These days, Yvonne LaFleur is known for many things in New Orleans shopping circles her expansive women's boutique and bridal salon (8131 Hampson St., 866-9666; www.yvonnelafleur.com), her custom-designed hats, her signature fragrance. But in the late '60s, when she first opened her store " then called You Boutique she was known for the $13.78 denim deal, which included a new pair of jeans, hemmed and altered at no extra cost.
"It was the first year girls in private schools were allowed to wear jeans," LaFleur says. "Moms loved that they could get new jeans for their daughters for such a great price."
Teenage girls and their mothers and women of every age in between still count on LaFleur to outfit them for sweet 16 parties, homecoming courts, proms, weddings and Mardi Gras balls.
"I have a great selection of one-of-a-kind dresses," LaFleur says. "If you go to a party, you're not going to see three people in the same dress."
However, she adds, there also is a certain continuity people have come to expect in the store, referring to her inventory of casual and career clothing accented by fine lingerie and stylish accessories.
"If you buy something one year, we can update it in the next year or season," LaFleur says. "If you can't afford a whole new wardrobe, sometimes a new jacket or a few great accessories will give you a new look with the things you already have."
LaFleur says she keeps up with the fashion world by reading trade publications rather than the fashion magazines found at the grocery store.
"I have a proactive view, rather than a reactive view. I think that's what puts our store on the cutting edge," she explains, adding that her goal is to help women dress in a feminine but very strong way. 'Confidence is sexy, and if you look good, you project that air of confidence."
LaFleur, a woman who has had rich experiences in the fashion world a clothing factory in New York, a catalog operation, even a television show always comes back to her first love, the art of millinery, which she learned from her aunt at a young age.
"Making a custom hat for someone on the spot is my favorite thing to do right now," she says. 'It's like a little work of art."
- "I think the fact that we have so many different types of merchandise and that we do alterations keeps our customers coming back," Yvonne LaFleur says of her namesake boutique.