Ray Mitchener looks over plans for his new store.
Ray Mitchener looks over plans for his new store.

Changes are coming to the Village of Cross Keys, with the opening of a new boutique, The Girl Next Door, this weekend. The new store is the brainchild of Ray Mitchener, owner of the luxury fashion shop Ruth Shaw. The Girl Next Door aesthetic is casual and fun and, like Ruth Shaw, the shop will carry high quality, well-designed brands.

On the 5th of December, the shop will host an official grand opening open house, featuring Helmut Lang and Lema J jewelry. “It’ll be an all-day thing and some of the proceeds of sales that day will go to Karma for Cara, an organization that is special to me.”

Karma for Cara, which promotes youth volunteerism and engagement, was founded for Cara Becker, a young woman who passed away from leukemia in 2012. Cara’s mother, Jill Becker, was Mitchener’s first customer at Ruth Shaw.

We chatted with Mitchener about what shoppers should expect from The Girl Next Door, from t-shirts to bags.

What is the story behind The Girl Next Door?

It seems to be a trend around the country, with stores of my type – designer – doing a lifestyle store as well. The Girl Next Door is for that girl who is always in jeans or leggings and just wants a quick pick me up. The aesthetics are still simple – it’s about you, not the clothes – but less expensive than Ruth Shaw.

It’ll be things like going-out tops and a lot of contemporary lines. For me, it’s like Garanimals. You can buy a piece and add to it. It’s constantly evolving and you can get a weekly fix. You can buy a top, then a t-shirt, then shorts.

When I met with the store’s architect, Charlie Chiampou (of cW Design/Build), I told him I wanted an ugly space with beautiful things. Rustic and messy with beautiful furniture and great clothes. He has amazing talent. He’s making four steel tables and the desk is a “G” for “girl.” People say you have to go to New York to get a designer. You don’t! There’s amazing talent here!

What is your favorite thing you’ll be carrying in the shop?

I love IRO, a brand out of Paris. I’ve been looking at it for a long time. They do great t-shirts and did the most amazing baby blue leather moto jacket.

What is your go-to holiday gift recommendation?

We have amazing gifts. Maureen [Gold, of Ruth Shaw] is the accessories buyer for the store. We have bags that are like Kelly bags but made from neoprene. They’re only about $110 and come in great colors. So many people have lost the fantasy and fun of fashion. It evolves and we have to evolve with it!

What style icon or celebrity could you imagine shopping at The Girl Next Door?

She would be a blend of a couple celebrities. Quirky like Katy Perry, beautiful like Blake Lively, wanting to stand out like Rooney Mara and stylish like Taylor Swift. They all have a different aesthetic.

What will be new and exciting at The Girl Next Door?

It’s stripped down luxe. Beautiful cashmeres and lifestyle-oriented clothes, like fun print t-shirts with sayings on them. I think things like that are amusing. Fun shoes, bathing suits, bags. It’s a little bit of everything for everyone.

The Girl Next Door is located at 69 Village Square in the Village of Cross Keys in Baltimore. For more information, visit www.villageofcrosskeys.com.

Kit Waskom Pollard is a Baltimore Fishbowl contributing writer. She writes Hot Plate every Friday in the Baltimore Fishbowl.