Fashion is in Elisa Bruley’s DNA. As a child, she raided her mother’s closet and played dress-up. On Halloween, she'd wear her mom’s clothes, jewelry and make-up and go trick-or-treating as “a lady.”
A California native, Elisa spent her formative years at the huge Del Amo Mall. She and her two best friends hunted for the newest and coolest goods while dreaming of opening their own shop one day.
Elisa also power shopped with her mother. The duo would hit the month-end sales at Robinson’s, Bullock’s, May Company and other revered department stores, and if Mrs. Bruley couldn’t find what she wanted for the right price, she went home and pulled out her trusty sewing machine.
“My mom was an incredible seamstress. She could examine a dress or suit in a store, then recreate it at home. She sewed for me, too. I had some incredible Easter dresses!,” says Elisa. “She was also a great cook and pianist, and she had a knack for making everything look, taste and sound absolutely perfect.”
Still, Mrs. Bruley’s baby girl didn’t make a beeline for a fashion career. She studied theatre, dance and art history before pounding the pavement as an actress and ultimately landing a office job at the Los Angeles Philharmonic. In 1988, she went on to work for an entertainment public relations agency, where her clients included Le Cirque du Soleil, the Pasadena Playhouse and the Los Angeles Festival.
Along the way, she began to wonder why she had to go to New York or Beverly Hills to find clothes she liked. She revisited her teenage dream and reclaimed her passion, and Elisa B. was born.
After buying merchandise for her store for 20+ years, Elisa continues to trust her gut. Does she like it? Would she wear it? Does she really, really want it? Then she thinks about specific customers and how they would look in the pieces she’s buying.
“I really respond to color and what looks best on a multitude of skin tones. I look for excellence in fit, construction and fabrication. For the most part, though, I try to stay true to my sensibilities and just trust my instinct." These days, Elisa turns to Instagram for an endless stream of ideas and inspiration.