Saturday, October 1, 2022

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Feature Story

East Village in the Springtime


Take time this month to soak in the sun and the fashion

When we think of fast fashion, we think of inexpensive clothing produced rapidly by mass-market retailers in response to the latest trends and fads. And when we think of the word promenade, our minds immediately travel to the East Village Promenade, the holiday season’s official kick-off event in the Historic East Village. Each December, for one night, shoppers descend upon the neighborhood to enjoy horse-drawn trolley rides, caroling, a tree lighting at Brenton Skating Plaza and a stroll around the neighborhood to visit with friends and enjoy the shops. (And cocktails. Guests also enjoy cocktails. Note: If you haven’t sampled one of local mixologist Jeff Naples’ holiday craft cocktails, you’re missing out.)

But there’s another wonderful time of the year to meander around the East Village to take in the vibrant dining, nightlife and especially the shopping, and that time is now. Because, spring! And for the shoppers who truly love the art of fashion design, the district offers a curated shopping experience by shop owners who put blood, sweat and tears, so to speak, into creating a space full of interesting finds one could only find at market in major cities.

The result is a relaxing atmosphere where shoppers can get some steps in while discovering new looks for the season and speak with shop owners about the significance of the pieces hanging on their racks.

Step into Look @ You, for example, and learn about the designer Ellie Vail, the former stylist turned jewelry designer who has styled celebrities like Sofia Vergara and Celine Dion and whose designs can now be found in more than 300 different retailers worldwide.

Or chat up Faythe and Sarah Dornink, the mother-daughter team who created full-scale fashion house Dornink, the couturier headquartered on Grand Avenue that specializes in customized, master dressmaking with the mission “to flatter all that is feminine.”

Newcomer to the scene, She, is owned by Sheila Sayre and Gina Owen, two female entrepreneurs who saw a need for unique pieces for the home as residential buildings began to pop up in the area. Much of their merchandise is created by artists, and you never know what kind of one-of-a-kind wall hanging or pillow will show up.

The East Village is a refreshing change of pace for the community of our city. Located between the Iowa State Capitol and the Des Moines River in Downtown Des Moines, the East Village is highly accessible by car, bike, DART bus or foot. The two new parking garages going up make shopping the district even easier to access.

Best of all, a promenade around the Historic East Village offers the chance to soak in some sun after the recent grueling winter while shopping local quality goods. It’s good for both you and our community.

One-stop shop be damned. ♦


Hat, $18 at Look @ You
Red tank by Last Tango, $38 at Look @ You
Red straw clutch by Derhy, $128 at Aimée
Belt, $24 at Wanderlust
Jeans by Hilary Radley, $120 at Look @ You
Espadrille sandal by Paloma Barcelo, $225 at Aimée
Iowa tote bag by Indigo Tangerine, $45 at She
Yellow woven earrings, $35 at Dornink
Red tassel by Coco + Carmen, $12 at Look @ You
Sunglasses by Coco + Carmen, $24 at Look @ You

Scarf by Inouitoosh, $114 at Velvet Coat
T-shirt by Vince, $85 at Velvet Coat
Pants by Carre Noir, $98 at Look @ You
Yellow sandal by Sol Sana, $100 at Aimée
Tote by Inouitoosh, $198 at Velvet Coat
Cuff bracelets, $16 each at Look @ You
Hat, $28 at Aimée

Clutch, $53 at Dornink
Dress by Current Air, $89 at Dornink
Cropped T-shirt, $20 at Dornink
Melon colored wrap, $54 at Wanderlust
Necklace, $57 at Dornink
Earrings, $48 at Look @ You
Shoes by Attilio Giusti Leombruni, $394 at Velvet Coat

Earrings, $42 at Dornink
Necklace, $24 at Look @ You
Bangles, $12 each at Look @ You
Shoes by Paloma Barcelo, $260 at Aimée
Wallet by Il Bisonte, $265 at Velvet Coat
Dress by English Factory, $138 at Dornink

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