Claudia Wells, the original “Jennifer Parker” of Back to the Future, is 24 and holding. Actually, her store, Armani Wells, just turned 24 and she’s celebrating!
When I first interviewed Claudia Wells in September, Back to the Future Day was the catalyst that had brought us together to reveal a personal side of the original Jennifer Parker, as never published before. With the whirlwind of a world tour, Claudia has travelled the globe, from Australia, through France, to Tokyo, and even to South America over the past three months, and she was drawn away from her daily life in Los Angeles, to fulfill her destiny as an icon from one of the most memorable movies of the 20th century.
Claudia spent the past three decades living life as a single mom, focusing on family first, and running her own upscale men's clothing store in Studio City, California. But there's something magical that transpires here, and there's no better time to showcase this than now, as Armani Wells turned 24 on December 19th.
Let me take you inside her store.
Claudia Wells has almost a quarter century of experience in winning over the trust of men, ranging from Roger Moore, to Mike Tyson, to the local businessman or aspiring actor wanting to dress to impress. She is the reason why Armani Wells’ success on Ventura Boulevard continues as her clientele come back repeatedly and spread the word of her store.
"Men are hunters and gatherers. Sometimes, the first time they come in to my store, is to check it out to see if it's where they want to take seriously and make purchase from. They always decide ‘yes’, which makes me happy," observes the experienced Claudia.
She takes pride in making sure that every man who enters her store is treated royally and is given the time he deserves when selecting exquisitely tailored jackets, designer suits, shoes of the finest leathers, and a look that will place him in the perfect spotlight.
I spent some time in her store last week and observed this for myself as I sat in the centerpiece chair where Mike Tyson had previously rested, as I couldn't begin to imagine who would walk through her door next. It can be anyone from a Hollywood A-lister, to a friendly pastor, to a hopeful girlfriend trying to revamp the look of her man.
Even if you don’t know where to begin, Claudia will literally size you up and steer you towards that debonair designer suit, so you’ll walk out of her store looking like a million bucks. As I sat there sipping my Arnold Palmer made with freshly squeezed lemonade and just-brewed iced tea (How California of me!) watching her work, it was fascinating to watch her disarm men as they placed themselves under her guidance to make sure that their sleeves weren’t too long, or perfected their polished look with a brown suede belt, or some incredible shoes that draw your eye downward as they could become the focal point of their personal presentation.
With the personalized attention you get from Claudia and her staff, it makes me want to be a guy for an afternoon just so I can shop there and be doted on!
What I love about her store is that it’s so eclectic. She had one Brioni men’s suit jacket that was the showpiece of the moment, situated at the front of her store. Meanwhile, men walked in and when they found something in their size, they jumped on it and grabbed it to go, as they knew that it would be scooped up if they didn’t buy it on sight.
The entire store is a shop of hidden treasures tucked in between classic and always authentic top-of-the-line menswear, sprinkled with movie memorabilia. You’ll find pictures of Claudia Wells with Michael J. Fox, and DeLoreans, and photos of her at events; as you look around it’s like going back in time with her over the course of her career.
And to watch Claudia in action, you can tell she absolutely loves what she does every day. Every customer and friend who walks through her store door makes her face light up with enthusiasm, and every single person who walks out leaves with a smile on their face (and usually several bags of clothing!)
(I’ll admit, I love seeing when a man goes on a shopping spree! Usually you think of a woman going into a store and buying mounds of clothing, but I’ve witnessed it first-hand that this happens, regularly, at Claudia Wells’ store!)
“My wish for my store in the future is that it always remains the fun, easy-going, loving place for me and my clients and customers to enjoy that it always has been. You walk in and are treated like a king and family, at the same time; and you leave so happy with your amazing new look or addition to your already full closet, and I can't wait for them to come back and tell me about all the compliments they got in their new clothes!” shares Claudia.
Next year will mark the big 25 for her on Ventura Boulevard! That will be a landmark celebration for sure! (There were 2 DeLorean's outside of her door this year on the 24th anniversary; I can't imagine what will happen in 2016!)
As far as Claudia and I were concerned, when it was closing time we found some of the best sushi on the west coast and enjoyed the evening like time had stood still since we last saw each other in New York. Except, it was colder, yes, colder than New York, walking through the streets of L.A. with jackets and scarves on, as the wind whipped around. Yes, I’m the girl who could pick the time to travel to Hollywood as record-breaking icy temperatures prevented my escape to someplace warm in winter. (Why me!?)
For those of you who aren’t able to visit Claudia’s store in person and meet her, don’t worry! She’s planning a lot of appearances in various venues, and I think I heard something about her getting back on the big screen real soon! :)