For a little slice of tropical heaven, look no further than Marina St. Barth. The globally minded boutique has won over fans, far and wide, thanks to its offering of glamorous dresses and separates, each inspired by the luxurious lifestyle of St. Barths. Founder Marina Cocher has now set up shop in Southampton, bringing her eclectic and covetable style to East Enders—no plane ticket required. The Daily Summer caught up with the designer to talk fashion, fitness, and French cuisine, mais oui!
You were born and raised in France. What do you miss most about home?
I miss my entire family the most; they all still live near Paris. Last year wasn’t easy, but it was even harder for me when my mother passed away in October. I was unable to see her one last time.
When do you hope to visit?
I’m hoping to be able to travel back in September to give my brother and sister the biggest hug after almost two years of not seeing them! I also miss spending the holidays in the south of France as the landscape is breathtaking. The aromas of Provence bring me back to Saint-Tropez, where I used to live, and the French cuisine is out of this world!
How did you end up in the Hamptons?
About six years ago, I met Pierre Weber from Pierre’s restaurant, which is located in Bridgehampton. Pierre supported my fashion brand and gave me the opportunity to have a seasonal store atop his restaurant. Organizing fashion shows on a daily basis, using beautiful models, helped me to build my business in New York, all while also being able to meet the most amazing people and to connect.
You have two other stores, in Palm Beach and St. Barths. Do you travel among the three locations often?
Pre-COVID, I was used to traveling between St. Barths, New York, and Florida. In the past two years, due to the pandemic, I put that on hold. But with St. Barths now reopening to tourism, I plan on visiting all three locations quite often.
Did you always know one day you’d start your own brand?
Believe it or not, I didn’t start my career in the fashion industry. I studied international trade in Paris, as well as various foreign languages, including Russian. Then I began working for Clarins in its international service division. My life came full circle in December 2004, when I was fortunate to survive the big tsunami in Thailand. Because of that near-death experience, I felt I had been given a second chance at life. I realized I needed to do what I love the most every day. Fashion was my passion, so I decided to dedicate my life to it.
How do you bring the spirit and luxury lifestyle of St. Barths to the U.S. with what you offer in store?
My brand’s creations offer a special flair that mix the Parisian lifestyle with the vibe of St. Barths, and the designs infuse exquisite colors and patterns. I also have exclusive designer pieces at my store, as well as delicate perfumes and skincare lines from Ligne St. Barths.
Tell us about your new Southampton store.
My new location at 46 Jobs Lane in Southampton is ideally situated in front of Ralph Lauren and under Kevin Maple’s hairdressing salon. There’s ample parking available behind the store, where we have a secondary entrance. The boutique is decorated with a simple, elegant, chic, and tropical vibe. Visitors will be pleased to see the great variety of fashions I’ve assembled from many different countries! I’m constantly looking for new and exciting trends from across the globe, so I take pride in offering oneof- a-kind exquisite prints, incredible fabrics, and unique silhouettes.
What’s your favorite thing about being Out East?
Definitely my peaceful long walks on the beach because this time allows me to recharge myself mentally, physically, and spiritually. What are your favorite restaurants in Southampton? The places I absolutely adore are Dopo Argento, where the food is amazing, and T Bar, which has a great atmosphere. When I want to remember the dishes I used to eat when I was a kid, I go to Le Charlot. We hear you love to exercise! What studios in the Hamptons are you interested in right now? Sport has always been an important part of my life. During the pandemic, I streamed my favorite classes with my instructor, Carole Pernelle from Absolut Hot Yoga in St. Barths, via Zoom. I’ve seen a positive outcome in my overall well-being since incorporating that activity into my life, and I’m looking forward to discovering more fitness studios in Southampton.
Do you think people are getting more dressed up again?
I enjoy assisting my customers in reaching their full fashion potential. My Italian linen collection is No. 1 for doing this. In all my locations, the three-quarter sleeve long dresses and the high and low skirts are the most popular. I’ve noticed customers coming back to boutique shopping, and they’re enjoying dressing up again for going out with friends and family.
You had a MDW fashion show and cocktail reception! Do you have other store events planned for this summer?
We hosted a grand-opening party at Calissa restaurant with an amazing fashion show. I intend on having collection presentations on Friday nights, and we will have “fashion under the stars” events at the store with extended evening hours for customers who prefer to shop at night. There will be music and light sips as well!
One piece of Parisienne style advice you can give us?
The style of a true Parisienne is the mix and match of designers, fabrics, colors, and prints. The options are endless! For example, pairing a chic Italian silk dress with a straw bag, a Tahitian pearl necklace, and a colorful fedora hat. That, for me, is the ultimate in chic! What are you personally most excited for this summer? I’m most excited to see all my friends and customers again! I missed them! I love styling them—it makes me happy to see them satisfied, and I can’t wait to do that again this summer.