Star Moxley’s curiosity shop delights and inspires
story by Liza Long
photography by John Webster
When I walked into The Crazy Neighbor one lazy Saturday afternoon, I just wanted something cute to keep my head warm. I didn’t know that this new Linen District addition to Boise’s fashion scene was owned by Star Moxley, the award-winning costume designer and artist who worked with the Idaho Shakespeare Festival and other local theater companies for over 30 years. But the way this whimsical shop full of delightful accessories drew me into its carefully staged interior suggested that a true artist was behind the rainbow array of hats, scarves, one-of-a-kind handbags, costume jewelry, and home accessories.
“I’m a Victorian shopkeeper at heart,” Moxley told me over coffee at nearby a’Tavola. “If I could sweep the sidewalks every day, I would. For me, it’s more than just retail; I wanted to create the feeling of a European curiosity shop.”
The Crazy Neighbor is Moxley’s most recent adventure in a life that has been anything but dull—she began building costumes in Montreal when she was 18 years old and has exhibited in galleries around the country as a fiber artist and as a Boise City Artist in Residence installation artist. In 1985, Moxley opened the Costume Shop in Boise and managed it until she sold the store to new owners in 2008. The shop was a fixture within our community for many years.
While The Crazy Neighbor is not the Costume Shop, theater-types will find some familiar brands and hard-to-find items. Moxley carries Ben Nye makeup, as well as an assortment of wigs, stockings, masks, and items useful for theater productions, events, stylists, and performers (lovers with a playful streak might find a few ideas for Valentine’s Day as well). But she originally conceived of her latest project as a hat shop. The store’s entrance, with its low ceiling, functions as a store within a store, containing a wide assortment of stylish hats and scarves for him and her, in a variety of styles and price points for every budget. “The entrance is my proscenium,” Moxley explained. “It’s the lobby that opens into a theater of art—accessories for a colorful life.”
Naming the store was the hardest part for Moxley. Many of her friends suggested she capitalize on her own name’s brand recognition, but Moxley wanted something that reflected an eclectic, fashion-forward sensibility. She settled on The Crazy Neighbor to capture the whimsy and fun of her store and its contents. “We’re the crazy neighbor you want to know,” she said. “We’re the ones you’re watching over your fence because we look like we are having fun. I mean, we have a painting of a goat jumping rope on the front of our building.” (It’s true!).
Moxley sources her unique and beautiful accessories from years of experience in the theater community. And she has a demonstrated commitment to small businesses that create beautiful objects. “I want people to feel like they can start with the perfect accessory and work backwards,” she says, noting that the store is open until 7:00 p.m. to encourage after-work browsing. “People need pretty things. I’m glad I can fill that need.”
1415 West Grove Street, Boise (208) 957-6480 www.crazyneighbor.biz