Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXIV, No. 46
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Coldwell Banker Princeton Office

Prudential Fox and Roach, Realtors

Gloria Nilson GMAC Real Estate

Henderson Sotheby's International Realty

N.T. Callaway Princeton Office

Stockton Real Estate, LLC

Weichert, Realtors

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Iris Interiors

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Weather Forecast

It’s New to Us by Jean Stratton

FASHION FOCUS: “We have a great staff, a really good core group of girls at Rouge,” says owner Collie Jennings. “It’s a very talented group of women. We do complimentary personal shopping for clients, and they come in because they know we will give them personal one-on-one attention.” Ms. Jennings (right) is shown with sales associate Shula Melker, and manager Christina Cassar. Missing from the photo are Shirah Hamor, Michol Spinazzi, Susie Jackson, Jazia Hammoudi, Ally Peabody, Ellen Gomory, and Arianne Berger.

New Ownership at Popular Rouge Boutique Offers Sophisticated, Contemporary Fashion

Glamour and luxury abound at Rouge, along with chic, casual comfort. The popular contemporary women’s wear designer boutique offers a dynamic and eclectic selection.

Opened eight years ago, it moved to 51 Witherspoon Street “On the Plaza” in 2005. New owner Collie Jennings took charge last July, and is bringing her own perspective to the business, and with the same attention to quality and service that has always characterized Rouge.

“What’s great about Rouge is that we have everyday fashion that is chic but wearable,” she points out. “You can wear something by day and then with heels at night. It’s casual to cocktail. We have such an eclectic mix of designers. We keep everything dynamic and changing.”

Formerly a buyer for Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren in New York, Ms. Jennings has always loved fashion. “And, I’m a big fan of art and travel. They can offer exciting new ways to express yourself. Fashion relates so beautifully to art. Like an artist, you can create your own look. It’s about expressing yourself.”

Quality Designers

Having her own store, where she could allow her imagination and creativity to express themselves in a variety of ways, has been a goal of Ms. Jennings.

“I wanted to have my own place, a specialty store, and to have a hands-on touch, and work with a design team. This opportunity has been wonderful. Our specialty is the quality designers we have, and we like to bring in new names and new designers. We are a direct link to fashion in New York. Nearly all our designers are exclusive to Rouge in the area. And we basically get just one or two of the same items. You won’t see them everywhere else.”

Among the designers represented at Rouge are such contemporary names as Susana Monaco, Autumn Cashmere, White + Warren, Feel the Piece, Marrakech, Cynthia Vincent, Myne, Geren Ford, Trina Turk, Illia, Veda, Calypso, Michael Stars, and Bailey 44, etc.

Rouge has become every Princeton girl’s (of all ages!) “Go to Spot” for denim. The store’s super denim bar features jeans of every style, look, and fit from lines including J Brand, Hudson, Genetic, James, and Malibu.

The store specializes in youthful styles for all ages (customers generally are 16 to 65, sizes extra small to medium), with fashion that is very current and new, but that has staying power.

Dresses that are fun and flattering for upcoming holiday parties, gorgeous cashmere sweaters that are warm for winter days but also fashionably versatile in their ability to segue from afternoon to evening, and sophisticated tops in many styles — all of these and more can be found at Rouge.

Fashion Statement

In addition, shoes and boots, including the enormously popular Hunter rain boots and the chic new Dav dressy black rain boots with an incredibly soft lining, are all big sellers. You will never need to worry about a puddle again!

Leather handbags are on display, and belts, a very important fashion item now, include wide and narrow styles. “You can cinch in the waist and make a fashion statement,” points out Ms. Jennings.

Beautiful wool-blend printed scarves from India are versatile enough to be worn for various occasions, and over-sized wool scarves can be featured in many ways, including as a sarong, adds Ms. Jennings.

Among the accessory designers are Rebecca Minkoff, Marc Jacobs Collection, 49 Square Miles Leather Goods, Kim White Belts, Frye Boots, Dolce Vita, Bloch, and Epice Scarves.

Jewelry is another big item at Rouge and includes the creations of many designers, including Sloane, based in Princeton. “The designers are all hand-picked and private lines,” says Ms. Jennings. “They offer a variety of pieces including cocktail rings, necklaces, and earrings. Julie Seidell is known for her intricate mixed metal chains and cuffs, and New York designer Ted Rossi for exotic and embossed leathers made into clutches, cocktail rings, and cuffs, adorned with Swarovski Crystals.

“Jade Tribe is noted for her handmade beaded bracelets from Thailand, and we also have the creations of Dream Collective based out of L.A. and Soixante Neuf from the West Village in New York.”

Wonderful Gift

Since its earliest days, Rouge has offered quality skin care products. As Ms. Jennings explains, “We dress women from head to toe, and we want them to have healthy skin too. And these skin care products can be a wonderful gift.”

Among the products, including cleansers, moisturizers, body washes, bar soap, and candles, are important lines from Dr. Hauschka, Kai, Santa Maria Novella, Philosophy, Pre De Provence, Votivo candles, and Jack Black for Men. New lines for spring will include Madison Marcus, Gemma, Improvd, and Maggie Ward.

Ms. Jennings is also looking forward to launching a new website this spring, featuring the latest fashion and happenings at Rouge. “Stay tuned for all the exciting things we have coming up! This is an exciting new venture for me. I’ll have a daily blog as part of the website. Also, new arrivals, gift ideas, etc. Customers can see products brought to life on a model.”

In addition, Ms. Jennings is very pleased about the planned series of trunk shows, and a special launch party set for Friday, November 19th. “We are launching a brand new denim company Decades Denim, exclusive to us in Princeton. It’s a great contemporary pant line out of L.A., with a very flattering fit. The designer rep will be there, and we’ll have wine, hors d’oeuvres, and promotions.”

Joyful Business

Although winter is just around the corner, she is looking ahead to spring fashion, “with neutral, natural tones. Lighter colors, very feminine — a sort of cleansing of the color palette, with blush, cream, light blues. We’re getting away from brown and olive. The trend for spring is all about soft dressing.”

Ms. Jennings could not be happier about her new role at Rouge, and the opportunities she can offer customers. “Everyone is a guest at Rouge. We want people to sit down and relax. It is not just about making a sale, but creating a relationship. There is immediate response and happiness when you see a customer smile after seeing how nice she looks in a new outfit. This is a joyful business.

“It’s called ‘Retail Therapy’! Everyone likes to get something new. And we have new things coming in all the time.

“In addition, our fashion is not only ‘fashionable,’ it is affordable. We are competitively priced for the wonderful chic fashion we offer.”

On-going sales are offered, and items at the trunk shows are often discounted. Gift cards are available, and Rouge V.I.P. Club, Denim Club, and student discounts are other opportunities for customers.

A holiday party is planned for December 2, with refreshments and promotions.

Ms. Jennings wants to be as accessible to customers as possible. Hours are Monday-Wednesday, Saturday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.; Thursday, Friday 10 to 8; Sunday 12 to 6. (609) 921-0280.

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