Wendy Foster is a woman inspired by fashion and beauty, a passion that has driven her to create four of her own specialty clothing boutiques. Her boutiques’ eclectic styles offer Santa Barbara residents an array of luxury items from daytime to evening wear.
For a woman who frequents the fashion capitals New York and Paris, as well as many other countries around the world, one would never guess that Foster, in fact, went through a “real struggle” pursuing what is now her life’s work. Foster went into the business of selling graphics after graduating college, yet she never disregarded her interest in jewelry and clothes. “I would go to stores and just look,” Foster said.
After traveling on her own for 10 years, Foster met up with Pierre LaFond, a man who she said changed her life. They worked together to start the boutiques in 1977, and later expanded their business ventures to a wide range of trades including furnishings, home accessories, cafes and wineries.
Tucked away in quaint Montecito is one of Foster’s four boutiques, simply named Wendy Foster. This store carries a variety of luxury items such as evening wear, classics and original pieces. Located around the corner is Sportswear, which carries casual wear from Michael Stars tops to Frye boots. Also in Montecito is Angel, a store geared toward more current trends and carries a variety of labels such as Juicy Couture. Finally, State Street’s Wendy Foster targets college women; carrying party dresses and beachwear, along with modern tanks and classic jeans like Seven For All Mankind and Citizens of Humanity. All of the boutiques have a great, cutting edge selection in addition to amazing jewelry.
Foster’s main objective is keeping in step with trends as well as adding a unique array of avant-garde styles to the mix. When asked if the clientele has changed at all since first opening, Foster responded, “The customers who shop here [still] want what’s new.”
Foster is not only concerned with providing high-end fashion to her shoppers, but also with presenting aesthetically pleasing displays. Her boutiques are carefully and artfully designed from the floral and art arrangements inside to the impressive window displays.
Foster greatly encourages students to pursue careers in fashion. She explains that the key to success is passion. “When it comes to fashion, if you have that passion and you are working hard, you get sucked into a vacuum and you love what you are doing.” She works closely with all of her staff, acting as a mentor to show them the ins and outs of the industry. At one time in Foster’s life, she was the buyer for all four of the distinctly diverse stores. She has now allocated the positions to other individuals within whom she sees a zest for the fashion industry. Currently she is the buyer for only Montecito’s Wendy Foster.
Foster is the heart and soul of her timeless boutiques, a strong woman who not only embodies the Santa Barbara dream of succeess through hard work, determination and enthusiasm, but also personifies Santa Barbara fashion. If you are in the mood for a cashmere cardigan, vintage bag, Tahitian pearls or just want to window shop you can satisfy your hunger at one of Wendy Foster’s boutiques.
Wendy Foster- 516 San Ysidro Rd., Montecito, CA 93108
Sportswear- 516 San Ysidro Rd., Montecito, CA 93108
Angel- 1221 Coast Village Rd., Montecito, CA 93108
State Street/ Wendy Foster- 833 State St., Santa Barbara, CA 93101