In this blog… Meet Audrey Lewis & discover what we’re loving right now at eloise!
AUDREY LEWIS is now at the helm of eloise; a beloved Cville style institution. She will be continuing the eloise tradition of blending classic, comfortable designs with more whimsical edge, bringing in her own personal style and some new designers she discovered recently at New York Fashion Week. She is a wife, mother, fashion-lover, avid traveler, and trendsetter, who is passionate about her Charlottesville home.
I basically get to spend my day having fun encounters with women – new friends and old – helping them find something that makes them feel beautiful or stylish, or that perfectly fills a hole in their wardrobe. That’s a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon…
GET TO KNOW AUDREY…
Tell us a little bit about yourself… I feel like Charlottesville is my hometown. My husband, John, and I moved here with our three children in 2003, and it’s where I feel the strongest connection to friends and community.
My professional background was in national policy and international development before I got married. I then spent 16 years raising our kids, learning to cook, and engaging in volunteer work.
What is your background in fashion and what brought you to eloise: As our kids got older, I started looking for something to engage in further. I really wanted to work again but wasn’t sure what to do. Some friends encouraged me to open a clothing store because of my great interest in fashion and that idea stuck and grew over time.
I knew I would love learning to run a small business – the numbers side of it and the buying – but had no idea how much I would love sales. I basically get to spend my day having fun encounters with women – new friends and old – helping them find something that makes them feel beautiful or stylish, or that perfectly fills a hole in their wardrobe. That’s a pretty nice way to spend an afternoon.
I co-owned another store for a couple of years before coming to eloise this past August. I’ve really enjoyed getting to know the brands and customers here and have a great appreciation for the business that the former owners built up over time. It’s easy to see why eloise is considered such an institution in Charlottesville, and I’m thrilled to be a part of it going forward.
A favorite indulgence: A matinee. I love movies, and going in the middle of the day when there are so many other things I should be doing just feels super indulgent to me.
An unmissable element of a perfect day: Sharing a cocktail with my husband and good friends at the end of the day, preferably somewhere with a view of the Blue Ridge Mountains.
A memorable fashion experience: Being in Paris, just by chance, during Fashion Week many years ago. We spent two nights at the Hotel Ritz, and there were designers, models, buyers and journalists buzzing in and out of the hotel constantly, all dressed incredibly. It was an amazing spectacle.
The best gift you’ve ever received: My husband is a great gift-giver, so it’s hard to narrow it down to one. But I remember when I was pregnant with our third child, chasing around our 2 year old and baby, John gave me a black leather jacket for my birthday. I couldn’t have felt less hip or stylish at that time in my life, and I was so grateful that he still saw that side of me.
The best advice you’ve ever received: Be alert.
Your daily uniform: My friend Brigid says I have two style personas. She named them “Lady Lewis” and “DJ Stiletto”. I think I channel the former more frequently and love to wear midi pencil skirts with a silk blouse or t-shirt and very high platform shoes. When I’m feeling a little more rock ‘n roll, I’ll sport skinny jeans or leather pants, a t-shirt, jacket, and again, very high heels or ankle boots.
I have two style personas….
“Lady Lewis” and “DJ Stiletto”
A splurge that is well worth it: The current splurges I’m considering include a necklace by The Woods and a fabulous Henry Cuir bag I ordered for S/S ’15. I think what defines a splurge as “worth it” is both the level of joy it gives you and its endurance in your life.
A must-have travel item: My 11” MacBook Air and a Faliero Sarti scarf
A Charlottesville hidden gem: I’m not sure there’s an unknown gem in Charlottesville; word gets around in this town. (Thanks to THE SCOUT GUIDE!) My favorite haunts are Mas and the bar/terrace at Keswick Hall.
If you didn’t have to work today, you would: Sleep in and then go to that aforementioned matinee with a girlfriend or one of my kids.
Your best beauty advice/product: My friends and 17 year old daughter would laugh out loud if I tried to answer this question. I feel proud if I remember to put moisturizer on my face and have had the same make-up routine for 10 years. I’m the worst with beauty products.
An important source of inspiration: Music
A song that instantly puts you in a good mood: Hard to name just one : Son’s Gonna Rise by Citizen Cope, Yellow Ledbetter by Pearl Jam, Stay by DMB, See the World by Gomez, Close to Me by the Cure…I could go on, and on, and on.
