Story by Marianne Salza
The Beacon Hill Women’s Forum (BHWF) held its 2023 Charles Street Couture for the first time since 2019 on May 9 at the Hampshire House. Curated collections from eight, local boutiques were exhibited: Crush, East Coast Ivy, Helen’s Leather Shop, J. McLaughlin, Sara Campbell Limited, Soodee, Phoebe Jon, and Remy Creations.
“The Charles Street Couture fashion show was created with two simple goals – to foster a personal relationship with proud women owners, and to encourage our membership to shop local,” said Lisa Macalaster, BHWF Founder, who modeled the CB Mogo mid-calf dress from Remy Creations. “I never realized how a fashion show could spark so much joy in a room full of women. There was a warm, happy sense of community.”
Macalaster believes that unique clothing stores are one of the facets that make Beacon Hill a charming place to live.
Charles Street Couture Chair Gracey Wilson settled in Beacon Hill two years ago and was thrilled for the fashion show’s return.
“I took a chance and joined the Forum, and it’s been such a wonderful part of my life since,” said Wilson, who wore a sleek, black shirt dress from Soodee. “I’m grateful for new friends, opportunities to explore my neighborhood, and the sense of place that comes from connecting locally.”
Boutique owners and staff, like Caitlyn DiCillo, of Helen’s Leather, were happy to support one another in a fun environment.
“Seeing all of the outfits that have been put together from the other stores is a great way to empower local boutiques,” said DiCillo, Helen’s granddaughter and employee of the leather store that has been in business for 53 years.
East Coast Ivy, which sells trendy and classic clothing, shoes, and accessories, has been open for two years; and owner, Greta Belsole, was eager to partake in the fashion show.
“Being able to collaborate with the other designers at the fashion show was fun,” said Belsole. “It brought everyone together.”
Crush, which sells sophisticated and whimsical fashions, displayed a selection of floral, summer outfits in soft whites and blues that represented nautical, New England.
“We wanted to feature casual dresses for everyday life that could be transformed with different accessories for more formal events,” said Rebecca Hall, Co-Owner of Crush. “I think the show went fabulously well. It was a delight to have local store owners and community members gather for the event after the three-year hiatus. It was a positive experience with a lot of great energy.”
The team at Sara Campbell Limited, which provides garments designed and manufactured in Boston and New York, was excited to be included in Charles Street Couture.
“What a wonderful evening. The show was beautiful and the pieces featured were stunning,” said Alex Adams, Marketing Coordinator, Sara Campbell Limited. “It was nice to be surrounded by incredible women and businesses coming together to support one another. The Beacon Hill Women’s Forum did a fantastic job.”
The colorful prints of Remy Creations offer a sense of being on a tropical vacation.
“Seeing the bright, bold dresses come to life was fun,” said Remy Stressenger, Owner of Remy. “I wanted to show what we are known for.”
Soodee features cutting edge fashions with an international flair. Owner Diane Agoun modeled a black and white, satin, sleeveless kimono fit and flare dress. Agoun believes that Soodee attire represents the fashion of Beacon Hill: classic and elegant.
“It was a timeless piece. I call it a floral coat dress because it’s two pieces that can be worn individually as a coat or dress,” described Agoun. “Beacon Hill is a great neighborhood supporting each other. It feels nice to be a part of it. I appreciate the opportunity.”
Karen Fabbri served as the master of ceremonies for the 2023 Charles Street Couture. Amy Bailey, of Townhouse Beauty Bar, perfected models’ makeup and hair; and Susan Symonds, of Mainframe Photographics, captured images of the chic festivities.