Although Elyse Walker Men opened on Antioch Street in September, the owner postponed her official opening party until last Friday evening, when invited guests, residents and local business people celebrated in the new store from 6 to 9 p.m. ’Originally our party was supposed to be in October and then the market crashed,’ said Elyse Walker, who owns three other clothing stores and a shoe store on Antioch Avenue. ‘Although the market continues to crash, we decided to have a party anyway.’ While guests enjoyed beverages, appetizers and sweets, Walker acknowledged that the current business climate is hardly optimal. ‘It is hard; nothing is easy right now,’ she said. ‘Guys are not huge shoppers in a recession. It’s all a matter of how hard do you want to work.’ Jeweler Peter Norman, who opened his new store on the corner of Antioch and Sunset last October, said that business has been decent: ‘I’m not unhappy, because it’s such a great area.’ As a party favor, guests were given a cashmere blanket from B. Chyll, designed by Palisades resident Leslie Gifford, who started the popular sweater line in the fall of 2007. ‘It’s locals helping locals,’ said publist/event director Tori Springer, who was happy with the large turnout. ‘We all need something to celebrate in these times.’ ’I was working here earlier,’ said Ramis Sadrieh, owner of Technology for You, who does computer-related support for the stores. ‘I stopped by to congratulate Elyse and [her husband David].’ Daniel Sapozhnikov, owner of Ogden Cleaners on Sunset, who does the tailoring for the new store, also stopped by and praised Walker. Walker’s employees all wore chic black dresses and the latest fashion from her shoe store, five-inch heels. ‘We like to dress up,’ said men’s store manager Cameron Cohen, ‘but it’s hard to run around in five-inche heels all day.’ One of the celebrity guests was Palisadian Giada De Laurentiis, host of three Food Network shows (‘Everyday Italian,’ ‘Weekend Getaways,’ and ‘Giada at Home,’ a contributing correspondent on NBC’s ‘Today Show’ and author of the best-selling book ‘Everyday Italian.’ She said she met Walker through The Pink Party, an annual event that Walker started in 2004 to raise money for the Women’s Cancer Research Institute at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. ’My brother died of cancer and I’ve worked on the Party with Elyse,’ De Laurentiis said. ‘It’s been rewarding working with her.’ Chayim Frenkel, the Cantor at Kehillat Israel, offered his explanation for the continued popularity of Walker’s five stores, the first of which opened in 1999. ’Elyse and her husband are so philanthropic and giving. That’s why the store gives off the aura it does,’ Frenkel said. ‘It’s not just about the bottom line, it’s ‘What can I do to give back to the community?”
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