Bling is the Thing
At the Bling Boutique second launch party on Saturday night the fashions were rocking and the party was hopping.
Bentleys? Pulsating dance music? Red carpet photos being snapped of men in slick suits and women in short black dresses?
Lavish hors d'oeuvres? Models? Was this really Saturday night in South Braintree Square?
The event was at the aptly named Bling Boutique, a fashion-forward yet tasteful new clothing store where the only thing trendier than the partygoers were the jeans, jewelry and bags being sold.
Owner/stylist Nadine Aniello's boutique may have opened six months ago, but this was its official coming out party, and though the night gave off an air of opulence, she sees her shop as an elixir to the haute couture prices of upscale big city shops.
"We have $18 rings, $18 jewelry, $22 to $34 bracelets… all the hottest designer jeans on the market, like Miss Me, Rock Revival and Citizens of Humanity, plus designer shirts and dresses for under $100," Aniello said from the red carpet, which, fittingly, was actually black.
"That's the key to the whole thing," she said. "The South Shore girl doesn't have to go into Boston or New York. I bring SoHo to Braintree."
After navigating the media throng outside, guests were immediately hit by the flashing multicolored lights and the rhythms of DJ Mr. Sensae, who kept the funky mood going with his mix of 1980s, disco, hip hop and techno music -- plus the three mannequins and white Vespa that adorned the entrance, which declared "Santa Monica Boulevard" more than "Washington Street."
The event also celebrated the premiere of an episode of MTV's show Is She Really Going Out With Him, which was previously filmed at the shop.
Run by Jet Set Events, the night's menu was extravagant, including balsamic onion toasts with blue cheese and steamed mussels from nearby Sintra Restaurant, along with an open bar flowing with wines, beer and cocktails.
The three fitting rooms were even busier than the servers.
Women "oohed" and "cooed" at the tops, coats, and jeans as they moved from the racks to the fitting rooms in a giddy tittup.
Clothes flew off the shelves as more and more invitees -- this was an invitation-only event -- streamed in until the store was bursting and bustling with hundreds of partiers.
And they brought the love. Smiles and a family atmosphere abounded as Aniello, glamorously clad in a shimmering silver dress, happily greeted guest after guest.
A demure blown-up photo from her recent appearance in South Shore Magazine belied the attention she soon received, first posing for photographers on the Vespa, then being interviewed under the bright lights of Dirty Water TV.
Groups of girls of all ages in splashy dresses danced on the cow skin rugs as men in fedoras and velvet jackets coolly scanned the proceedings.
The only hiccup of the night ensued when the bathroom door was locked from the outside. Luckily a beefy bouncer, straight out of central casting, jimmied the door open.
But the night was not totally given over to extravagance, it also had a conscience. A silent auction to benefit Kyleigh's Cure, an organization that funds Galactosemia research, drew plenty of bidders.
Attendees made generous offers on items such as tickets to Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots games, an overnight package to Mohegan Sun and gift certificates to the Pembroke Country Club and Jai Yoga.
Three members of the United States Marine Corps, looking sharp in their dress uniforms, were also there to collect various playthings for the Toys For Tots program.
The night a rousing success, Aniello said, but also just the beginning.
After graduating college with a degree in fashion, she spent 15 years traveling the country, working in the furniture buying business, before returning to her hometown to pursue her passion.
She has plans to expand to a second location soon, where she will likely bring the same personal touch to the oft-confusing and intimidating world of fashion, working privately with customers to find just the right look.
Aniello said she knows that fashion isn't about breaking the bank to look good but rather "it's about having a well-edited selection of key pieces and knowing how to put it all together," as she recounts on her website.
Having keen insight into the female mind, Aniello welcomes and accommodates groups.
"We have Girls Night Out and Sip and Shops," she said. "Bring four or more girls and we'll close the store for a private party… and give discounts."
With a strong sense of who she is and where she wants to go, Aniello is now at the vanguard of South Shore fashion.
"My boutique is fabulous," she said. "Rocking styles."