Vintage is a Royal’s Best Friend
The Vicomtesse of Vintage, Laurie Davis, an unparalleled legend in the period jewelry world, possesses an almost messianic ability to attract a coterie of ladies I’ll call the Chicago Royals.
The Royals are an exceptionally fashionable group of women whose raison d’être in life is the purchase, care of, and display, most often on ample bosoms, of exquisite vintage jewelry: bracelets, necklaces, earrings and brooches. They’re like a major league vintage jewelry team, hitting home runs with anything new the Vicomtesse may present at her chic boutique. It’s always a sunny day at the ballpark for the Chicago Royals.
There are three groups, or “farm clubs,” of the Chicago Royals:
The Real Royals (RRs),
The Soon-To-Be-Royals (SBRs), and,
The Never-Be-Royals (NBRs)
Since 2003, their “ballpark” has been Laurie’s extraordinary vintage salon, LuLu’s at the Belle Kay, located at 3862 N. Lincoln Ave. There, the Vicomtesse has earned the reputation for being one of the country’s top vintage purveyors, carrying an exceptional selection of jewelry from the 1920s through the 1980s as well as an edited collection of special occasion dresses, gowns, furs, hats and handbags.
On Monday, March 5, Laurie opened a second store, LuLu’s on the Avenue, located on the third floor of the 900 North Michigan Shops. What a beautiful addition to her vintage kingdom!
Imagine Gene Kelly’s garret in An American in Paris: that size with a little more breathing room. Now, imagine his garret filled with sparkling glass cases chockablock full of the most enchanting vintage jewelry as well as designs from a handpicked group of contemporary jewelry designers: Iradj Moini, Larry Vrba and Roni Blanshay. The Vicomtesse will debut a line of her own “Signature LuLu’s” statement necklaces featuring vintage jewelry centerpieces, which she has been collecting for more than 30 years, hanging from vintage cabochon chains.
All three farm clubs of the Chicago Royals attended the Vicomtesse’s champagne and sweets opening night party: RRs Sherrill Bodine, Mary Lasky, Dr. Stacie McClane, Rochelle Trotter, Sherry Lea Holson, blonder-than-blond Darby Hills, Hazel Barr, Gerri Shute, Myra Reilly, Eileen Weinberg, Natasha Isaacs and Lisa Malkin. If that’s not enough for one tiny garret, more glamour arrived with Susanna Negovan, Kate Shifrin, Michael Crowley, Genine Shafer, Laura Kofoid, and Michigan Avenue magnates J.P. Anderson and Publisher Dan Uslan.
One NBR, sporting a rhinestone pin that looked like a bouquet of roses on steroids, kept rushing up to every RR she knew with a kiss-kiss and an anxious glance at one of the half-dozen photographers sweltering beneath their strobe lights. When will she ever learn?
Champagne flowed, and the shiny, sparkling ladies who break a Bunky’s Cookie into centimeter pieces and take one bite, beamed. The indefatigable Vicomtesse and her team of confederates could be found behind the cash register, the “cha-chinging” of each sale amplifying sonorously as the evening went on.
And Laurie’s smile? Wider and wider.
All photos by Frankie de Guzman