Newly christened business owner and longtime local trendsetter Angela Wisniewski would like to invite you to partake in what she is calling her "purple velvet jumpsuit rebellion."
OK — so the 35-year-old entrepreneur is referring to the literal $300 purple velvet jumpsuit by Rachel Antonoff prominently displayed on the rack in her shop, Coup D'état, which opened its doors in November. Nestled away in the Albert Kahn-designed Cadillac Place building in the New Center, Wisniewski's vibrant high-end beauty and fashion boutique caters to women who do not shy away from statement pieces, as well as women who may need a push when embracing bold colors, wild patterns, and faux fur — lots of faux fur.
"I want to encourage people to think outside of a cookie-cutter outfit that you might see spoon-fed to you in media, in ads, or by big chain stores, which is sort of rebellious," Wisniewski says. "Thinking independently and buying from independent vendors, that in and of itself is rebellious. Going into a locally owned space, getting off your phone, and closing out your Amazon app — that is considered rebellious now."
For Wisniewski, opening a shop like Coup D'état has been a dream since elementary school. She had been kicking the name and concept around for a while, too, and jokes that it has nothing to do with the current political climate or overthrowing the government, as the French term suggests.
The choice to take the plunge was simple and came down to timing, "if not now, then when?" Seeking additional creative outlets outside of her work with marketing and managing various social media presences for other creatives and businesses, Wisniewski began curating and shopping independent vendors and stocking her apartment shelves well before she had secured the space in New Center, which has seen an interior renovation that highlights its tall ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows, and art deco architectural details that were otherwise lost in the space's previous incarnation. Wisniewski says she felt it was her duty to both provide a service that complements the businesses already operating in the area while also filling a niche. She lovingly calls it her "little art gallery of apparel and accessories."
"I'm not trying to cover every base," she says. "I have small selections of what I think people will respond to. I'm not going to have some of the lines that the department stores have and I don't want that because I'm not a department store. I like to think that I have something for everybody, and I really think I do. I just want women to feel open-minded when they come in. There's not a thing in here that I wouldn't wear or wouldn't carry or wouldn't spray on myself or apply on my lips. Forever, my motto has been, if I don't believe in it, I can't sell it. I'm a bad liar."
Coup D'état stands out among the Detroit retail landscape for more reasons than just, say, the colorblocked Kurt Lyle Novia dress, which pairs athleisure with bold bridesmaid energy; or the furry Flaming Cheeto bucket bag by Primecut, a maker from Oregon that uses responsibly sourced cowhides and shearlings to craft textural patchwork bags; or the Clog Boot by Ariana Bohling Parker Alpine, the perfect shoe for living lodge (ski lodge, that is). The price points are significantly higher than downtown Detroit's newest tenant, fast-fashion giant H&M, which opened its doors last week. Though Wisniewski jokes that she identifies as a textbook empath who absolutely dresses how she feels, like a walking mood ring, she reluctantly refers to investment pieces like those offered at Coup D'état as a form of "self-care."
"For me a true self care is about the inner work," she says. "For so long, focusing on beauty, apparel, and fashion kind of seemed, for many people, superficial or something, and the way I see it, it's part of a complete package. I'm not saying skip a therapy appointment or don't go for your annual at the gynecologist and buy a $250 jumpsuit. Use that as an accompaniment to your whole package. Style and your exterior is, often times, a representation of who you are inside, what your brain looks like, and how you're feeling. That's the most important stuff. And then it kind of comes out when you put on something you feel really great in."
As for where Coup D'état's panache fits into the perplexing puzzle that is Detroit's general fashion aesthetic, Wisniewski is confident it will click with shoppers, though she admits it's difficult to reduce Detroit style to a single category. She says it comes down to resilience, considering seasons dominate fashion choices in the Midwest and is a healthy hybrid of streetwear and blue-collar working class.
"It's a little bit of everything," she says. "But I will say this: Though I can't truly categorize it in one way, it always feels very authentic. I was telling my boyfriend, every time I'm flying home, you can look around the terminal and tell who's flying to Detroit."
Coup D'état is located at 3044 W. Grand Blvd. Suite L-460, Detroit; 313-782-4480; shopcoupdetat.com.
Part of the 2019 Detroit gift guide.
Stay on top of Detroit news and views. Sign up for our weekly issue newsletter delivered each Wednesday.