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At my high school, we wore uniforms — unless it was “free dress day.” That’s when everyone would parade around in whatever was “cool” at the moment (the latest Abercrombie, ugh). Everyone except my locker partner Angela Wisniewski, a preternaturally confident freshman with white blonde hair and more daring outfits than anyone else sashaying down the hallway.
We’re all grown up now, and she is still one of those rare humans who seems to escape the clutches of Instagram sameness. Instead, Wisniewski’s ever-evolving style reflects the music, art and movies she devours, and a commitment to quality honed by years as a wardrobe stylist, photographer, model and branding genius.
With the opening of her new boutique, Coup D’état, that sartorial curiosity — a daring mutation of R&B, SoCal, high art, low culture and all things Detroit — is accessible to all. Think of Coup, located inside New Center’s Cadillac Place building, as an ever-evolving art object with a moodboard for a palette.
Wisniewski (a founding member of Detour Detroit!) will open Coup D’état’s doors for a debut party on Saturday, Nov. 9. Come for the clothes, and stay for the bubbles from The Royce Detroit, cocktails from Kiesling Detroit, tunes from Shinya aka Crate Digga and film captured by DEV. A portion of the proceeds from the evening will benefit The Emerging Opal, a Detroit-based nonprofit that provides girls with crucial skills and mentorship.
We asked Wisniewski to give Detour readers a look inside Coup D’état…
Detour: Tell us about this lifelong obsession you’ve had with fashion + styling, and how it led you to open a store.
Wisniewski: Shopping (namely seeking out unique places!) and wardrobe curation have been a natural interest of mine since I can remember. Timing really is everything and after years of thinking about opening a shop, I decided to make it a reality. Opening in the city proper was very important to me, so when things started to align… well, here we are!
What makes this store of and for Detroiters? What does it bring to the city that we didn’t have before?
Compared to bars and restaurants, retail is lacking considerably in Detroit’s redevelopment. Coup is unique in that the atmosphere is inviting and the shop offers a unique variety of apparel, beauty and lifestyle objects for all budgets.
How does Coup D’etat reflect your personal style?
Coup D’état, by definition, touches on the act of rebellion, and that is something I personally relate to. I never really followed what anyone else did, wore, said, etc., I’ve always sort of cruised in my own lane. The Albert Kahn-designed space is a wonderful combination of elegance, style, vibrancy and edge…
You are featuring a lot of independent, up-and-coming designers. How did you form relationships with them?
I have been “moodboarding” this concept for a few years. When it came time to make the buys and begin curation, I considered my personal taste and where I think the market is going. Most, if not all of the lines I reached out to were thrilled to be introduced to the Detroit market.
Tell us about your space in Cadillac Place.
When I initially walked through the space, the vision for my concept changed. At the time, the unit served as a pretty drab spill-over lobby for the unemployment office. But I felt something in there. I imagined what it could be. The towering ceilings, elegant accents and other simple, beautiful details laid the framework for the shop. Most of my build-out was fixture-based.
What do you want your customers to feel like when they walk in your store… and when they leave with a bag?
I want customers to feel invited and inspired when they come into the shop, and I hope that the space we’ve created allows that. It is open and airy — and not overcrowded with too much merchandise. I really want to be able to work one-on-one with people to personalize the styling experience. I hope that with each Coup bag, women are on their way to feeling beautiful, bold and confident in their purchases.
What neighborhood do you live in? Lafayette Park
What’s your favorite thing about where you live? The neighborhood is among my favorite in the city. It is peaceful but still in the mix, mindfully designed by Mies van der Rohe. I love the charming park, nature, architecture and diversity there, yet it still feels like you’re in the city.
How do you give back? I volunteer at Alternatives For Girls and with The Emerging Opal, where I sit on the board. I donate to many arts programs as well.
How do you work out/stay healthy? Jabs Gym in Eastern Market is my favorite spot to tone, sweat and let out any stress! I eat a pretty healthy diet, too.
What’s the biggest gripe or frustration about life in Detroit? Hmm … public transit, or lack thereof, I have to say.
Why do you love living here? This is my home and there really is no other place like it.
Favorite independent-owned shop: COUP D’ÉTAT! 🙂
Favorite dive bar: The Old Miami
Favorite venue to watch live music: The Masonic Temple
Favorite place to spend a lazy Sunday: Brunch at Selden followed by lounging at my apartment overlooking Lafayette Park, or looking at the Detroit River, listening to an audiobook.
In 10 years, Detroit will have/will be … a world-class destination!
Follow Coup D’etat on Facebook.