St. Petersburg’s Beach Drive buzz

Fashion bubbles over at Bella Moda and Baubles & Bubbles.

click to enlarge THE CROWN JEWEL: Baubles & Bubbles’ 14-karat gold bird pin with two carats of white diamonds in the body. - Leslie Joy Ickowitz
Leslie Joy Ickowitz
THE CROWN JEWEL: Baubles & Bubbles’ 14-karat gold bird pin with two carats of white diamonds in the body.

Much like this year’s CL “Summer Guide,” it appears this week’s fashion column is brought to you by the letter “B.” It’s about Bella Moda and Baubles & Bubbles on Beach Drive. What’s in store? Brazilian fashion, boots (and shoes), belts, bags and bling.

Bella Moda (30 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg) has been anchoring the far side of Beach Drive’s shopping scene since 2011. Owner Rita Johnson stocked and opened the shop with fashion almost entirely from Brazil in hopes of encouraging shoppers to experiment.

“It’s fine to look cool and more dressy in St. Pete,” Rita says. The clothing is an eclectic mix of resort-wear on the edgier side.

This October, Baubles & Bubbles jewelry store moved from its original location on Central Avenue to share space with Bella Moda. “We’re trying to bring a different look and feel to Beach Drive,” says owner Erik Carroll, “a cool, Miami vibe; a hang-out vibe.”

Baubles & Bubbles features Erik’s expert selection of fine, contemporary jewelry made in the U.S. by designers from New York, California, Georgia and Texas, to name a few. The substantial men’s timepieces are among many covetable items sharing space with sparkly pieces in the gleaming cases.

“I’ve had ‘Bling A.D.D.’ since I was 16,” he says referencing his start in jewelry as an apprentice in Manhattan’s Diamond District. This is one local guy you want sourcing your jewelry.

Together, Bella Moda and Baubles & Bubbles provide a fashionable feast for the eyes. For the pair of proprietors, who have known each other for six years, coming together seemed a natural fit.

“I absolutely love it,” Rita beams. “Eric is a personality. We’re having fun and our customers are having fun.”

Sooooooo, where to have fun, I mean shop, first? Erik says, “Depends on which door you walk in.”

Highlights: Designed by Erik himself, Baubles & Bubbles’ crown jewel is a 14 karat gold bird pin with two carats of white diamonds in the body, tsavorite garnet red and orange sapphires with a briolette cut amethyst drop. And Bella Moda carries one-of-a-kind platform shoes by local and international designer Ivanka Ska, who recently added a few pairs of sparkly flats to the lineup.

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