“Oh, I get it, it’s all dresses?” Asks a shopper, lightly handling one of a hundred-some frocks packed in this den of sugar and spice. Indeed, Mesdames; though the breezy boutique is still adjusting its slip, Le Dress is poised to add some feminine Franco-flair to an already polished expansion of boutique row.
French for, yep, The Dress, the frivolously named shop packs hardy credibility. Co-owners (and sister-in-laws) Robyn and Eva Anderson cut their respective chops in the City of Lights, absorbing the glitz-heavy culture while broaching the nitty-gritty of the fashion biz at Paris schools. Good thing, as staking out and nabbing their current location involved some lengthy back work (staff briefly alluded to a few of the foot studies and demographic reports that tugged the ladies’ entrepreneurial eyes toward present digs).
In accordance with the mixed demographic of the West Side, the goods cover a lot of territory, spanning from a pink and green psychedelic-lite Trina Turk frock ($258) to a mod black and white shift from Whitley ($220)—though, as a constant, almost all will look natural set aside a bejeweled cigarette holder. Brands include A.B.S., Lauren Conrad, Shoshanna and designer Julie Brown, and Le Dress’ private label is inexpensive enough to wean weary H&M hounds. A tuxedo-top, two-tone ivory-and-cappuccino dress for $98 is an elegant price break.
The sartorial swagger increases the farther back you shop—check out a handful of Grammy-worthy gowns of the Zsa Zsa variety (think animal prints and sleek Greek styling). Though staff says that winter will usher in more business dresses and to-work wear, I’d like to think the spirit of Le Dress is embodied in the fabulously absurd zebra-print-and-gemstone-brooch dress anchoring the back rack at $372. Be sure to check out the side-shelf of diva arsenals that promise to enhance everything from dating prowess (choose from a light spread of you-go-girl lit) to cleavage, as well as a small but colorful selection of wraps and handbags.
In time, Robyn and Eva will hoist up a “Godfather”-esque portrait of Ms. Hepburn’s lovely mug, allowing the patron saint of country-club chic to preside over her doting sophisticates-in-training. Another plus: sizes run from zero to twelve. (Libby Ramer)
Le Dress is located at 1741 West Division, (773)697-9899, ledresschicago.com.