Sipping in Spring at the DRESSBAR

“The Right Dress Has Transformational Powers” claims the beginning of the ” wall mantra” at DRESSBAR a pop-up shop and spin-off of Dressbarn, launched on lower Fifth Avenue (102 Fifth) last night featuring an exclusive line: LUXE by Carmen Marc Valvo. CMV, previously known for his flashy red carpet designs  was there in the flesh doing the meet and greet along with his seven-piece-dress collection of mostly floral and a few pleated polyester frocks priced from $42 to $70. The store will be open for business today accompanied by a major national ad campaign celebrating the femininity, fun, and functionality of the dress. Further store prototypes are expected to be added in the fall.

“The Scene”

“Who needs an N?” read the cocktail waiter’s black t-shirt in a drollery on the fledgling bird leaving the (n)est or maybe the (clothes) horse leaving the (dress)barn. In fact, DRESSBAR wants you to forget all about its humble suburban-strip-mall parent company and plug into its younger, hipper, and slick digital in-store experience courtesy of integrated iPads that help you select a dress by occasion or mood: date night, GNO or that “look at me now” reunion weekend. Yes, they are working hard to convince you that this is not your mother’s Dressbarn but rather a boutique or “curated collection of dresses that includes exclusive design collaborations with notable and trusted names in fashion.” Other “name” dress collections include MiXT by Heidi Weisel, Lovely by Adrianna Papell and dbRSVP by the db Fashion Studio as well as a jewelry collection from Celeste and Satu Greenberg of Tuleste called TRUE and priced between $10 and $29.50.

Carmen Marc Valvo posing in front of his dresses

The event’s atmosphere was very welcoming and spring-like with hanging flowering branches everywhere further enhanced by soft pastel lighting in the double height loft- like space. Prosecco and candy colored cocktails flowed and tiny squares of salmon and avocado were passed on long rectangular trays. Everything about the event was melded together very synergistically thanks to Linda Gaunt of LGC. Mr. Valvo, dressed all in black, happily posed for photos and even complimented me on my Yoana Baraschi dress (maybe Ms. Baraschi should think about a DB collab). Other notable attendees included Teri Agins and Robert Verdi in a “Sgt. Pepper/band leader/Gopher on the Love Boat” jacket.

Buy Now! “100 Unforgettable Dresses” at

Fashion illustrations were being created in watercolor of and for guests which is something that no fashion party seems complete without recently. One large wall and focal point showed a slide show of projected pages from the book “100 Unforgettable Dresses” by Hal Rubinstein which I found quite interesting. The book features many iconic dresses such as J. Lo’s infamous green print Grammy’s Versace, Julia Roberts vintage Valentino Academy Award dress, and Princess Diana’s black off-the-shoulder “Revenge” dress to mention just a few. I was thrilled to find that this fashion tome was the goodie bag take home treat of the evening along with a bouquet of fresh Margarita daisies from the “florist” station by the door, providing a much needed taste of early springtime cheer even if was just a prelude to yet another snowstorm.

Laurel Marcus

OG journo major who thought Strunk & White's "The Elements of Style" was a fashion guide. Desktop comedienne -- the world of fashion gives me no shortage of material.

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