Behind the denim and diamonds is a fashion-forward city well-worth discovering. By Erin Donnelly
Sure, its true: The birthplace of Neiman Marcus is known for its denim and diamonds and equally teased-out fashion sensibility. And while those Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders aren't about to relinquish their white fringe and short-shorts anytime soon, the city has come a long, long way from Pam and Sue Ellen's shoulder pads. New boutiques in and around the trendier Oak Lawn neighborhood, which encompasses the upscale Uptown area and new Victory Park retail development, have brought with them an influx of fresh, forward-thinking and independent labels that are paving the way for a younger, decidedly edgier Dallas. From eclectic vintage outposts and emerging local designers to trendsetting boutiques and post-shopping rest-stops, we've got your guide to discovering Dallas in a whole new way.
This vintage store occupies a house that's been registered as a historical landmark dating back to the 1870s, and while the women's clothes and accessories stashed inside aren't quite as old, there's definitely some time travel involved. From 1950s prom dresses to retro jumpsuits, the quirky offerings here are in keeping with the shop's infectiously funky vibe. There's also a fantastic collection of vintage shoes, handbags, jewelry, and sunglasses.
• Dolly Python, 1916 N. Haskell Avenue; 214-887-3434
A beloved staple of the new Dallas shopping scene, this madcap vintage store is home to 16 dealers ("brocanteurs") who restock their wares daily. The store's 2,600-square-feet house a dizzying display of bizarre-but-covetable bric-a-brac, antiques, clothing, and, naturally, a collection of belt buckles and cowboy boots. Affordable finds abound against a backdrop of spray-painted murals: fur-trimmed coats, '60s-era Pucci-esque bikinis and snakeskin sandals, vintage rock T-shirts, and the like. Of special note is jewelry from local designer Ren 7 Smith, who refashions vintage pieces--watch fobs, glass beads, gold chains, etc.--into one-of-a-kind necklaces.
Andy Bayer and Doug Voisin's House of Dang! label is heavy on color-saturated, retro-inspired pieces, and the same can be said of their showroom/vintage shop/work studio. The duo's playful separates--for which they were recently awarded a STITCH grant benefitting indie upstarts--hangs from a clothesline in the center of the shop, buttressed by annexes for offbeat gifts, mod furniture, vintage shoes and accessories, and designs from local up-and-comers like Amber Bordelon and Lisa Lindholm. The store also hosts biweekly free movie nights on a projector screen in the backyard (BYOB).
There's a reason why they call this sprawling, 30,000-square-foot space the Lifestyle Fashion Terminal. The massive, year-old boutique encompasses a hair salon, a tailor, several mini-boutiques, a housewares department, a waterfall, and, soon, a café. Along with young runway darlings like Rag & Bone, Preen, Vena Cava, and Ruffian, LFT gives shelf space to smaller labels like Ever, Whistle & Flute, Hanii Y., Mission, Lover, Rhys Dufen, and Brynn Ison, cultivating a style that's as refreshingly hip as the vibrant Hackney-esque mural on its wall.
Scratch the surface of this luxury department offshoot--a grandiose, Italian-style courtyard and fountain separates it from the prestigious Stanley Korshak mothership--and you'll unearth cool labels like Elizabeth & James, Thomas Wylde, Alexander Wang, Boessert-Schorn, Decollete, and Brooklyn-based jewelry designer Thea Grant mixed in with hot-off-the-runway looks from Diane von Furstenberg, and 3.1 Phillip Lim. The Shak also boasts a standout denim section and a wall devoted to basic cotton tanks and T-shirts in every shade imaginable.
Opened last November by a trio of friends, V.O.D. (short for 'Valley of the Dolls') has quickly surfaced as the go-to spot for insider faves and hard-to-find labels. Co-owner Jackie Bollin, a former fashion editor for the Dallas Morning News, says that V.O.D. looks for lines that aren't available anywhere else in Dallas, resulting in a well-edited line-up that includes Isabel Marant, Biba, Magda Berliner, Anne Velerie Hash, Zero, A.P.C., Bruce, and Mayle. Erin Wasson's LowLuv jewelry line for Alexander Wang's runway show, straw Mühlbauer fedoras, Pauric Sweeney handbags, and Dice Kayek sandals are also on offer in the petite but inviting space. The boutique's Archive Vintage collection--a collaboration with ArchiveVintage.com curated by the former manager of New York City's Resurrection--reveals long-lost treasures from the likes of Chanel, Alaia, and YSL, along with Victorian-era jewelry.
A trip to Texas isn't complete without a massive, juicy steak in your belly (sorry, vegetarians). This original Bob's location serves up sizzling, toaster-sized steaks in a tasteful, über-masculine atmosphere. Rumor has it that Ruffian's Brian Wolk and Claude Morais dine here when they're in town.
Perched at the top of the W's 33-floor high-rise building, this hip haunt hosts Dallas's movers and shakers, along with the occasional celebutante. The club's standout feature is its sky-high glass ghostdeck, a stunning but vertigo-inducing spot with stellar views.
Wrap up an intense Victory Park shopping sweep with a $4 happy hour margarita and some made-to-order guacamole at this trendy Tex-Mex escape.
Behind the denim and diamonds is a fashion-forward city well-worth discovering.