Lola’s is not for the faint of heart.
The Cambridge boutique run by Quincy native Nicole Lyons is curated for shoppers who want to make a statement with a blend of vintage, handmade, and designer clothing.
Lyons is a designer and stylist by trade (and merchant by blood, she notes), working on her creations ever since she was a child, piecing together looks on Barbie dolls. The University of Massachusetts Boston graduate majored in theater and later became the resident costume designer for the department, which led to her interest in collecting vintage clothing and accessories.
Since 2007, Lyons has overseen Lola’s many transformations, from her first store in Allston to a hot pink Lola’s mobile to selling online to a brick-and-mortar location, now on Mass. Ave. In its current iteration, Lola’s is connected to a medical marijuana dispensary, Revolutionary Clinics, after being granted the space by the Central Square Business Improvement District.
The space is small but vibrant: Colorful art hangs on the walls, masks dangle from the ceilings, a Jean-Michel Basquiat Barbie sits on a high shelf. Clothing racks are stocked with ripped and painted denim, camo green matching sets, and flared pattern tops; some she made, others she curated.
Lyons says her style is inspired by anything she encounters — from graffiti to Tokyo street style to her first love, fashion history.
“If it’s something that doesn’t get me excited, I’m not gonna work with it,” Lyons said of her hand-selected goods.
For Lyons, there is never a style or fashion choice that she considers too “out there” for her work. She abides by the mantra that if she likes her products, her customers will, too. Lyons works intimately with clients who shop her store, tweaking and styling items to find balance and personality in each custom look.
“A lot of my customers are performers: drag queens, dancers, singers, so I kind of lean towards that. They know if they come in and want to get styled by me, then I’m not going to put them in something safe,” Lyons said. (For Lyons, “safe” means boring.)
Though Lyons’s designs have been featured in Vogue Italia and spotted on her client R&B singer Erykah Badu’s Instagram, she says she feels most at home at Lola’s.
“I don’t have to be like a stylist for Vogue or a designer on Broadway because this is where I live,” Lyons said.
Riana Buchman can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.