Lola’s one-of-a-kind creations find their way to Central Square
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 mix of vintage, handmade and designer clothing.
Lyons is a designer and stylist by trade (and blood dealer, she notes), working on her designs since she was a child, recreating looks on Barbie dolls. The University of Massachusetts Boston graduate majored in theater and later became the department’s resident costume designer, which led to her interest in collecting vintage clothing and accessories.
Since 2007, Lyons has overseen Lola’s many transformations, from its first store in Allston, to a hot pink Lola mobile, to selling online in a physical store, now on Mass. Ave. In its current iteration, Lola’s is connected to a medical marijuana dispensary, Revolutionary Clinics, after securing space from the Central Square Business Improvement District.
The space is small but vibrant: colorful works of art hang on the walls, masks hang from the ceiling, a Jean-Michel Basquiat Barbie sits on a high shelf. Clothes racks are filled with ripped and painted denim, camo green matching sets and flared patterned tops; some she created, others she organized.
Lyons says her style is inspired by everything she encounters – from graffiti to Tokyo street style to her first love, fashion history.
“If it’s something that doesn’t excite me, I’m not going to work with it,” Lyons said of her hand-selected products.
For Lyons, there is never a choice of style or fashion that she considers too “out of the ordinary” for her work. She lives by the mantra that if she likes her products, her customers will too. Lyons works closely with customers who shop at her store, adjusting and styling items to find balance and personality in each custom look.
“A lot of my clients are artists: drag queens, dancers, singers, so I lean more towards that. They know that if they come and want their hair done by me, I’m not going to put them in something. sure,” Lyons said. (To Lyons, “safe” means boring.)
Although Lyons’ designs have been featured in Vogue Italy and spotted on her R&B singer client Erykah Badu’s Instagram, she says she feels most at home at Lola.
“I don’t have to be like a stylist for Vogue or a designer on Broadway because that’s where I live,” Lyons said.
Riana Buchman can be contacted at [email protected]