Mr. Larkin’s chic new boutique celebrates Danish and Houston style

More than a decade after launching her eponymous fashion label, Mr. Larkin, Copenhagen-based Casey Blond opened a boutique in her hometown of Houston. We met her recently.

Q: You recently opened your store on Bissonnet, where you offer your high-end ready-to-wear brands alongside designer brands that you also carry in your Copenhagen store. Why open a second location in Houston?

A: I was born and raised at West University, and my US e-commerce office and US warehouse have always been in Houston. My mum ran a little shop, The Lark, in Southampton for almost 20 years. With the way Houston has grown culturally over the past few years, it’s started to feel more and more like the right place to open our first US location. My mum (my business partner) and I have always said that if the Butera space (a now closed family grocery store) ever opened it was ‘a sign’ that we should open. When it happened, we immediately jumped on it. The space is so sentimental to me because as a child I used to go to Butera’s after school with friends who all lived in Southampton. The interior was raw and open like our store in Copenhagen, so it was just perfect!

Q: Tell us about the lines you chose to transfer from your store in Copenhagen that will speak to a shopper in Houston.

1926 Bissonet;

A: Houston offers a ton of shopping and designer options, but stores lack offerings from well-known “indie” brands. We have exclusives on several in the Houston area, such as Mara Hoffman, Jesse Kamm, our own brand Mr. Larkin, Julia Heuer, Maryam Nassir Zadeh and Caron Callahan.

Q: How do you select materials and fabrics for your Mr. Larkin (nickname of your maiden name, Casey Larkin) label?

A: We are more or less known as a clothing brand. We make a very limited amount of parts to keep our special styles. We focus deeply on sustainability when sourcing and using a significant amount of unused fabrics from top design houses, like Marni, Jil Sander and Carolina Herrera.

Q: What inspires you as a designer?

A: Inspiration comes from everywhere – from music, from movies, from art, from someone walking down the street. I travel a lot and am passionate about museums and galleries. So I’m very inspired by art, places and people, but the women in my life are probably my biggest inspiration. I like to observe how they dress and how or why they wear clothes. I apply much of this research to design. I think it’s always important to ask yourself what a piece of clothing will be used for when making something.

Q: In terms of silhouette, how does life in Copenhagen influence your clothes? How do customers in the two cities differ in how they dress?

A: In Copenhagen, we cycle everywhere, so clothes have to be more functional, and the climate is generally much colder than in Houston. The Danes are minimalist in every way. (The two customers differ), but a garment can tell many different stories, depending on how it’s styled and worn, so we work very hard to source and design versatile garments. Our e-commerce business is strong, so we always want to attract our customers outside of the two physical cities – for example, customers from New York, Los Angeles and the Bay Area for the US site and customers from Germany, UK and from the south. European customers for our EU site.

Q: What brought you to Copenhagen originally?

A: My husband is Danish and we met while I was here working with what was similar to the CFDA (Council of Fashion Designers of America) but in Denmark is called DAFI (Danish Fashion Institute). He’s also in the industry, so we’ve met at industry-related events. My favorite thing about life here is the safety and security of the country and the culture. And there’s nothing in the world like a summer in Copenhagen – it’s pure magic.

Q: Your Houston store carries the Austin-based Her New Tribe jewelry line. Other Texas labels?

A: We will be bringing Mirth for Spring-Summer 2023 to our Copenhagen store. I like to keep unique and hard to find brands in our stores. I want to support local Houston designers, so I think having them in our Copenhagen store makes it a bit more exotic or special.

Q: When you’re in Houston, what are your go-to places?

A: When I’m home, I basically eat all the comfort food I can get. I always have to have barbecue from Goode Company and Tex-Mex from Los Tios or El Patio (Felix’s queso). I usually go to every thrift store and estate sale possible to stock up on cheap vintage finds. My favorite bar for a drink is always Boheme. I always have to go to the Menil at least twice while I’m home and love taking my kids to Smither Park.

Q: Your favorite piece of clothing you’ve ever designed?

A: I have to go with our Penny May lace dress. It’s our signature piece and is named after my daughter.

Allison Bagley is a writer in Houston.

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