When it Comes to Designer Bridal Gowns, few Shops can Hold a Candle to Chic Parisien. And you thought you had to Travel to France for the Best
By Kim Rodriguez//Photos by Cyn. Zarco
Chic Parisien is a family owned high-end bridal boutique that has called Coral Gables its home for 49 years. It is a mecca of beautiful bridal dresses and accessories that has blushing brides from all over the globe swooning for their appointments to view exclusive dresses from both domestic and international designers, all housed here in this local institution.
Originally called Frances Novias, Chic Parisien was founded by Frances and Emilio Fox. It was a small “mom and pop” bridal store that became a thriving business in a tough and capricious industry. Their success eventually moved them to Miracle Mile, where within a few years of their 1976 arrival they were followed by other bridal boutiques. Chic Parisien, in fact, helped pave the way for Miracle Mile to become what has been fondly called “the street for brides” or “bridal row” for decades. It is still today an area synonymous with bridal fashion and accessories, though inhabited by far fewer boutiques.
In 2007, after having eclipsed the traditional bridal boutique category, Chic Parisien itself left The Mile and relocated. Today it grandly sits on Ponce de Leon Boulevard, not too far from its original home, and is now owned by the founder’s daughter Catherine Fox Milian.
“It wasn’t necessarily what I was going to do. I was never pressured to go into the family business,” says Milian, who grew up in her parent’s store helping on the weekends. “It just kind of happened when my mom said she wanted to retire. So, I bought the business from her when I was 23 years old. There was no grand plan, but I realized ‘I can do this.’ I was good at it.” When you visit her store and speak to her about the industry and her growing business, you understand why she is good at it – and why Chic Parisian will be celebrating its 50-year anniversary in May 2019.
As the footprint of the metropolis expands, there are bridal boutiques scattered all over Greater Miami. So, what brings the brides here? Chic Parisien stands apart from the rest for good reasons.
They have exclusivity on several designer brands, such as Monique Lhuillier, Ines Di Santo, Berta, Inbar Dror, and Mira Zwillinger, and they host weekend trunk shows where they feature one designer brand for a few days. Consequently, a bride can focus on a brand she loves and see a full collection of what the designer does, not just a few pieces. Of course, on any given day a bride can go in and be shown all the dresses that fit her style and budget, from one of the largest wedding gown collections in the country.
There was no grand plan, but I realized ‘I can do this.’
Among their other attributes, Chic Parisien has a full-time, in-house alterations department that can turn around your dress within days, not weeks or months. Any bride- to-be can appreciate what this means. Another savvy business move was to open a “one-off outlet” next door, with off-the-rack designer gowns and brides maid dresses selling at 40% to 60% off retail. This is great for a bride who may have couture taste but not the budget, or who is getting married fairly quickly and needs a wedding dress asap.
Some bridal boutiques offer their version of “white glove” service but Chic Parisien goes beyond. They have just started their VIP experience by appointment only, for all of you soon-to-be beautiful brides.
Kim Rodriguez is a Personal Stylist and Shopper whose clients include many Coral Gables residents. krpersonalstyle.com