The luxury women’s retailer Alice + Olivia opened in Georgetown this week as the newest addition to downtown’s bustling shopping scene. Located on M Street, the 2,400-square-foot boutique replaces the closed Qdoba.
Since its 2002 debut at Barneys New York, Alice + Olivia evolved into a worldwide name in the fashion industry with everything from ready-to-wear basics to elegant gowns. Under CEO and Creative Director Stacy Bendet, Alice + Olivia offers a wide range of apparel, shoes and handbags for women.
The Georgetown location is the label’s 15th boutique nationwide and the first in Washington, D.C. Other Alice + Olivia boutiques can be found in New York, California, Greenwich and Chicago. Additionally, two seasonal pop-up shops in East Hampton and Southampton, N.Y. are open during the summer months.
The majority of the brand’s exposure, however, comes from its prominence in department stores across the globe, including Bloomingdale’s, Nordstrom and Saks Fifth Avenue.
Georgetown store manager Ashley Jolliffe said Bendet is selective when choosing where to open boutiques in order to maintain a sense of exclusivity. Joliffe added that Georgetown fits that mold due to strong customer demand in the area. In the final days before opening last Saturday, Jolliffe said numerous interested shoppers tried to come in, expressing their excitement for the arrival of Alice + Olivia.
“They know the brand. They’re so familiar with it, and they’re just happy we’re in their backyard now, and not in department stores only,” Joliffe said.
Jolliffe said the store reflects Bendet’s personal style, which she described as fun and with flair. She said this elevates the existing shopping community. Other nearby high-end women’s brands include Calypso St. Barth and Intermix.
“Alice + Olivia will make [M Street] more of a destination,” Jolliffe said. “People are going to want to come here, where they can get all of Alice + Olivia’s product and work with us, her hand-picked stylists. We’ll just help bring that fabulous customer into D.C. and help expand their wardrobe.”
Georgetown Business Improvement District Communications Director Rachel Cothran echoed Jolliffe, adding that Alice + Olivia fits in with the feel of the Georgetown community.
“People go to the White House, the monuments and the museums, but when they shop, they come to Georgetown,” Cothran said.
Currently, Alice + Olivia is most well-known for its selection of dresses, from casual sundresses to party frocks and black-tie gowns. However, the brand originated with Bendet’s designs for pants, which is still reflected in the boutique’s merchandise.
Jolliffe pointed to the selection of layering sweaters and new suede leggings as some of the line’s most popular ready-to-wear options. She said these items appeal to college-aged shoppers stopping by, in addition to their interest in party dresses for more formal events.
Cothran said she thinks Georgetown students will be attracted to the Alice and Olivia style, whether they are searching for more formal wear or wardrobe basics.
“Today’s student is a savvy and grown-up shopper,” Cothran said. “It’s sophisticated, but it also has a youthful tone.”
Elizabeth Borowiec (COL ’17) is a fan of Alice + Olivia, but said she does not regularly shop the brand due to its high price point.
“A $200 blouse, no matter how gorgeous it is, just isn’t quite in my budget,” Borowiec said.
However, Borowiec added that she does invest in the label’s pants, explaining how it is one of the few brands that has a long enough inseam for tall girls. She stops by the store for special occasions or to scout out sales.
“While it doesn’t exactly suit student needs like the upcoming Forever 21 down the street would, most stores on M Street don’t already,” Borowiec said. “But, I do think it could be a great resource for formal dresses if someone wants to invest in a new one for one of the several Georgetown formal events, like [the Diplomatic] Ball.”
To celebrate its arrival, Alice + Olivia is hosting a grand-opening party this Saturday, Nov. 15 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m., complete with a DJ and other attractions for the public.