Photos: Matthew Gilson
The Destination: White Chicago, 222 West Huron Street; 312-397-1571
The Owner: For her own wedding three years ago, the ad executive Ursula Guyer, 37, searched for a spectacular secondhand frock to allow a larger budget for flowers, though she ended up buying a new gown. Building on her experience, Guyer brings together pristine designer samples and once-worn dresses to sell at 30 to 70 percent off retail prices.
The Vibe: In a sexy salon that’s so glossily white it’s almost otherworldly, brides-to-be sashay down the 16-foot-long runway leading to wide, floor-to-ceiling front and side mirrors, which allow views in an architectural context. Grooms can read in the store’s library of wedding planning resources or hang out in the kitchen and sip wine.
The Goods: Guyer accepts dresses that are in like-new condition, worn only once within the past few years with original pricing over $2,000-like her own Romona Keveza size 8 white mermaid gown, which retailed for $4,100 and will sell for $2,460. Preferring impeccable pedigrees, she requests that an original receipt accompany all consigned pieces (from which she takes a 50-percent cut) and will gladly show them to interested buyers. Guyer contacts designers to lure samples like a never-worn Alice Padrul silk shantung dress with organza trim and Swarovski crystals (retails for $2,400, priced here at $1,680). We also spotted a Vera Wang ivory silk/satin sheath with a mandarin neckline ($1,000).
The Verdict: A fresh, elegant approach to a truly interactive bridal experience.