! I am fortunate that Kate Horan from East Hampton joined me about four years ago so instead of 20 people it’s Kate and I! I laugh some days when it’s really busy…it gets the adrenaline moving.
What are some of the biggest challenges when it comes to running a store in the Hamptons?
It’s an everyday business from Memorial Day through Labor Day; then it is a Thursday through Monday business through December 15 after that strictly Saturday and Sunday, but the biggest challenge is the unpredictable weather!
How did you come up with the idea for Annual Shop At Sunset?
What better way to get a woman out shopping than for a cause! It’s a take-off of Fashions Night Out. This is the third year for East Hampton, the second for Sag Harbor and this year we have been able to get Bridgehampton involved as well. The shops stay open late and some donate a percentage of the evening’s net proceeds to The Retreat. We offer in-store raffles, light bites, and fun!
This year, thanks to East Hampton’s Mayor Frank F. Rickenbach Jr., we have additional excitement—for the first time in Herrick Park in East Hampton at 8:30pm we are showing ET under the stars on a 30-foot screen all participants and donors will be advertised on the big screen! It’s a wonderful way to bring family together for a night on the lawn with snacks and beverage.
Can you tell us about some of the retailers that will be participating this year and about the happenings we can expect?
The best way to tell the businesses that are participating is to look for the orange and bright blue “Shop at Sunset” posters in the windows.