Friday, Les Filles Louisville – one of the first boutiques to open in the newly formed South Fourth District, or SOFO – held a trunk show in their new digs at 558 S. Fourth St., featuring pieces from Chicago-based fashion designer Lauren Lein of Lauren Lein Ltd. NFocus Louisville social correspondent Tonya Abeln hosted the trunk show.
The latest iteration of Les Filles came about when the Louisville Downtown Development Corporation, the driving force behind the revitalization of the two blocks between the Seelbach and Brown hotels, courted boutique owner Melissa Murphy Willis over a year and a half ago to open a new store in the burgeoning district, the locally handmade wares fitting the mold the LDDC sought for their vision; Regalo and Celebrations were the other original signatories to the plan. The original Les Filles Boutique closed in February of this year when that store's lease in the Westport Village Shopping Center expired, prompting Willis to open the smaller Les Filles Petite in Middletown to help her get through until the SOFO store opened last week; the Middletown location will close around the end of April.
Jenny Pfanestiel of Formé Millinery – whose millinery is in the back of the new boutique – said that Les Filles Louisville was at a great location. “One, it's downtown, and two, it's in between the Brown and the Seelbach. When people come to visit Louisville, they need places to shop. So I think this is gonna be a great opportunity for everyone, and I'm just excited for people who are coming here to visit to have great places to come and buy lovely things.”
Lein began her career 22 years ago in Detroit, designing suits for professional women before relocating to Chicago two years later when she found a larger client base for her designs. Her trunk show in Louisville is the designer's first collaboration with Les Filles Louisville:
“I got involved with Melissa through Jenny. Jenny and I are really besties back in Chicago, and we've done a bunch of shows together in Chicago. I also serve with her on the Apparel Industry Board. Through her, she told me about Melissa's store. Melissa was going to start carrying clothes... Jenny knows that I do a lot of custom, and I have always, for some reason, thought that I would be a really good match for clothing Derby dresses. I do a lot of one-of-a-kind special things that sometimes, truthfully, aren't that appreciated always in Chicago, and I thought they might be here. I got really excited thinking it was a great fit; Jenny and I do a lot of hat/dress combos. So that's how all that happened.”
Abeln's involvement as hostess came from her friendship with Willis, who offered to support her friend's newest endeavor in any manner possible. “I have a lot of girlfriends who are big shoppers, and of course, they're trying to get their Derby wardrobe together. I just invited them to come down and take a look.” Lein added that because Louisville is a new market for her, that she would like to see women in her clothes than worry about the price of her pieces on the outset. Abelin wearing the designer's collection, according to Lein, is one key to getting her foot in Louisville's fashion scene.
Les Filles Louisville is located at 558 S. Fourth St. For information on hours of operation, you may either call 502-292-9733 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. You may also follow the boutique on Facebook and Twitter.
Photos: Cameron Miquelon/Louisville.com.