In Malibu Country Mart retail, women rule

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Before Labor Day launches retailers into fall season, midtown outlets are playing a hot round of storefront shuffle. Few thought fall had this much action in the cards. From established shopkeepers changing venues to first-timers on the local scene, retail players at the Country Mart are all women.

Gallery owner and novelist Lia Skidmore slides into the space vacated by Jackie Robbins’ Leather Waves, which has relocated next door to Tops. Skidmore Contemporary Art has shared space with jewelry designer Laura M since May of last year.

The gallery hosts an opening reception Aug. 28 for the exhibition, “DeLoss McGraw: Songs from Small Talk.” Last fall, Malibu school children were among those who delighted in McGraw’s whimsical show inspired by literary works, “As a Poem, So Is a Picture,” at Pepperdine’s Frederick R. Weisman Museum of Art.

Sisters Tisha Horner and Katy Wooler settled NANZ Beach and Ballet into the former Dancers Collection on Aug. 1. After working at NANZ Beachwear for five years, Horner bought the boutique from Nancy Kinney in 1992. The new NANZ brings together the best of both stores with casual sportswear, swim, workout and dance wear.

On Aug. 14, Baloons had its grand opening in the previous NANZ spot. Swiss-born Anna Marchesi, whose kids will attend Webster in September, hosted a fashion show of European designer clothing for infants to children’s size 14 on the lawn in John’s Garden.

Fine European lingerie and hosiery come to Malibu Sunday when Under G’s opens across from Taverna Tony’s. The salon, which caters to both young and full figures, got its start at the Beverly Connection in 1991 and soon expanded to Bedford Drive. Tel Aviv-born Galit Shashoua, who’s just 31, is the light behind all three locations.

Coco Plum expands its business from the Woodland Hills Promenade to the site of the former Fast Frame. Tammie Grant’s potpourri of women’s and children’s moderate-range clothing is scheduled to open Sept. 8. The kids’ line offers school, play and special occasion outfits for girls to size 10 and boys to size 7.

Beach Baby go bye-bye? Not exactly. The offspring of Room at the Beach returns to the womb, where its merchandise will be consolidated with the larger store’s baby gift and furnishings line.

In Beach Baby’s place, a welcome Giselle is expected in mid-October. Lori Innes and Carole Brown shone brightly on the Santa Monica Promenade with Illumine until July, when Shiseido bought them out. The women continue to run their Giselle boutique on Montana Avenue. According to Innes, the collection of day, dinner and evening dresses is “romantic, ethereal and funky.” Giselle also offers soft-suiting and a selection of items for children and the home.