Walking into the Frock Shop is like walking into an urban socialite’s dream. The loft features exposed brick walls and hardwood floors, the shop displays fashion books and metallic-accented decor, and the music is an utterly perfect blend of girly, edgy and fun.
And then, there’s the reason for the Frock Shop’s fabulous existence — the gowns. The dress rental shop offers a variety of evening wear and cocktail options, sizes 0-22, for less than $185.
The shop’s newest arrivals were featured in “An Afternoon of Red Carpet Style,” an event held Saturday, Feb.13, inside the shop on the third floor of Lacuna Artist Lofts. Stylish women milled about the loft, chatting and examining dresses. Some were there for for the fun of the event, while others were hoping to find something to take home.
Mawuto, 17, and Queenster, 16, gave the sale rack in the back of the store a thorough examination, searching for a dress for Mawuto to wear to a birthday party. Her dream dress? “Something extravagant,” she said.
She’s certainly looking in the right place. The new arrivals modeled during the event included a limited edition, black and white Sherri Hill gown, a Michael Costello sample and a heavily beaded, long-sleeved number from Jazz Couture.
As awards season looms, the dresses in the Frock Shop lean more and more on red carpet trends. Several of the new styles are reminiscent of old Hollywood, like the red off-shoulder Marilyn Monroe-esque gown from Fiesta, while others are very young and trendy, like the mermaid-inspired two-piece from designer Sherri Hill.
The loft exploded in excited chatter when the fashion show wrapped up. Owner Jennifer Burrell organized and posed in group photos with the models, Stella & Dot representatives Marnie Smith and Chelsea Hart, makeup artist Antonia Mead and host Porchea-Londone Miranda.
“In an event, like today, we had Stella & Dot come in, we had the makeup artist come in, and the blogger [host Porchea-Londone Miranda]. They’re all local businesses and everyone was able to promote their business. We all worked together for this event,” Burrell said. “Because we’re a female-owned business, we’re a locally owned business, we try to do everything — all of the vendors and everyone that we use, we try to make sure that they’re local, and it’s a plus when they’re female-owned.”
Striving to network and grow with other Chicago small businesses is admirable in and of itself. Another standout virtue? The shop makes sure to carry sizes 0-22. Burrell calls the choice to buy plus sizes “a no brainer”.
“When we first started the business, we got the most requests for plus sizes,” she said. “I just feel like it doesn’t matter what size you are. You should always have options.”
Burrell first decided to hold in-store events in late 2015 while discussing marketing ideas with her team. The first fashion show, in December 2015, focused on holiday style. Burrell hopes to hold another event as wedding season approaches. To keep up with the Frock Shop’s new arrivals and events, follow them Frock Shop on Facebook or visit frockshopchicago.com.