Are you you suffering from spring fashion fatigue? Tuckered out from all those tired looks you've recycled the past few the years? Well, there's no better time to punch up a yawn-worthy wardrobe than the present! And the latest place to provide all the must-have pieces of the moment can be found nestled in the quaint and quiet community of Evanston. Gavin Boutique—arguably one of the best shopping additions in the past couple years—is finally getting the press it deserves throughout the city. Run by former European high fashion model Lauren Cavallo Runzo, the location of the tragically chic shop being outside Chicago proper was not an accident. On the contrary, Cavallo Runzo knew exactly what she was doing.
I caught up with her at the boutique on an unusually balmy spring evening. I was early and therefore perused the tightly stocked racks of S&B Vie, Wren, Karen Zambos Vintage Couture, Illia and Blank London, quickly falling in lust. The selection immediately seemed intentional, meticulous and carefully crafted in its diversity. No pigeon-holing here. Cavallo Runzo met me looking casually glamorous and explained she was packing for an Italian vacation that she was leaving for the next day. We sat down in the plush seating area, (an addition that not enough boutiques today include), underneath a pair of deer antlers that seemed to reign over the softly-lit space. And then we just talked.
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When asked about the concept behind the store, Cavallo Runzo said plainly that it was desperately needed. The area, she explained, lacked options for stylish women of any age to go shopping closer to home. She wanted to create a store that embodied the friendliness of the area with an up-to-date selection of the latest trends. And that meant including everything. "We didn't need another dress store," Cavallo Runzo says with a laugh, choosing instead to create a very thorough collection of separates, accessories, shoes and denim for her Gavin Boutique. "I wanted it to be edgy and unique, surrounding an in-between price-point," she explained. "I don't want to carry a pair of beige pants for $4,000 because that's not what we're about." And indeed it's not, as everything in the store retails for under $1,000 and, from my survey of the store, seems to be worth every penny.
Cavallo Runzo's expertise at spotting style comes from a lifetime of being entrenched in the industry. A graduate of Tulane University and daughter to a well-renown musician, the lithe athlete always loved to travel, working on her language skills in Spanish and French. It wasn't long before her exotic beauty landed her in the modeling industry, which moved her to France and placed her on the forefront of the European fashion scene. She eventually came back to her hometown of Evanston and now, with a family of six, she brings with her years of expertise and a carefully trained eye. In addition to the brands I initially saw, the boutique carries several of my other favorite labels like Gryphon, Alice+ Olivia and one of their most popular, Elizabeth and James. Jackets by William Rast and embellished tees from Torn by Sonny Hobo provide a funky edge to the group while silk blouses by Kimberly Taylor and Berlin bags (an exclusive line for the boutique) lend a sense of refinement and polish. "We get the best of each collection, every season" Cavallo Runzo says. And it shows.
Having solidified a reputation for their flawless taste, Cavallo Runzo and her stylists have also built up a report as being friendly and approachable to their ever growing clientele. They love to create a dialog with their customers on what best meets their needs. This can range from the shopper herself to the oft-accompanying male, for whom the seating area (and wide-screen tv behind the cash wrap) was included. Truly there is something here for everyone.
The remarkable inventory at Gavin Boutique is best witnessed in person, from the gleam of an Erickson Beamon cuff or Elizabeth Cole medallion to the myriad of denim washes they carry in Current/Elliot, Gold Sign and J Brand jeans . Luckily, the store is holding their Spring Retail Therapy in-store party TOMORROW NIGHT, April 22nd, from 6-9 p.m. Nibble on delicacies as you peruse the racks and snap up a 15% discount on your purchase. Cavallo Runzo will surely be there herself, resplendent in skinny jeans and chatting up in her friendly manner. Be sure to tell her on your way out that Alia from Second City Style says hi 🙂
Gavin Boutique carries Elizabeth Cole's adorable horoscope medallions (above), as well as jewelry from designers including Janice Savit, Mima and Erickson Beamon (below) I'm coveting that cuff on the right!!
Shop Gavin Boutique at Spring Retail Therapy, April 22 from 6-9 p.m.
1939 Central St., Evanston, IL. (847) 328-7407 http://www.shopgavin.com
Photo Source: Second City Style, Zapwater Communications