TURNING A NEW PAIGE

As a little girl growing up in Southern California, Paige Adams-Gellar refused to wear pants, let alone denim. Even when her family moved to Wasilla, Alaska, she couldn’t bring herself to sport the pegged jeans with zipper bottoms that were so popular with her high school peers.

But after her foray into modeling, and a bout with anorexia in her 20s, she discovered she and jeans were a perfect “fit.”

“I became a fit model,” says Adams-Gellar of one of the only modeling niches that employs size 6 and 8 models. “Denim designers liked to work off my body because my proportions worked on masses of bodies.”

To say she finally got over her intolerance for denim would be an understatement. Today she’s the owner and designer of Paige premium denim and has just opened a boutique at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian.

On this Wednesday morning she walks around the store for the first time in a pair of sky-high Marni platforms and marvels over the final product. Wood floors, stainless steel shelves, a wide-screen TV dedicated to nothing but Paige (the person and the brand) and of course stacks and racks of denim fill the store. Her first storefront outside Los Angeles is no longer just a blueprint and a “vision.”

While Adams-Gellar absorbs the physical evidence of her brand’s expansion, customers do the same. It’s shortly after 10 a.m., but shoppers have found their way into the new store and its fitting rooms.

It didn’t take long for the public, and celebrities, to decide Paige was the next big thing in denim. She has trouble deciding which makes her happier, seeing Jane Doe in a pair of her jeans or opening a magazine and seeing Nicole Richie in them. She settles on Jane Doe.

“I know how hard it is for women to find a pair of jeans they feel good in,” she says. “The best thing for me is putting a woman in jeans and watching her transform. That is the fuel that keeps me going.”

That said, her list of famous fans is more a matter of who isn’t among them. Angelina Jolie, Ellen Degeneres, Salma Hayek, Lindsay Lohan, Jessica Alba, Goldie Hawn, Eva Longoria and many, many more have pulled on a pair of Paige jeans since the brand’s debut three years ago.

Although the premium denim craze among the mainstream has dwindled and the economy continues to do the same, Adams-Gellar doesn’t expect an impact on her line.

She notes that premium denim only represents about 3 percent of the entire denim industry. Devout followers won’t let trends get in the way of their passion. As far as the economy goes, the designs have taken a classic focus to garner more mileage.

She also has the Paige Black Label to rely on for renewed interest in the brand. As the name implies, most of the collection comes in fall’s “it” color, black. The same sex appeal the denim is know for is present, but there’s also an edge to it.

Adams-Gellar describes it as very Angelina Jolie, complete with the little black dresses and motorcycle jackets of which the actress is so fond. Most of the pieces fall in the $200 range with the exception of a few items, including a pair of black leather pants for $595.

For Adams-Gellar, the Paige Black Label brings her brand full circle. “Now you can do California casual chic by day,” she says, “and Hollywood glamour by night.”

Paige is located at the Grand Canal Shoppes at The Venetian, Suite No. 2255, 784-0633.

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