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Island business: You can dress me up …

Submitted by on 1, May 8, 2009 – 6:00 amOne Comment

Looking for that perfect cocktail party dress, prom dress, bridal gown? Well, you can get all that and more at two new dress shops that have opened up on the Island in recent months.

lilac1Pilar Burlingham opened the Lilac Dress Boutique in late February on a sun-drenched corner of Encinal and Chestnut. Burlingham, who has been working in retail since she was in college, said she had been flirting with starting her own business and that she decided to make the commitment after her employer fell on hard economic times.

Burlingham’s got wedding dresses starting at $500; when I visited, she was displaying her bestseller, which cost $595, in the window. (And if you happen to fall out of love with your dress before the big day, she’s got a generous trade-in policy.)

Lilac’s also got a selection of cocktail dresses, sundresses and more – “I’ve done a ton of prom,” Burlingham says – starting at $160.

A recent transplant to the Island, Burlingham is also offering the work of local vendors. One table includes a colorful array of feather-plumed headbands and purses made by an Alameda designer; a back dressing area hosts a collection of vintage dresses that have been reworked by an Island-based designer. “I met her at the playground,” Burlingham said.

Oh, and did I mention that she’s likely the nicest person you will ever meet?

Lilac’s at 1918 Encinal in the beautifully redone Chestnut Station building. Their hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment. Their phone number is 865-2544.

wedding-gown-atelierWe’ve also got a new bridal shop, the Wedding Gown Atelier Bridal Boutique, at 2418 Central Avenue, just off Park. They opened in late January.

The shop’s owner, Judy Gentry, told me it’s always been a dream of hers to have her own shop. And when a longtime friend who knows the industry became available to work with her, Gentry jumped.

The shop offers several different lines of couture dresses plus custom work. The list Gentry rattled off includes Kirstie Kelly for Disney Fairytale Weddings; Tara Keely and Alvina Valenta collections for JLM Couture; Maggie Sottero; and more. The dresses, all from designers’ 2009 collections, start at $900. (You’ll need to try on the samples they’ve got and then order the color and size you want.)

In addition to bridal gowns, the shop offers dresses for bridesmaids and flower girls, veils, shoes and jewelry. They’ve also got expert alterations.

“We want to make the bride’s experience memorable. We want it to be a fun and exciting experience for her,” Gentry said. “Once she’s got her dress, the rest is easy.”

The shop, which is open by appointment, is hosting a Pronovias Barcelona trunk show this Friday and Saturday, April 8 and 9, and then a Tara Keely trunk show the following weekend, May 15-16.

Their phone number is 846-3800.

One Comment »

  • Lorre says:

    Lilac's shop is great. I've shopped there for the Boys & Girls Club dinner and my wedding. And Pilar is charming and attentive. She makes it a pleasure to shop there. I also love Abigail's mid-town on Santa Clara, which recently moved here, and M Zoe on Park St.

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