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The term entered into everyday the English language in the late 1960s when, for a brief period, London was the fashion capital. Carnaby Street and Kings Road (London) were the focus of much of the media's attention for having the most fashionable boutiques "of the era".
This term can also refer to a specialized firm such as a boutique investment bank or boutique law firm. The word is often used to describe a property in the independent section of the hotel market (such as The Rockwell in London) in order to distinguish themselves from larger chains (such as Hilton Hotels). In such cases, the establishments aim to convey the idea that their operation is elite and highly specialized.
In the strictest sense of the word, boutiques would be one-of-a-kind. However, more generally speaking, some chains can be referred to as boutiques if they specialize in particular styles.
Recently, the term "boutique" has began to be applied to mass-market items that are either niche or produced in intentionally small numbers at very high prices. This can be referred to as boutique manufacturing. For example, before the release of the Wii, a Time Magazine article suggested that Nintendo could become a "boutique video-game company", producing games for niche audiences, rather than trying to compete directly with Microsoft and Sony.
Although some boutiques specialize in hand-made items and other one-of-a-kind items, others simply produce T-shirts, stickers, and other fashion accessories in artificially small runs and sell them at high prices.
In late 1990s some European retail traders developed the idea of tailoring a shop towards a lifestyle theme, in the form of "concept stores", which specialised in cross-selling without using separate departments. One of the first[when?] concept stores was 10 Corso Como in Milan, Italy followed by Colette in Paris and Quartier 206 in Berlin. Several well-known American chains such as Urban Outfitters, D-A-S-H, and The Gap, Australian chain Billabong and, though less common, Lord & Taylor adapted to the concept store trend after 2000.
- Merriam-Webster's Dictionary http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/boutique
|url=missing title (help). Retrieved 1 October 2014.
- boutique, on Oxford Dictionaries
- ἀποθήκη, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, A Greek-English Lexicon, on Perseus
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