All the NBA players have their own tailors, says Masha Kirilenko, so even a triple-XL guy, a guy who's 6-foot-9 and has arms as long as shovels, can find a suit. But jeans and casual jackets? That's where a really tall guy can run into problems.
Masha, wife of Utah Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, is hoping her new boutique, which opens today at The Gateway, will be a sartorial refuge for NBA players. Mostly, though, she will cater to the not-so-tall male and female shoppers looking for what she describes as "rock 'n' roll meets Hollywood style clothing."
The shorter of the two Kirilenkos is hoping to satisfy the Utah shoppers she says currently travel to Las Vegas and Los Angeles looking for hip clothes. On Monday afternoon, as painters finished up the showroom and employees steamed wrinkles out of blouses, Masha's collection included flip-flops, T-shirts and baseball hats decorated with both skulls and Swarovski crystals.
Raised in Moscow and educated in England, Masha has shopped all over the world, and her own personal favorite store is Harrods in London. On the other hand, she says she is also "addicted to Target." By her reckoning, Salt Lake City has only three hip clothing stores.
"This is a very conservative state, and maybe they think everyone will be fine with J. Crew," she says. "But I want to bring a breath of fresh air to Salt Lake City." The lines she will sell Life & Death, China Wall, Charlotte Solnicki are "what the regular celebrity would wear." Prices will range from $40 to $2,500.
Big-and-tall merchandise will only account for about 15 percent of her stock. But she has also arranged with certain clothing manufacturers to provide custom orders for really tall people.
She named the boutique Fleur de Lis because it was the symbol for French royalty, she says. But on Monday, as she surveyed her new store, she wondered if she'd made a mistake. "I should have named it 'Soft,"' she said wistfully. "That's a very cute name."
Masha dismisses speculation by one journalist earlier this year that she can't wait to get out of Salt Lake City: "That was the weirdest thing I ever heard." She thinks of Utah as a perfect place to raise a family, she says, and she loves her son's school. "If probably I was stuck here and could never travel, maybe it would be a little overwhelming," she admits.
Before marrying Andrei and moving to Utah in 2001, Masha owned a company that did sports and entertainment marketing, and was once tour manager for the Russian group Boy Band. She has a degree in linguistics and a master's in art, and in 2002 had a hit Russian music video called "Sugary." She plans to re-release the CD in the United States and to sell it in her new store.