Southampton is quickly becoming a 'Mecca' of fashion for those women who want clothes that are unique, cutting-edge, elegant and ahead of the curve.
Now, Delores Sullivan of Sisters on Huron and Brenda Stockie have joined together to open 'Preview'... a new concept in fashion that lives up to the name. There are 11 designer couture collections representing a cross-section of fashion from classic to detailed reflections of what is happening in Europe.
"We wanted to bring couture fashion to Southampton that is always ahead or, a 'preview' of, a season or styles that are yet to come," says Sullivan, "but at a very reasonable price point."
How the two women made the decision to begin 'Preview' is a story in itself. "Delores invited me to be part of her shopping experience in New York," says Brenda Stockie. "I was overwhelmed with the sheer number of designers and fashion. I saw all these beautiful samples and realized that something wasn't being done. If they weren't selected by buyers, then they appeared to go nowhere and they were beautiful designs in exquisite fabrics."
"Actually, the ties goes back some 10 years," adds Sullivan. "Brenda and her husband Tom came into Sisters on a snowy day in March and we became informal friends from then. They explained they were from Kitchener/Waterloo as is my partner, Paul Schendel, and a friendship evolved. Stockie however, also has long ties to Southampton. Her grandfather, Howard Snider, bought a cottage in the community in 1946 on the Beach Road, where the family spent every summer. Stockie and her husband, plan to eventually retire in Southamtpon. Her sister Lynda Harry also lives in Southampton and the two sisters plan to work together in 'Preview'.
"It's somewhat serendipitous," says Sullivan, "that Sisters on Huron was originally about sisters who began a business and, here, we have two sisters again who will be bringing more fashion to Southampton."
'Preview' is located on High Street in what was Schendel & Sullivan footwear store. "We hope everyone will stop by and preview the fashions that we have brought in from New York and Europe," says Stockie, "and we are very excited to be part of Southampton fashion."
Delores Sullivan has been in the fashion industry for several years but it wasn't until she opened her own store, Sisters on Huron, that she realized her dream.
"While most clothing retailers were diverting their product to a younger market, I was convinced that the focus for my business should be on the babyboomer age and the women of my sisters' generation of 40-something to women in their sixties. To me, there seemed to be a void developing in fashion retail for this segment of women which, to me, was a mistake. They are sophisticated, intelligent and creative and want to dress that way."
Deciding to delve into haute couture, Sullivan found that most designer labels expect a certain level or quantity of product to be ordered and then she discovered Hermann Coutures of Germany who was willing to offer a small number of designs to Sisters to test in the marketplace. "I was nervous about bringing in such a high-end product but, much to my surprise, it sold out in the first week!" says Sullivan.
What that indicated to the new owner was that fashion in the region wasn't price driven and that there was a demand for high fashion. "I began then to search out designers in earnest. I brought in an Italian line, Sarah Pacini, that soon developed a very strong following," and, as the demand grew, Sullivan began to travel more widely in search of product, attending shows in Montreal and New York.
"As I brought in different designers, my customers began telling me they wanted more and more unique designs not seen in the area and, therefore, it became necessary to go to international resources and that's what drove my decision to attend the largest showcase of international designers in the world at the fashion mecca of Milan."
According to Sullivan, she doesn't necessarily follow fashion trends but relies instead on her own personal taste and judgement after listening to her customers. "I try to determine what my customers want and go from there..." and in trying to answer her clients' requests, she will be off to Milan on September 19th. "Not everything in Milan is haute couture so I'll also be looking at very mid-range priced items. I think it's important that women have the opportunity to develop their own style by complementing their wardrobe with a variety of items from every price range. I'm anxious to see what Milan has to offer."
It was a pleasure to shop locally at Penninsula Ford/Lincoln. Addison Ziegler gets 110% for customer service.
The 2013 Lincoln MKX just happened to be ready for pick up on my birthday!!