About

Our Online Store (avamaria.myshopify.com) is now open!

"Wait!  Wait!  I have to take a look at those shoes!"

No wonder. At AvaMaria, you can get new red-soled shoes starting at $380. Premier designer new merchandise from previous seasons are marked down significantly. At the next wedding you attend this summer, when you can't dance any more in those sexy but teetering patent strappy sandals, you can switch into the soft-as-butter French ballet flats that you bought at 40% off.

"We have some of the leading designer brands, but we also have smaller brands who make delectable shoes that retail for around $100”, says owner Katherine Virketiene. It's therefore no surprise that women with purple AvaMaria bags have been seen walking around Soho since the boutique soft-opened on Crosby Street three weeks ago.

AvaMaria fits the Crosby Street profile of being a destination shopping location, where locals and tourists who want to avoid the Broadway chain stores come for specialized items. While maintaining the low key and feminine atmosphere of its predecessor, Elizabeth 260, AvaMaria has a sharper focus.

The spotlight is on local emerging designers. "I know them and their design aesthetic. I understand how the clothing and jewelry fits physically and emotionally", adds the owner. Marie-Lise LaChapelle's gold-dipped orchid jewelry, Chulette's softly constructed dresses, J. Davis Studio's  cute-as-cute-can-be Little House rings, Dasgupta's luxurious concoctions for curvy figures and Hemma's regal Kente cloth sharp suiting represent different facets of the busy working woman.

And for the environmentally conscious?  All these designers work locally and all merchandise is produced in New York City.  "We have jewelry designers who have been successful in editorials and online who cherish a physical display space and interaction with customers, and we have industry insiders starting their own line this season who desire an intimate location to showcase their designs", explains Katherine. You might have only seen these designers in blogs, but their designs look right at home next to the established brands.

About the Owner

  Even before Dancing with the Stars, Katherine Virketiene was a competitive ballroom dancer.  After creating costumes for herself, she provided university ballroom dancers with stylish and inexpensive alternatives.  After all, why should one have to pay $3000 for a rhinestone-and-feather exercise garment that can't even be cleaned?  In the decade since, her dance costumes have been sold to six continents and featured in network television and film.

  In 2007, Katherine opened Elizabeth 260 in the Lower East Side. In addition to her own ready-to-wear line, Virketyne, the cozy boutique carried vintage clothing, local emerging designers and discount premier designer merchandise.  "That's what we want in our wardrobes," Katherine enthuses, "limited production quantity, moderate prices, good quality, great style."

  With a timely end of the store lease, Virketiene took an extended maternity leave.  The new boutique, AvaMaria, is partly named after her child.