After spending a little too much time at Neiman Marcus, Saks Fifth Avenue and Tootsies looking for dresses her clients could wear to engagement parties and bridal showers, Casa de Novia owner Luvi Wheelock had a revelation. Why not skip the shopping trips and instead, outfit clients with dresses from her own store?
There was just one problem.
Wheelock didn’t actually have a ready-to-wear boutique. But she did own a lovely bridal store filled with modern wedding gowns by Oscar de la Renta, Monique Lhuillier and Angel Sanchez. And there was an airy, light-filled space in the back of her River Oaks boutique. It took all of about two seconds for Wheelock to decide that she had everything necessary for a new venture.
And Atrium Ready-To-Wear was born.
“It was a very easy transition. I’m excited about the decision and the chance to give women ultimate luxury,” Wheelock says. She’s so committed to service on a silver platter that she’s giving clients the opportunity to buy right off the runway.
Her collection of designers include Prabal Gurung, winner of the 2010 CFDA Vogue Fashion Fund award, who make a personal appearance at Atrium April 19 and Yigal Azrouel. The cocktail dresses Wheelock is drawn to definitely keep to the fresh aesthetic she is after. A fitted white Prabal Gurung dress ($3,350) that looks a bit like shredded wheat hangs on one rack while an orange Yigal Azrouel cutout dress ($1,095) is on another. Wheelock has also some sparkly, beaded numbers, sophisticated frocks and a few resort pieces for a range of occasions.
She also wants to showcase designers on the rise that haven’t hit the mainstream yet. And although she doesn’t carry Vera Wang bridal gowns, Wheelock will soon add Wang’s RTW collection to Atrium, plus Viktor & Rolf and Angel Sanchez. Shoppers do enter through Casa de Novia, but Wheelock likens the experience to going through different departments at larger stores.
“There’s nothing missing in Houston, but I just wanted to add a little touch of something extra,” Wheelock says.