A conversation with Paulette Martsolf, Owner and Designer
What sets Allie-Coosh apart from other stores?
All of our clothes are designed by me exclusively for Allie-Coosh. I design to flatter different body types and different coloring and I can create custom orders. So a woman can come in here and try on pieces from the current season, and we can make it in the shape and fabric that flatters her figure and in the color that flatters her skin tone. We do all of our production right across the street, so we can create a whole wardrobe for you in two weeks. And of course, the store is also filled with ready-to-wear clothing and jewelry that you can purchase right off the rack.
You really work with your customers.
Absolutely. If a lady has some hips, I have a shape that's slightly bell-shaped, so it falls from the hip and creates a really pretty line. If a V-neck works better with your face shape, we can do that. If someone is very petite or tall she can come here and get what she needs. We keep records of everything our clients buy and help them build on it season to season. It’s really about helping each woman build a wardrobe that she loves and feels good in.
What inspires your designs?
Growing up in Newfoundland inspired my collection in many ways. There's something about the ruggedness of the landscape--the organic aspect of it. Drama is very much in the coastline there. I love pieces that are natural and a little unfinished, but very sophisticated and dramatic.
The women who shop your store all seem to love your fabric. What makes it special?
I have a signature fabric that I get custom dyed about twice a year; it’s available in 35 to 40 colors. It’s a man-made microfiber. I’ve always been a natural fiber person, so it took me a long time before I would even try a synthetic. But one of my suppliers convinced me to try it, and now I’m a believer. It's wrinkle-resistant, comfortable, washable, travels great and drapes like a four-ply silk. I am a fabric snob and I used to have a closet filled with silk shells, but I switched over.
What’s one thing every woman over fifty should own?
Basic black pants and a black cami. Or the same pieces in basic brown or grey if black isn’t your thing. Those are the building blocks of everything else. We can make it casual or glamorous and work for daytime or evening.