UncategorizedMarch 23, 2011 at 4:48 am

Review: Smak Parlour

Smak Parlour’s vintage vibe comes with a reasonable price tag.


Adrian Franco

If Philly Barbie stepped out of her dreamhouse, she would shop exclusively at Smak Parlour. The Old City boutique is drenched in pink. The exterior is a pale baby pink, and a welcoming hot pink script sign dangles over the door. Trendy mannequins dressed in sundresses and costume jewelry pout at passersby, and it looks as if Betsey Johnson threw up all over the interior in a loving manner. She cleaned it up, added a few more grommets and winked her way out of the small store.

Known for vintage–inspired designs, Smak Parlour delivers flirty fare on a student’s budget. Sundresses range from $30–$68 and sequined barrettes hover around just $10. The store’s owners, Katie Loftus and Abby Kessler, opened the store six years ago with the intention to sell clothes they would want to wear. So far so good.

Smak’s vintage pin–up girl vibe seems like the perfect place to house zippered flower clips, polka dot rompers, leopard print tunics and greeting cards that say “Fuck the diet. I need carbs.” All the jewelry designs are handmade by Philadelphia artisans, and Smak flaunts crafts done by friends and locals on a tree–like display. At the moment, feather based necklaces, pins, earrings and clips droop like leaves.

Though many of the pieces at Smak are a lot to handle (lace and ruffles are staple additions), searching through the packed racks is like going on an excavation. Sandwiched between loud colors and elephant prints, a smart dress ornamented with a cut–out back shines. This specific dress hangs on Smak’s decorated walls and rings in at the reasonable price of $44. Katie picked out the dress and many other pieces from a small Los Angeles–based brand, Ya.

Katie and Abby, both North Penn High School and Drexel graduates, design the Smak Parlour brand themselves and create unique separates, dresses and accessories. But they’re not loyal to any other brands; they pick and choose to fill the store with whatever is of the moment and oh–so–cute.

Behind the racks, stands and wardrobes of clothes sits a room filled with gift ideas. Vintage sewing machines, books entitled “Porn for Women,” photo frames outlined in typewriter keys and flasks emblazoned with the phrase, “I should come with a warning label,” cover the round tables.

Amidst the funky clothes and detailed jewels, Katie folds a frilly beige bra at the counter. She makes a point to giggle at the stand draped in handmade Barbie shoe earrings. They’ve found a home in what seems to be Philadelphia Barbie’s very own closet.

Smak Parlour
219 Market St.
(215) 625–4551
What to look for: Dresses & funky jewelry
Bottom Line: Quirky girly flare on a college budget.

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