New Business in Vallejo

Vallejo’s Boutique Classique — retro fashion for the modern woman

There’s a lot that’s unusual about the personal and professional partnership between Beth “Serenity” Holzman and her husband, Joel Lawrence Holzman — and the fact that they think they must have known each other in a previous life is only part of it.

The married couple’s latest venture — Boutique Classique, a Modern Vintage Clothing Store at 1711 Sonoma Boulevard, near Georgia Street — opened for business Aug. 29.

The idea for the store grew out of the couple’s other operation, Joel Holzman’s glamor and pinup photography business, Serenity Lawrence Studios, LLC, in the Glen Cove Marina area, they said.

A former Hollywood celebrity photographer, Joel Holzman, 68, moved his studio north after going back to school, earning a masters degree and joining the Peace Corps. The couple met in Berkeley during a photo shoot, they said.

“This is a little spin-off of that,” Serenity Holzman said. “Specializing in pinup and glamor, we find that (the necessary) clothes aren’t automatically in everyone’s closet.”

Now, it can be.

Boutique Classique carries fashions inspired by those of the 1920s through the 1950s — decades close to the couple’s hearts.

“It’s my love — I’ve always been a ’30s and ’40s sort-of person,” Serenity Holzman, 30, said. “It’s a passion of mine.”

Her husband, on the other hand, describes himself as a “’40s guy.”

“I just love the films, the actors, the photography,” he said. “I’m a fan of the whole era. I always liked the glamor calenders my grandfather had” — a collection he credits with setting him on his career path.

Serenity Holzman’s been a pinup model, in that vein, for about five years, though she’s been modeling since age 16, she said. It’s how the couple met, they said.

“Even as a child, I’d play imaginary dress-up,” she said. “I enjoy beautiful things and this type of fashion is classy and timeless in its own way. I like the class and elegance it gives.”

Besides dresses, skirts, pants and tops, the boutique also carries shape-ware, girdles, garter belts, hosiery, bathing suits, jewelry and other items designed to look like they came out of an old Life Magazine.

An Audrey Hepburn and Marilyn Monroe fan, Serenity Holzman said she surrounds herself with retro memorabilia at home, as well as at work.

By Rachel Raskin-Zrihen, Vallejo Times-Herald 10/15/15