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Welcome to Cult Classics, where our resident Miami expert Patricia Guarch Wise delves into our city's oh-so-fashionable history. Take out your notebooks, ladies and gents, because you're about to be schooled, Miami style.Images Via Raquel Zaldivar
This month for Cult Classics, I visited an exclusive kind of club. It's a mysterious and secret world, with underground magazines and it's own dedicated dark web on the Internet. To gain entry, you need a diamond ring and an interest in tiers of tulle. I was an infiltrator, but a welcomed one.
I visited Chic Parisien, a bridal boutique celebrating forty five years as a go-to spot for those diamond-toting, card-carrying members of the engaged club.
Seriously, bridal boutiques are a secret society. There's no reason to visit unless you are to be married or are going with someone who is. Generally, you're not welcome to just browse. They're by-appointment-only kinds of places with their own language; places where beige is called "latte" and light pink is "blush."
Chic Parisien is an actual Cult Classic. This family run business has moved a few times within Coral Gables, but has always stayed within the city's designated bridal zone. It was founded by a young entrepreneurial couple while still in college, and it was later passed down to their daughter, Catherine, who has been running it for the past twenty years.
Catherine puts the "chic" in Chic Parisien. She has a levelheaded energy for someone who's around very excitable young women and frilly dresses all day, every day. A veritable expert in the Miami bridal aesthetic, Catherine started working at the shop when she was just twelve years old. She then went on to study English literature, but got roped back into the family business. She can tell you things about the bridal industry like "there's a big boom in Israeli designers" and "ten years ago no one was buying strapless."
Today, Chic Parisien has exclusives on big name brands like Marchesa, Naeem Khan, Elie Saab and more. They carry labels with a more modern aesthetic like flat reflective Jenny Packham clutches, as well as traditional Miami best sellers like Maria Elena, a brand that specializes in headpieces set heavily with Swarovski crystals and semi-precious stones. The store doesn't stock much by way of minimalist gowns. They specialize in the kind of gowns we're more likely to see brides in Miami actually wear - you know, the lacey, low-back kind.
Luckily for those of you not in the market for a wedding gown, there's evening wear too. In my infiltration, I discovered something that generations of mother's of the bride and besties who gain entrance to the salon have known – Chic Parisien has a spectacular selection of evening wear in two separate rooms, separated by length.
So, it turns out there's a little loop hole in the system and you, too, can get into this secret society, ring on your finger or not.
· All Cult Classics Posts [Racked Miami]
· Where to Buy Wedding Dresses in Miami [Racked Miami]
· All Weddings Week Posts [Racked Miami]