How did you make your first dollar? I had a Kool-Aid stand when I was around 10. We lived across the street from a lake, and there was no source for food or drinks on our side of the lake and lots of people biking, walking, riding. It was a virtual gold mine.
What are your top 3 trends for F/W 2014? I love fall. It’s so fun to layer up with sweaters, scarves, and boots, and you can create lots of outfits using the same key pieces in different ways.
Top 3 Fall Fashion Trends:
Statement overcoats, (Smythe, Alice & Olivia, Giarda Forte) colored fur (Giada Forte and Alice & Olivia) and ponchos (Nili Lotan, Ulla Johnson, Kinross Cashmere and White + Warren) are all big trends in outerwear this fall.
Instead of the coated/faux leather look that was happening a lot in the past two fall/winter seasons, I’m seeing designers using genuine leather a lot, but often just on the sleeves or front panel of a dress (A.L.C, Rebecca Taylor and Vince), or a trim detail on a blazer (Helmut Lang), thus getting that edgy feel minus the huge price tag.
Shades of blue. No surprise that navy is strong this fall, but I’m also seeing powder blue (taking the lead from Gucci runway) in Humanoid, Equipment and Athè by Vanessa Bruno, royal blue in Apiece Apart, and every shade in-between in lines like CP Shades, Closed, and otto d’Ame.
What are you most looking forward to bringing to eloise? I love the eloise brands and am still very much in a “watch and learn” phase. The spring/summer collections I saw in New York this past September were amazing, and I’m excited for all the pretty dresses and cool denim that will be arriving in early 2015. One style element that I like in my wardrobe and didn’t feel was fully represented at the store is a more structured /fitted dress silhouette. A lot of designers seem to be trending that way right now so it was easy to bring that style in the mix with everything else. I also found a couple of new brands which I think will sit very nicely with what is currently represented in eloise.
How would you describe Charlottesville’s fashion sense? I think people here have a great sense of style and are really aware of fashion trends. Charlottesville is casually cool during the day, but my women friends are constantly impressing me with the fabulous dresses and outfits they put together for dinner parties and evenings out. The men often step it up a notch as well with beautiful shirts and well-cut sport coats. It’s a fun place to live if you love fashion because you won’t feel self-conscious if you dress up or push the envelope a bit.
What are you most looking forward to wearing to a holiday party? An Alasdair dress. I love this small fashion house out of Brooklyn. Everything is deceptively simple and just so well tailored. This fall is the first season we’ve had the line in eloise and there’s been a great reception.
What organizations in Charlottesville are you passionate about? I was on the Grants Committee for the Charlottesville Area Community Foundation for 10 years. That was my very favorite volunteer job because it gave me insight to all the good works going on in Charlottesville and the surrounding counties. Through my work there I gained great appreciation for The Charlottesville Police Foundation, Lighthouse, the Women’s Initiative, and the Boys and Girls Club, I also learned about what models our local chapters of the International Refugee Committee and Habitat for Humanity are for the rest of the country, doing innovative work and striving to reach new heights beyond their stated charter. Lastly, I am a big fan of the Virginia Film Festival. We are so lucky to have the level of arts we do in our small city!
IT’S EASY TO SEE WHY ELOISE IS CONSIDERED SUCH AN INSTITUTION IN CHARLOTTESVILLE, AND I’M THRILLED TO BE A PART OF IT GOING FORWARD.
SCOUTED AT ELOISE
CLASSIC FAVORITES – BASICS, SWEATERS, THE NEWEST DENIM STYLES
PARTY DRESSES! LACE, RICH FALL HUES, SPARKLE, LEATHER… BASIC OR BOLD, ELOISE HAS SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE AND EVERY OCCASION.
JEWELRY FROM THE WOODS AND LOCALS, MI OSSA
MY FAVORITE BOOTIES AND CHECKER SHIRT WITH EDGE
BEAUTIFUL HOLIDAY GIFT IDEAS
THE BEST OF THE BASICS: SOFTEST T’S, DENIM, STYLISH SWEATS, HANDBAGS…
HEAD TO TOE, LOVE THE TEXTURES: FUR & LEATHER
DIVINE COATS. IT’S IN THE DETAILS… THIS F/W, YOUR COAT IS MUCH MORE THAN SIMPY WARMTH.
THE BEST SELECTION OF BOOTIES
WINTER TEXTURES: LACE, QUILTED, SHEARLING, PAINTED…
Go see Audrey at the “new” eloise, and…
TELL THEM SCOUT SENT YOU.