80 years of fashion
Jamie Pawlow, who was raised in Deerfield, has her Peacock Blue gown arranged by Allyson Bass, owner of Winnetka Frances Heffernan boutique. Bass resides in Glenview. Karie Angell Luc~for Sun-Times Media
Fall Trend Fashion Event 2012 (10.11.12)
Tickets are being sold to benefit Ronald McDonald House charities.
For more information, call 630-623-5300 or visit support.rmhccni.org/falltrend, or visit Facebook/PioneerPressGlenview.
Frances Heffernan is located at 810 E. Elm St. in Winnetka.
For more information, call 847-446-2112 or visit www.francesheffernan.com.
Updated: October 21, 2012 1:08PM
WINNETKA — To be an octogenarian is an accomplishment in itself.
To celebrate 80 years as an independent business and boutique in a challenging economy? Frances Heffernan of Winnetka at 810 Elm St. is doing just that.
“We’re celebrating our 80th anniversary, which I think is very unusual for anywhere in the country to have a store, an independent store, that has existed for 80 years,” said Allyson Bass, a Glenview resident. “We’re still growing, we’re still changing with the times, it’s still fun.
“We love when the goods come every day, we have customers who come back a couple times each week just to see what’s new because we’re always re-inventing ourselves.”
Bass, whose fashion career resumé includes time working in couture at stores in Highland Park and Northbrook, shares boutique ownership with Maggie Barrett, of Winnetka.
Barrett took over the store 22 years ago with Bass joining Frances Heffernan 12 years after that.
“We’re in a wonderful community that services us, and we have people drive the 45 minutes up the highway (from Chicago) to come and see us because we’re so unique,” said Bass.
The store’s buyer and in-house fashion model is Jamie Pawlow, of Chicago, who was raised in Deerfield and is a 1997 Deerfield High School graduate.
This season’s colors include the traditional autumnal tones, such as deep harvest grape.
“There’s a lot of color, and our customers love color. There are a few trends, the plums, the purples and those wonderful jewel tones that make it so fun,” Pawlow said.
Scarves are a hot item to frame the face with a splash of harvest tones.
“There’s actually a lot of chunky fun jewelry to add to the cleanness of the clothes.
“Things were delicate for a long time, now there are fun pieces (including handbags),” said Bass.
Frances Heffernan opened in 1932 as a Winnetka fashion destination under the guidance of Frances Heffernan herself.
Considered a grande dame of the local couture scene, Heffernan provided upscale clothing in a salon setting which made women feel they were experiencing fashion in a living room setting.
Comfortable settees and art-adorned walls offered a backdrop where women considering purchasing gowns designed by Pauline Trigere, Bill Blass and Oscar de la Renta.
After Heffernan died in 1981, the store was bequeathed to her family. Barrett purchased the boutique after that.
Nearly 5,000 square feet of space features designers such as Rena Lange, Bogner, Lida Baday, Carmen Mark Valvo, Réne Lezard, Piazza Sempione, Charles Chang Lima, Akris Black Label, Brunello Cucinelli of Italy and others.
A peacock blue gown designed by Rafael Cennamo is one sapphire example of a jewel piece this season.
One of the latest developments at Frances Heffernan is the addition of shoe and handbag lines.
“We’re very excited about that,” said Bass.
Of helping customers seek their own personal styles: “We kind of walk around and get to know them,” said Bass, who is also proud of the next door Frannie retail venue, which caters to a youthful clientele.