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A New Boutique as Distinctive as its Owner

Louise Abbinanti is not your typical baby-boomer.  She drives a red truck, wears 4-inch high cage boots, jets to New York City to scout the latest fashions and just last summer–in the middle of one of the worst recessions this country has seen–decided it was time to follow her dream and open her own boutique clothing store in the heart of the Hertel Avenue entertainment district.  She had me at the cage boots.

I first met Louise at last year’s Mercedes Benz Fashion Weekend with swarms of people surrounding her booth.  A new boutique had arrived on Hertel and it was creating quite a buzz.  Taking a look at the merchandise laid out–a mix of clothing and accessories–I could see why.  It was hip, fun, stylish, unique–all of the qualities a boutique should be.  I immediately decided Buffalo Rising readers needed to have an introduction to this store.

Located next to Empire Grill on the corner of Norwalk and Hertel, DeJá Lu is a contemporary boutique with a lot of charm. It’s bright and inviting, with sitting areas in both the front and back ends of the store (ladies – perfect for that chivalrous guy holding your shopping bags to take a load off or for your mom to get a good look at you from every angle).

The shop offers a wide array of both formal and casual wear, ranging from dresses to jeans, jewelry to leggings, clutches to handbags, jackets to tops and just about everything else in between.  There are a number of top designers amongst the racks, including Victoria Beckham, Nicole Miller, Black Halo, True Religion, Nine Lives and Joe’s Jeans.  While bringing some of the trendy, popular designers to Buffalo is important to her, Louise takes great pride in promoting some of the local design talent: Little Bow Peep Designs, Ilhan Arsan, Courtney Hayes and Christine Nowak Wittman are some of the artisans that sell their custom-made jewelry, cuffs and hats at DeJá Lu.  Louise has also enlisted a local seamstress to offer alteration services for customers.  That’s one-stop shopping at its finest.

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When I asked Louise her inspiration for opening DeJá Lu, she quickly cited her mother, who she lost when she was only 25 years old.  Second generation Italian-American, Louise comes from a long line of professional seamstresses and tailors, all who helped shape her appreciation for beautifully made clothes.  Growing up, Louise’s mother handmade all of her clothes, including her wedding dress.

“Because of her talents, I never looked like I had store-bought clothes,” said Louise.  “I always looked custom-made.”  With DeJá Lu, Louise hopes to bring what she learned from her mother and grandmother about one-of-a-kind fashion to the mainstream, saying that she wants women to “feel beautiful in their own skin, but be able to afford it.”

Indeed, the shop has some really fantastic merchandise which is, much to my delight, more affordable than what you would normally expect from boutique prices.

I had the opportunity to do a photo shoot showcasing some of the boutique’s individual styles – be sure to check out that post, coming soon!

You can find DeJá Lu Boutique taking part in many of the local activities and fashion shows around town, or ladies can book (for free!) a “girls’ night” at the boutique to enjoy a night of “dress-up” complete with a hair stylist and nail tech to make you and your ladies over.  Some bubbly and other refreshments, raffles and giveaways are all part of the festivities. No minimum or maximum number of people required!

Much like Louise herself, DeJá Lu exudes energy and vibrancy.  It’s a unique shop that offers something for everyone, including (drum roll please) coming-soon plus-size and maternity clothes, opening itself up to an even broader clientele looking to sport fashionable assembles and the latest trends.  As Louise herself will tell you, as she told me: “there is only one you and at DeJá Lu, we encourage you to flaunt it!”

1451 Hertel Avenue | Buffalo, NY 14216 | 716.837.3333 / dejaluboutique@yahoo.com / Facebook | Tues-Sat, Noon8:00 p.m.

Written by Katie Krawczyk

Katie Krawczyk is a freelance writer who has contributed to Buffalo Rising since 2009. A Buffalo re-pat, Katie moved back to the city in 2006 after living in Washington, DC, The Netherlands and Indiana. In addition to being a writer, Katie is a business owner, PR specialist, philanthropist, world traveler, and self-proclaimed life enthusiast. She loves her hometown as much as she loves chocolate and peanut butter.

View All Articles by Katie Krawczyk
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