Cerulean 1 on North Southport Avenue may have only been open two weeks, but owner Jennifer Dulhanty has been in the fashion industry for twenty-two years.
“I used to work wholesale, ” she says. Later serving as the sales director of Chicago’s Stylemax show at the Merchandise Mart, Dulhanty readily accepted the offer to take over the spot formerly known as Shane. “When he made the decision to sell, he called me, and I bit,” Dulhanty recalls. A wise choice, considering the speed at which items are flying off the shelves.
“All my pieces are all gone!” she exclaims, perusing her own racks. With a built-in clientele of former Shane shoppers, Dulhanty didn’t need to work too hard to gain an instant following. “All [the clients were] familiar with Shane,” she says. And while Dulhanty started with all-new stock, she made the decision to keep some of the same brands. “Why mess with a good thing, as they say?” she asks.
Named for the color, however, Cerulean I’s main attraction is denim—premium denim. “I think that’s important,” Dulhanty says. “Everybody’s wearing denim out for everything.” So which brand is best? “Big Star,” she answers without hesitation. “Their fit is amazing for both men and women.” Dulhanty is also a fan of Joe’s Jeans. “Aren’t they cute?” she asks, holding up a pair of wide-leg drawstring pants.
Also featuring items like 525 America hoodies and Rebecca Beeson tanks, Dulhanty says she considers her store the “most casual on the street,” although she expects to get into more high-end tops for women. “We already have them in men’s,” she adds. For now, Michael Stars is the number-one brand in the store. “Michael Stars’ dresses are fabulous,” Dulhanty says. “[We have them] coming in for fall with metallic threads in them.”
Clearly, the shop swap hasn’t hurt Southport’s style scene one bit. But for those still mourning the loss of Shane, take comfort. Dulhanty says she isn’t really planning on changing much. “Everyone on the street has a niche,” she says. “Mine is the more casual. I see us continuing to be successful.” (Nicole Briese)
Cerulean I, 3657 North Southport, (773)525-6870