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Christine Anne COUTURE a 'Hidden Gem'

The downtown Libertyville shop offers custom bridal and First Communion gowns. Owner Christine Hirsch also creates custom clothing for customers and performs alterations.

Many women, without a doubt, have walked into a store, tried on clothes, and left without buying much, if anything.

At Christine Anne COUTURE, however, customers can not only get custom-made bridal gowns or First Communion dresses, but they can also purchase custom-made clothing.

"It's because they don't feel they can find what fits them at a regular store," said owner Christine Hirsch. She has customers who come to her to design and create their regular day wear, like shirts, shirts and pants. "They're willing to spend the extra money instead of spending money on clothes that don't fit."

Just about everything at Christine Anne COUTURE is handmade, including the jewelry, evening bags, scarves and veils. The shoes are hand-painted by a high school student. 

"Ninety percent of the shop is handmade by me or someone else," said Hirsch.

She opened the downtown Libertyville shop almost 10 years ago. A lot of her business comes from word-of-mouth, like a bride recommending the shop to her friends who are getting married.

Bridal Business

Hirsch, who created her first wedding dress 25 years ago, makes custom gowns at her shop. Dresses on display in the store are there for brides to get ideas, though some of the gowns are available for purchase.

The number of gowns she makes varies each year; she made 11 one year.

"The recession, I don't think, hit the bridal industry as quickly," said Hirsch. The last two years, however, she's done more alterations than custom gowns. And many of the gowns she has made over the past two years have been more simplified.

"Every year, it's different. I just have to go with the changes," she said.

She loves creating the custom pieces.

"For me, I love doing the one-of-a-kind," said Hirsch. "It's always a challenge."

Something Unique for a First Communion

For First Communion, Hirsch has a line of about 20 dresses, and she's always adding more. She aims to make sure she doesn't sell the same dress to other girls in the same Communion class, "and (customers) seem to love it."

Other Custom Pieces

Aside from bridal gowns and her Communion dress line, Hirsch has made some other custom creations at customers' requests. She used a woman's grandmother's wedding gown to make the bodice of the woman's own bridal gown.

Recently, Hirsch made a christening gown from a client's wedding dress.

"There's always something more to it that personalizes it," said Hirsch. When she's making those special-request pieces, Hirsch is careful to save as much of the original piece-like the wedding dress that became a christening gown-so it can be used in the future.

"I don't just chop it all up," she said.

Ultimately, her goal is to ensure all of her customers leave happy.

"I want people to leave happy with how the fitting went," said Hirsch. "Even if it's an alteration, my name is out there."

"She's the hidden gem," Nancy Kenston, who makes much of the jewelry sold at Christine Anne COUTURE, said of Hirsch.

Tara Quinn February 11, 2013 at 03:39 PM
Christine not only runs a first class business, but she is a first class woman. You would think that for the line of work she is in she would be unapproachable and difficult to reach but she is the opposite. I thank my lucky stars each day that our paths crossed. She is a fabulous individual and made the most memorable and one-of-a-kind veil for my wedding day. Oh and by the way, do you know of any person that would go out their way to make sure that the veil looks perfect with the wedding hair and show up at the salon that day of the wedding? Christine did. Oh and do you know someone that would throw a bride and her daughter in her own car and drive her home because she was running late on her own wedding day almost missed the limo? Christine did. I was lucky enough to get married on a float on St. Patrick's Day but I was luckier that Christine was a part of my day. I would recommend her to anyone and everyone! Please support her and all local business owners!
Tara Quinn February 11, 2013 at 03:40 PM
I guess I should update my Patch account to Tara Quinn! It's only been about a year!
Vicki Tucker February 12, 2013 at 12:36 AM
This is a fantastic shop! And a gem to have here in Libertyville. We need to support our local businesses and really get to know what is out in our community. Christine is a down to earth, sweet, kind and caring person. Great article!
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