The next time you're looking for an Oscar-worthy gown for a special occasion, save the plane fare you'd dole out for a New York shopping trip and spend it instead at Knoxville's Bella Boutique.
Bella offers a collection of evening wear from 30 gown manufacturers, providing numerous options for a jaw-dropping entrance. Since the shop's inception in 1998, owners Tom and Kim Buchanan have made their mission clear: Provide New York's latest fashions to a local clientele.
"We've tried to bring Soho style to Knoxville," says Tom Buchanan. "We get the latest styles at the same time as any upscale New York boutique."
The philosophy has struck a chord with clients, as the boutique regularly draws shoppers from as far as Atlanta. Bella Boutique has dressed local favorite Tina Wesson, as well as celebrities at the ESPN and Country Music Awards.
"If it's on the red carpet, we have it," Buchanan says, who brings in Katie Couric's jewelry from the Today Show and copies of famous items like Halle Berry's and Gwyneth Paltrow's Oscar dresses. But if your goal is to not look like anyone else (even Gwyneth), Bella has a solution that guarantees individuality.
While the shop carries 1,500 gowns in sizes from 0 to 32, finding the perfect one is never overwhelming-staff members are trained to help you choose a dress based on the event, the look you want to achieve and your color and style preferences.
In fact, the Buchanans have more than 30 years of experience between them. Tom has been buying special occasion dresses for 20 years, while Kim worked as a cosmetic specialist for 10 years. Putting to practice her attention to fine details, Kim spends a month out of each year just buying the perfect jewelry. Twenty-four in-store jewelry cases showcase her latest finds, often before other stores-Waldorf Astoria, Saks 5th Ave., and Bloomingdales-carry them.
Personal service, the latest styles and big city selection-shopping at Bella Boutique means you'll never have to leave town to find the perfect outfit for any occasion.