34 E. Oak St., 2nd floor; 312-787-4696

Brides who picture themselves in an exquisite, handsewn Vera Wang gown used to be able to find the dress of their dreams in several of the city’s department stores. Then a new Vera Wang boutique opened on Oak Street, sleek and ultrawhite, stocked with a full bridal collection of about 75 gowns-plus such complements as bridesmaids’ dresses, lingerie, a fragrance line, and Wang’s gift registry. In a coup for owner Amanda Bonnell, the shop will soon be the exclusive Chicago retailer of Wang’s wedding dress collection (by early 2008, Wang will have pulled out of Macy’s on State Street; in the suburbs, Neiman Marcus in Oak Brook will still carry the gowns). Bonnell, who also owns Belle Vie Bridal Couture, can now add another jewel to her tiara: with designers like Amsale and Justina McCaffrey in her retail shop just a few floors up, she’s quickly turning 34 East Oak Street into a one-stop bridal shop.

Open by appointment only, the Vera Wang boutique stocks a full bridal collection in seven different aesthetics, from the “romantic” and the “modernist” collections to the “exhibitionist.” The gowns range from $2,500 to $7,500, but, with embellishments like multiple laces, can run up to $30,000. Regardless of whose dress she’s wearing, any bride can sign up for Wang’s gift registry, or browse the extensive invitation line. And while the woman of the hour chooses her Wedgwood and crystal, her doting entourage can browse through Wang’s signature fragrances ($45 to $95) and a new line of lingerie, expected to arrive in late summer.


Photography: Selena Salfen